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Why businesses must embrace digital transformation

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First things first – What is digital transformation?

The term digital transformation has gathered momentum, particularly over the past two years.

As a wide discipline, digital transformation encompasses a lot of sub-disciplines you will already be familiar with, including big data, gamification and cloud computing.

We define digital transformation as the process of adapting to the changes and challenges associated with digital technology, across all aspects of business.

The two key drivers of digital transformation

1. Digital disruption

Digital disruption is rapidly moving across a range of industries, most suddenly and notably in media and publishing, but now reaching previously ‘untouchable’ sectors including telecommunications.

“Today’s leading companies are already becoming obsolete. In ten years, 40 per cent of the Fortune 500 was replaced.” Brian Solis, principal of Altimeter Group.

This quote reveals the depth, scale and speed at which digital disruption is happening to even the largest and most established of businesses.

2. The connected customer

The increasing prevalence of sophisticated digital technologies and social media means that customers are consuming content in entirely new ways and demanding more from their relationships with businesses.

The connected customer can share, research and review products and services online long before making contact with you, marking an enormous power shift.

The ‘trust revolution’

The impact of this power shift is evident in a recent research report conducted by Neilsen, trust in online, social and mobile advertising grows, which revealed that trust in paid media is rapidly declining while the trust placed in email communications is rising, with 50 per cent of respondents reporting they trusted emails they had opted in to receive.

Perhaps most surprising was the revelation that 58 per cent of people would trust information on branded websites, the same number as editorial / newspapers.

This proves how crucial it is for businesses to invest in their reputation and their relationships with customers online.

What does it mean to digitally transform?

Digital transformation is about much more than just shoehorning social media or digital systems into your existing business – it’s about embedding digital technologies at all levels and functions of your business and fostering a culture of change across your teams, with the ultimate goal of improving and exceeding the customer experience:

With digital transformation the consumer, rather than the technology, is in the driver’s seat, and this matters. Digital transformation is forcing businesses to rethink what their customers value and how to meet those needs. Forbes

If you’re considering digital transformation, there are a number of components you should be prepared to examine:

  • Customers, marketing, sales and content;
  • Technology, infrastructure, IT, data;
  • Analytics, monitoring, benchmarking;
  • Process, management, efficiencies;
  • Finance, legal, compliance; and
  • People, HR, culture.

Your imperative to transform

Digital transformation is becoming an imperative for businesses of all sizes and industries. The only certainty at this point is that change is accelerating.

Customer behaviour is driving this change and if you want to find, keep and retain online customers as well as stay ahead of the competition, you must consider digital transformation.

Richard Lucas is MD of Discerning Digital.

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