An app is not enough: How businesses can stay ahead in the digital age

As a result, businesses are experiencing a fundamental shift in customer expectations. It’s never been more important for organisations across all industries to innovate – not only to be successful but to remain competitive.

According to the Apigee 2015 UK Digital Business Snapshot report, executives in travel and tourism, banking and financial services, retail, and telecommunications appear cognizant of both digital opportunities and threats. A strong majority (76 per cent) aim to create a more connected digital experience in 2015, with a similar proportion (75 per cent) prioritising delivery of more products or services via mobile devices.

Nearly a third (31 per cent) expect “very significant” digital disruption in 2015, and at more than eight out of ten respondents’ firms (86 per cent), there is a company-wide digital transformation initiative. However, while this report documents that UK business leaders believe that digital matters to their industry, it also illuminates a risk of moving too slowly and focusing just on building apps.

Competitiveness requires more than “an app for that”

Mobile penetration continues to grow exponentially, with Informa recording 5.2 billion mobile phone users globally in 2014 – that’s 73 per cent population penetration. 

And according to the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) and Capgemini, 40 per cent of UK online retail sales from November 2014 through January 2015 were completed through tablets and smartphones. As a result, the majority of us now expect key functions from banks, department stores, supermarkets, and restaurants to be available via apps.

In this market environment and in our mobile-centric world, we believe that mastering apps is a requirement for meeting the demands of customers, partners, and employees. A majority of executives surveyed in the report appear to agree, with 71 per cent reporting that their company deployed mobile apps in 2014. Having a rich, connected digital experience is no longer an added extra that businesses can offer, it has become a necessity.

But apps on their own are not enough to harness the full potential of digital. While mobile apps may be a favoured interaction channel, other digital capabilities play an essential role in creating a compelling digital experience. Here we see a notable divide in the extent to which companies are making the most of digital opportunities.

For some, being digital means capturing, analysing, and distributing data to create a truly personalised experience. Matthew Newton, enterprise architect at GLH Hotels, emphasises that “the need to provide customers with a personalised experience over the commodity purchase” was the main driver behind the company’s digital transformation.

He said: “It’s all experience-led and getting into people’s minds about what they want to do and how they want to feel about something, then identifying the product to make that happen. For us, being a digital business means offering more personalisation in our offers for our customers and the flexibility to access the right data to make this happen.”

Read on to see what John Lewis had to say and why there is little doubt about the digital movement.

Image: Shutterstock

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