Digital Transformation: What on Earth is it?

understand digital for your business and how the digtialization process is a massive benefit

No Really, what is it?

Your customers are becoming Digital, their “digital expectations” are ever evolving and we, as businesses, need to keep up. How do we do this? The Remedy = Digital Transformation. In this article I want to share with you my professional insight on what on earth, we, digital nomads are on about. 

A buzzword, which has been chucked around for a quite a while now, but it comes with quite a vague meaning and can mean a whole host of different things.

My aim for this post, is to leave you with a greater understanding of what Digital Transformation actually is, by providing you with the pro’s, con’s and a few examples to solidify what this beast is. Hopefully, you’ll leave with a few actionable insights too!

First of all, I felt it pertinent to highlight the adoption rate of digital transformation. It’s been suggested that around one third of companies are in the planning to introduce it in the next twelve months. Whilst a third are already going through the process and are implementing a digital transformation plan.

the adoption of digital transformation by business

By Definition

Listen and Learn

I wrote a post not too long ago, where I deconstructed some of the more well known definitions of Digital Transformation.

In the end I came to the conclusion that for digital transformation to occur there must be an Investment and/or Realignment of new technology and/or business models. Whilst identifying the need for a change of internal processes to increase the efficiency and effect of the new technology/business models. In order to reach a stage of being able to effectively contend against competitors, by means of engaging with customers/increasing service quality and speed.

Don’t worry about reading it the first time through, it is quite tough to get you head around, so I’ll break down each part for you.

“Investment and / or Realignment of new technology and/or business models”

A common theme amongst all of the definitions I scoured, was the investment AND/OR realignment of resources, whether this be financial, human or physical.

It’s important to note, that although the activities of investing and realigning can act as separate entities; they can, and often do, function together.

The purpose of the investment and/or realignment, is to drive better technology AND/OR facilitate in a change of business models. Again, these can act as separate entities or function together. But in doing so, you need to make sure it benefits your audience.

“Whilst identifying the need for a change of internal processes to increase the efficiency and effect of the new technology/business models”

This sentence, just reinforces the first. By highlighting the need for a change internal processes, whenever an investment or realignment has been made, it ensure that people aren’t just investing time, effort and money, and resting on their laurels expecting it to work it’s magic.

It’s fairly obvious and can be a relatively small change.

“In order to reach a stage of being able to effectively contend against competitors, by means of engaging with customers/increasing service quality and speed.”

At the end of the day, the whole point of going through the process of Digital Transformation, is to make it easier, better and more enjoyable for your audience to use your business and in-turn use your offering over that of your competitors.

The Benefits of Digital Transformation

Let's dive in

Speaking at the Wall Street Journal conference, John Chambers (Cisco CEO) said that “40% of the companies in this room won't exist in a meaningful way in 10 years unless they change dramatically.” In transforming your business, it will take you in a step towards being in that 60%.

These are just a few of the benefits of implementing a digital transformation strategy.

Enhanced Brand Reputation

It’s long been known that one of a business's’ most valuable assets is its brand. With a brand comes four basic elements: expectations, perceptions, business relationships and unique intellectual property assets.

From a customer's perspective, the most important of these elements to bare in mind is the expectations and perceptions. Now although digital transformation can’t magically fix these, if done correctly, it can certainly enhance your brand’s ability to deliver a product/service that exceeds both of these.

The knock on effect of this, is that it leaves your customers happy with the product/service you have provided and thus more inclined to return for repeat business.

Streamlined Operations

Digital transformation can unleash a vast amount of data, allowing you to optimize your operations and processes to make them as streamlined and efficient as possible.

A superb example of this, is Stanley Black & Decker, who had a 500,0002 ft warehouse which had previously worked on an “end-of-shift report” instance, to report any weaknesses or issues in the production line. This meant the factory was working at around 78% efficiency.

After embedding sensors at each workstation to highlight any issues, and working with smart environmental controls to cut the energy costs, factory uptime was up at around 97%


Customer Experience

Without customers, there is no business.

Therefore, making sure they have the most seamless and hassle free interactions with your business should be paramount.

This is backed up by Accenture, who have highlighted that some 77% of marketers say it is essential/very important to deliver an effective customer experience for their company. With the high-growth (89%) companies surveyed much more inclined to be focused on their customers experience compared to the low-growth companies (60%).

New technology and processes can certainly enhance your ability to deliver a good customer experience; a simple example might come in the form of investing in Social Listening tools. These basically allow you to “listen” on social media, how people are social networks are interacting with your brand, if they are having any troubles or if they are loving it. Having this at your fingertips can allow you to instantly offer any assistance, if they are having troubles, or reinforce their positive experiences.

Common issues with digital transformation

Things to keep an eye on. 

Rather than repeat a similar section and list a couple of the key issues with a bit of commentary on each section. I felt it would be more beneficial to list, extensively some of the more common issues found by companies implementing a digital transformation plan.

The reason behind this, is that although digital transformation can be fantastic and enhance a business beyond belief, it’s important to note that it is no walk in the park. And involves a large amount of planning.

All of these can be read about in more detail, via the “Further Reading” section at the bottom of this post.

  • An unclear plan
  • An unclear purpose
  • Missing skills to facilitate the changes
  • A lack of impetus from the top - Sometimes executives are skeptical of the benefits of emerging technologies, which can result in a bureaucratic investment process that can prevent all of the necessary steps being taken.
  • Culture Issues
  • IT and technology difficulties
  • Cost
  • Regulation and legislation
  • Poor timing
  • A lack of coordination

Learn where to start by requesting a demo with Shore today! 


Further Reading

Go Digital or Go home: How Digitalization is Rewriting the Rules of Competition

Smart Insights: Digital Transformation Solutions

Capgemini - Digital Transformation: A Roadmap For Billion-Dollar Organisations

CA Technologies - The Digital Transformation Journey: Key Technology Consideration

Forrester, Squiz and SugarCRM - Leading Digital Business Transformation

Accenture - CMOs: Time for digital transformation

Arrk Group - The Digital Imperative: Enabling the Digital Enterprise

Board of Innovation - Digital Transformation Examples