Over the last 12 months, I have attended many vendor and analyst events that have a theme of “Digital Transformation”. I am of the opinion that this term is over-used and not understood.
For many, Digital Transformation means taking manual, people-centric processes and turning them into system-based or online processes. Unfortunately, this is merely a single (and fundamental) element. Digital Transformation means using technology, not only to make your business more efficient and profitable, but also making your business a better business for your customers to deal with and building a competitive advantage that is difficult to replicate.
This is an easy thing to say, but what is a real world example of this?
I was involved in a project to deploy a B2B ecommerce solution for a customer. The main business objective of the project was to reduce the cost of servicing a sub-set of customers that were calling in to get quotes and place orders. The solution of an eCommerce portal was obvious. The customers could log in, get the information they wanted on products and place orders. They also got the added benefit of being able to track those orders and download the invoices and delivery notes as and when needed.
This obviously met the business objective, and call centre volumes dropped and sales staff were able to spend time focusing on higher-value quotes and orders. However, that was merely the start. The real Digital Transformation happened in the organisation when we deployed an Analytics solution over this portal to analyse customer behaviour. The insight gained was put into a “machine learning” algorithm that would integrate with the portal and adjust the pricing based on the individual customer’s buying pattern. This led to an increase in customer acquisition and an increase in existing customer profitability.
You see, taking the manual, people-intensive process and merely replacing it obviously delivers business value, or no one would do it. But the real magic only started to happen when that information got used to do something that competitors were not able to do yet. That is a Digital Transformation.
It certainly pays to think about how you can change the way you are doing business by using the wealth of accessible tools that the Cloud now provides, in order to deliver solutions to your customers that maybe you and your customers were not aware of yet.
Jonathan Kropf is the CEO of Tarsus On Demand