In what areas of a business can digital transformation help?
A business has multiple layers that interact towards achieving a common goal. Digital transformation can happen at multiple of those layers.
Sales & Marketing
By definition, at the core of every business, we have profit. Companies are trying to acquire more customers and drive up more sales, but to do that, they need to get in front of the customers and their services have to be found easily.
A great way of reaching new customers is by targeting your audience and informing them about the company's products and services. This can be easily done by using advertising networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Google Ads and grabbing the attention of your potential customers. By using paid ads, companies can target a real audience and can advertise their product in the audience's news feeds of popular social apps. Potential buyers which express interest in the services provided by the company will be redirected to the company's web page or mobile app where more details and information regarding the products and services can be digested.
Digital transformation in marketing is an effective tool as the average US citizen spends as much as two hours and three minutes a day on average using social media, creating a great funnel of potential new customers. This gives companies a huge opportunity to engage with new customers and encourage them to find more about the products and services they are offering, through conversion-oriented pages and flows.
Another area in which digital transformation can help the sales process is by using AI and ML learning techniques for improving the customer experience. The experience can be improved by using the latest technological advancements such as AR/VR which could help the users see and interact with the product before actually buying it (for instance user could see how a piece of furniture would look like in their home by using AR).
In addition to this, the experience of the user could also be enhanced by using intelligent recommendation systems, which use AI techniques for recommending products and services which best fit their profile (just like Netflix does when you're on the home page or after you've finished a movie).
For businesses that rely on a supply chain for achieving their goals, digital transformation can help automate the process of ordering and handling supplies.
Based on historical data, ML algorithms can be used for implementing smart systems which would handle the supply, by automatically ordering supplies when you're about to run out, making predictions regarding the number of supplies needed for the next periods, or optimizing the logistics of the supply process.
An example of digital transformation on the supply chain could be a restaurant that only does food deliveries. With the help of ML, the restaurant will have future projections on how many purchases they will have based on a lot of factors like weather, holidays, size of the city they operate in, previous purchasing patterns, etc., which will result in accurate assessments of the supplies needed for the next period. A smart supply system that is integrated with vendors could automatically order ingredients, packaging items so that the restaurant never runs out and they cook only with fresh ingredients.
Digital transformation could also help low-tech businesses, for instance, small grocery shops. By offering online-based ordering, through the use of mobile apps, or websites, they can reach more customers and keep their business going, especially in times like the Covid pandemic where a lot of people have relied on delivery services for a vast majority of their purchases. The businesses that offer delivery services are here to stay and they've proven to be very effective at increasing sales.
By offering services online, a small business can better nurture its customers with custom offers and loyalty programs that would turn their customers into fans.
Digitalization and gamification have been applying to a lot of domains, especially due to the global pandemic. Businesses like on-demand video fitness apps, or e-learning platforms have sprong and gained a lot of popularity in the past few months. Gamification (gamification serves to increase user motivation) is a great tool that can be used to drive up user motivation and engagement and can be applied to a large area of businesses.
Why does the digital transformation fail?
Unfortunately, there are a few cases in which digital transformation does not live to its promises. We've discovered that the main reason for a failing digital transformation is that the business failed to properly integrate technology in their day-to-day tasks.
For instance, a business might start using an advanced invoice system that automatically sends invoices and follows up with the customer based on the signed contract, but they won't integrate their contracts into the platform, so the system becomes an expensive invoice generator tool.
For a digitalization process to be effective, the organization that implements it needs to restructure to gain all the benefits of using technology. Companies that fail to integrate the new digital processes in their workflow and restructure the processes around them, don't rip all the benefits of using technology and might create an extra workload which results in diminished profits or more work being made.
Digitalizing a business is a symbiosis between technology and implementation. Not all business types can be successfully digitalized, and even those can run into issues while implementing the digital transformation. Those issues are frequently due to the employees who are not well trained in using the technology and understanding all the benefits of how technology can make their jobs simpler.