Four trends for successful digital transformation
With so much innovation moving so fast, businesses must see clearly enough to create their own digital roadmaps
Technological innovation is integrated throughout the daily operations of companies across industries. According to a recent Accenture report, “future-ready” organizations – those that are resilient enough to survive a disruption – are twice as efficient and three times as profitable as their peers.
Denver has a reputation for being digitally savvy, in part due to its burgeoning stature as a tech hub. But technology is not the only area that’s growing; the city is home to a wide range of expanding industries, including everything from energy and real estate to craft beer and bioscience.
These companies have doubled down on their digital transformation. In fact, the global pandemic prompted entire industries to rethink their strategies and implement digital innovations to stay connected with customers, employees and facilities.
While the future is bright, it can also be blinding. With so much innovation moving so fast, businesses must see clearly enough to create their own digital roadmaps.
Regardless of a firm’s industry or stage in its journey, knowing where to focus is the first step toward building a resilient future.
We have identified four “megatrends” from a recent Bank of America report that will help companies navigate their digital transformation:
1. Moving to the Cloud
AI, automation and the cloud are more than technological trends, they are key forces to organizations looking to adapt to digital transformation. Cloud computing also makes the Internet of Things (IoT) possible, which is quickly becoming the Internet of Every Thing. A Juniper Research study found that the number of global industrial IoT connections will more than double to 36.8 billion in 2025, primarily because 5G connections and cloud computing will make real-time data transmissions made possible.
Cloud computing allows companies to successfully utilize other technologies, including AI and analytics. Cloud adoption is already making the world more efficient: telepresence robots, controlled by a computer or smartphone, are restocking shelves and sanitizing hospital rooms and helping with meetings through video capabilities and using laser pointers. The cloud also helps control Internet of Behaviors (IoB) to monitor events, data and people through facial recognition, location tracking and big data to change experiences.
The cloud is not just a game-changer in how business gets done, but also a catalyst for new innovation. Mid-sized companies should consider a cloud readiness assessment to determine when and how best to adopt cloud computing by making a list of common tasks that could be improved with greater automation or faster connectivity.
2. Reinventing Marketing
Successful businesses value and nurture their customer relationships, especially in a post-pandemic world where people are reevaluating and redefining their interactions. Forrester notes that more marketers are realizing the mistake of separating customer acquisition from customer retention. Merging them is not only critical but in some cases requires reinventing the entire marketing function.
The focus on customers should be front and center, and data is the key. We can expect to see an increase toward more retention-based marketing—by as much as 30%, according to Forrester—and a move beyond purchase frequency rewards programs to true “loyalty” programs that foster stronger ongoing engagement.
Companies should review their marketing mix and determine if customer acquisition and retention are aligned. They can explore how to offer more meaningful incentives and engage with customers beyond transactional moments.
3. Collaborating to Make it Work
Whether large or small, companies should encourage their teams to drive innovation through collaboration. Business leaders can get caught up in concepts that seem innovative but have no real ties to their priorities. The goal of collaboration should be to solve challenges and create real value.
Companies can create impactful collaboration by aligning internal resources like IT and information security to integrate solutions or evaluate new technology to save time and money. The focus should be on solving for needs.
4. Looking Beyond Your Organization
External partnerships are just as crucial as internal ones, especially during periods of long-term transformation, intense change or crisis.
Digital transformation is a marathon, not a sprint—as such, these initiatives require input from all relevant sources. McKinsey & Company offered this advice: Look beyond the boundaries of your own company across enterprises to include your channel partners, vendors and suppliers. Chances are they are willing to collaborate and share data and learnings to help ensure everyone thrives.
Denver business owners should determine if they have the right mix of external providers. It is important to manage the costs and benefits of moving your data and avoid getting locked into a long-term contract.
Ultimately, whether it’s the cloud or AI, customer data or collaboration, digital transformation must be grounded in serving customers while reducing risk. New technology is exciting, but there will always be new technology—what matters is choosing the right technology to stay competitive and make the digital experience seamless for customers and employees alike.
Raju Patel is the President of Bank of America Denver.