Digital is the word

If current technology trends were the only deciding factors for the ‘Word of the Year’ slot, Digital would claim that spot every single year.

We’re all going ‘Digital’ and how! For instance, every company wants to ‘Go Digital.’ So what exactly are we dealing with? Is it eCommerce, Big Data, Analytics, Experience or technology itself? In most cases, digital is considered as an internal facilitator for everyday business practices.

Having said so, I think digital is the driver that increases revenues or improves operational efficiencies to decreases costs for enterprises. If digital doesn’t contribute to these two areas, businesses’ investments in it would end up in a lack of alignment and common vision, often resulting in piecemeal initiatives. This would inevitably lead to missed opportunities, sluggish performance, and / or false starts.

The idea is for digital to be at the heart of businesses’ strategies. This not only helps enterprises to engage their own customers, but also to garner the much-needed competitive edge. For instance, improved customer acquisition and engagement, better product delivery and service improvement, and real-time decision making affect strategic decisions in their own specific ways. And all of these come through when there’s a procedure – a way to do things – in place. In today’s setup, this procedure is Digital.

I often ponder on what it takes for a business to craft the right digital transformation strategy. And almost always, the one thing that comes up as a plausible answer is tweaking the current way the business is doing things, understanding its customers’ journeys, understanding its digital interaction points, and most importantly, understanding its pain points. My analysis has led me to believe that in addition to all of what I’ve mentioned, a business must be able to reimagine the way it is doing ‘business’ and how it can exponentially better its customer service.

However, contrary to popular belief, digital isn’t about just delivering a one-off customer journey. Instead, it’s about implementing an agile and dynamic environment where processes and capabilities are constantly evolving based on inputs from customers, thus fostering ongoing product and / or service loyalty. I’d also go on to say that customer centricity and creating relevant, positive experiences for customers should be a priority in all aspects of an organization’s value chain; not just marketing. So much so that smartly aligning data and technology processes to ensure a highly targeted experience can improve customer retention, drive sales and sustain return on investment, for both new and existing customers.

To explain this a little better, let me cite employee onboarding for benefits as an example. The current onboarding process is manually driven, and involves filling a lot of physical forms by employees. This data is fed into the CRM, which requires ‘x’ number of data operators. Because this involves employee information, regulations and compliances must be looked at.

Benefit providers essentially look at quicker onboarding / implementation time which in turn, means cost efficiencies. Irrespective of the technology, what this translates in digital terms is automating the onboarding process using cognitive and robotic automation through secured channels.

The example that I just gave leads to the following inference: ‘Digital Transformation’ should translate to ‘Business Transformation’ which aligns People, Process and Technology initiatives more closely with business strategy and vision. The final goal is always to support existing and innovate new business strategies.

Let me put it this way – Organizations need Digital. Now, more than ever before. They need it to optimally leverage various best practices and procedures to enhance their business offerings, stay ahead of the competition and most importantly, stay relevant.

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