A new way of doing business

In an era led by digital transformation, the emphasis is placed on how a company embraces technology to meet rising customer expectations.

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In an era led by digital transformation, the emphasis is placed on how a company embraces technology to meet rising customer expectations. Remaining competitive and driving revenue growth means understanding the necessary tools a business needs to successfully transform digitally.

According to Mckinsey, the term ‘digital’ refers to the process of using technology to engage with customers in a new way, primarily focusing on interconnectivity; connecting people, devices, objects, data and technology, while transformation in the business context is the process of a profound and radical change that takes the business in a new direction. Bringing a completely different level of effectiveness, it represents an entirely new way of doing business.

Digital transformation is a complex process, which requires serious investment and comes with risks and great rewards. If implemented successfully, the rewards overshadow the risk because the right digital strategy integrates with your business’ overall strategy, increasing revenue by a milestone.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution means we are confronted with digital disruption; digital disruption is the change or transformation that is caused by emerging technologies and business models that essentially affect the business value proposition of existing goods and services. Major importance is placed on how you can do something better in order to create a better customer experience, better customer value, and make the customer pay for it. This is why it is crucial to understand what it takes to transform your business and what it means for companies and for consumers.

The way things were 10 years ago is very different from the way things are today. From personal devices to complex industrial systems, you don’t need a printed map book to navigate your way around. Before buying anything, you first look at reviews to see if it’s worth your money.

There are applications that assist with all kinds of things, meaning you do not have to physically be at a place to compare with other places.

Competitors are no longer traditional large organisations; they are agile entrepreneurs and organisations that embrace new and exponential technologies to compete and disrupt markets through digitalisation. This kind of change means that, in order to succeed as a company, you have to structure your business in such a way that digital drives your business model.

A clear vision with a coherent plan

The first step towards successfully digitally transforming your business is formulating a clear vision with an elaborate and coherent strategy for digital transformation. Creating an effective transformation strategy desperately requires a clear structure. The strategy should be based on an in-depth analysis, which calculates the budget of the desired enhancement together with possible risks.

Combine the problems you hope to solve with innovation to attain your desired end goal. Concentrate on the experience you want to create for your customers and employees—a vision that addresses the future but at the same time, deals with daily realities. A strategy means conducting thorough research, which will help you identify gaps in the current structure and, in turn, create ways to optimise those gaps. This will work to your competitive advantage.

Once a coherent strategy is put in place, the organisation or company needs to embrace digital literacy. This can be done by aligning the development strategy with the capabilities or skills of the organisation’s human capital. This will shape the company’s culture, activities and structure to transform the traditional concepts of products, concepts, services and knowledge to the more innovative and modern ones. At the moment, South Africa faces a scarcity of digital talent. We need to start instilling digital skill sets and finding new talent that possesses these skills.

African Digitalisation Maturity Report 2017

According to the African Digitalization Maturity Report 2017, the manufacturing industry is the most mature with regard to the transformation and adaptation of digital technologies in Africa, however, it remains a marginal player, struggling to make a bigger impact on country GDPs. This is because African governments have not managed to create a ‘here and now’ emphasis on job creation and digitalisation. Unlocking new digital operations and skills will help reduce the high rate of unemployment in South Africa. Companies can recruit people they can train while upskilling the ones already working for them using the model mentioned above. At the same time, a collaboration between the government, business, labour and academia will help change mindsets and formulate policies that create an environment for digital knowledge on the general population.

At the moment, one of the sectors that has adopted advanced analytics is the automotive sector, but the massive potential is waiting to be unlocked in the other sectors, which brings us to the next tool that can help you successfully transform digitally: analyse the market—digital disruption means technology development is rapid. If you do not carry out a profound analysis of the market dynamics, you risk creating an outdated strategy. You can easily find inspiration and practical solutions from other industries and use them to your advantage.

Designing the experience you want to create for your customers

Pay special attention to the experience you want to deliver. Come up with ways you can add value for your clients. The same energy should be extended to your employees. Come up with ways that can help them complete their tasks quicker and easier using new software. At the end of the day, the main focus is not on technology but rather the experience that technology can provide.

Assess your current standing. It is just as important to know exactly where you are now if you are to fill future gaps. This is the stage where you have to do in-house criticism, examining your current digital infrastructure.

Pay close attention to how effective your software, apps and any other tools you use are. This will enable you to identify the areas you will need to develop new functionality for, the technology that needs to be updated, the processes that need to be optimised and automated, and the digital tools that need to be changed. As you invest in your digital strategy, you will have an idea of the areas that need the most attention.

Adjusting your infrastructure

This is where the experts come in. Preparing your infrastructure means surrounding yourself with a dedicated group of digitally competent experts. If this cannot be achieved in-house, outsource a reliable partner who can implement the digital strategy for your company. This also ties in with upskilling your team for the future changes, using platforms such as qualification upgrades and workshops specifically designed to train.

Formulating a strategic approach towards digital transformation will create a roadmap that guides the transition process.

It will help identify the current challenges within your business and assist you in tailoring your business accordingly to fit customer demands.

Today, the business world is more competitive than ever. Implementing digital transformation offers development and secures competitiveness.

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