Have you heard of digitalization? Digitalization is another buzzword next to “big data”, “social” or “mobile” that is increasingly appearing in the statements of poeple running the most innovative businesses.
It is not about scanning pictures and text into digital form. The purpose of digitalization is not to get rid of paper in your company. According to Dave Aron from Gartner, “digitalization is the process of moving everything online, what the company previously did offline. It is also a process of maximizing the use of information in order to maximize business success.”
The new trend is observed particularly in the US where most IT and e-commerce related novelties pop up first. That’s the country where transition to Internet-based businesses and services is the most evident. Such circumstances impose on companies that they must adjust their activities and processes to the reality in which every customer and contractor wants to realize their needs online. It turns out that lowering costs and improving business performance still is are the main objectives of IT in companies, but they are not the only measures of IT supportive role. Enablement of a multi-channel access to services provided becomes equally important. The same applies to usability of the service. Customers require that offer is available 24/7, with easy and smooth payments system and a high level of after-sales care. We also observe a growing importance of presonalization of an offer and anticipation of customer needs through the analysis of information gathered from a variety of sources.
Respond to changes
In this context, the company, which from the beginning started their operations based on the internet and IT, has an advantage over traditional businesses. Such companies define current directions in which their sectors will evolve (just note the examples of companies such as Uber and Airbnb). This means that the other players on the market should now start to plan how to react to changes. Staying with business model may not be sufficient to ensure an adequate rate of growth or even to maintain the current market position. Investments in product and organizational innovations supported by adequate use of IT could be crucial to the further development of the company.
Where to start?
IT has a leading role in the digitalization of the business. If your company does not have a department responsible for startegic planning, it’s worth taking on some external experts, who are able to identify the most important areas of change and propose different solutions. Of course, it happens that the company laready has some ideas for the development of their business, taking advantage of a technology or IT system. Then, it’s also worthwhile to validate the vision of such a system, just to be confident with its implementation. Especially when you must take into account the balance between the requirements of many stakeholders, budget and business value for end customers.
IT at different levels of business activity
New technologies can be used to modernize applications for service management and data exchange with partners. You can look at ways to increase the ease of mobile access, use cloud computing and improve system security. You can finally unify the support of different sales channels and customer care. With the help of IT architects and product managers a company can redefine its offer in a way that customers have the same experience of using services regardless of location and device used. The aim of digitalization should be to increase customer satisfaction, because their loyalty depends mainly on the convenience and quality of service, not price or habits as it was true some time ago.
When there are doubts
Digitalization is not a one-time and easy task, so some companies are not fully convinced with it. It requires commitment at the highest levels of corporate hierarchy and agreement on the business strategy directions. This implies some worries, because such decisions come with great responsibility and the necessity of having a long-term vision for innovation management.
That’s why it is worth considering the organization of workshops, on which the management actively defines its requirements, specifies market conditions and confronts them with the expectations of customers (on one side) and the technical possibilities of the implementation of such requirements (on the other side). The workshop is two days long. When completed, the company has a greater awareness of its needs, is aware of the enabling technologies and has an internal agreement about the priorities of the new IT system. Experiences of Espeo Software are that a well prepared investments in innovation are more successful than the thoughtless implementation of ideas that are not agreed upon and approved by people who have an impact on all aspects of your business.
More information about the workshops EvoCamp can be found at: [LINK]
author: Dominik Zyskowski