Although the transition to a digital economy started before COVID-19, the pandemic has surely accelerated the process. With strict lockdown measures and public safety regulations, companies are compelled to move their operations online to survive the challenges of the pandemic and continue serving their customers.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), a premier global market intelligence firm, direct digital transformation investment is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5% and will reach over USD 7.4 trillion from 2020 to 2023.
In a previous report, IDC forecasted that 40% of all technology spending in 2019 would go towards digital transformation, with companies spending more than USD 2 trillion on digitalising their operations. These findings were backed by the 2018 Tech Pro Research survey, which confirmed that 70% of companies have reported having a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one.
Digital transformation has become a matter of survival in the business, and that’s not just talk.
So what makes digital transition so important to businesses? What do business owners stand to gain from it? Most of all, what are the things you need to consider when taking the digital leap?
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO GO DIGITAL?
There are 3 main reasons why you should consider complementing or totally replacing your brick-and-mortar business with a digital counterpart.
1. Keep up with a changing world
Consumer needs and market trends constantly change. However, the pandemic has caused these changes to reach exponential levels. With global travel restrictions and prolonged lockdowns limiting people’s mobility, business operations needed to be moved online, while consumers have become more dependent on e-commerce to fulfil their needs.
Although the pandemic has served as the catalyst for many businesses to digitalise their operations, experts anticipate digitalisation will continue even after this global challenge has passed. Today, going digital is the way forward if you want your business to survive and thrive.
2. Don’t just survive; set the trend
Making the digital move, however, shouldn’t be all about surviving. Your company’s transition to a digital model can bring many opportunities and competitive advantages, and it is better approached with vision, passion and the will to transcend.
A digital transformation will drastically improve your connection with customers. It will also substantially optimise your operational efficiency and productivity, build your resilience towards adversity, and help you reduce costs and increase revenues, among other benefits.
3. Expand your business
One of the greatest advantages of joining the Fourth Industrial Revolution and harnessing the benefits of digital transformation is that you can expand your reach and activities globally. Online platforms allow you to access untapped international markets, with less time, effort and resources, in contrast with investing in physical business expansion.
4 EXPERT TIPS TO GET YOUR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION RIGHT
Now that you know the benefits of transitioning your business into the digital sphere, we are going to give you 4 fact-based tips that will help you do it right.
1. Cultivate a digital culture
According to “Why We Need To Rethink Organizational Change Management,” an article published by Forbes in 2018, 70% of digital transformations fail, often due to resistance from employees. As such, cultivating a digital culture wherein employees will cooperate with your digital strategy is key to your success.
It is imperative to train your employees to be resilient, flexible, innovative and resourceful, while also providing them with the right tools that will help them adapt. You should also lead by example and stand by your team through every step of the digitalisation process.
2. Build a team of specialists
The Futurim 2018 Digital Transformation Index reports that around 40% of companies have dedicated digital transformation teams in place. Whether you recruit internally or headhunt digital experts, it is paramount that you assign a taskforce composed of experienced and qualified specialists to be in charge of your digital transition.
3. Invest in technology
You must be equipped to face the new dynamics, challenges, and requirements that come with a digital business model. Do it right from the start, and you will only have to go through it once. Build a user-friendly website with a robust backend infrastructure and a secure online payment system. Leverage cutting-edge programmes to streamline operations and automate manual processes.
Invest in state-of-the-art hardware and assemble a strong IT team who will focus on making sure your daily operations run smoothly and issues are resolved immediately.
4. Focus on customer experience
In a digital world, where face-to-face encounters with customers are replaced by online chat boxes, e-mails and mobile app notifications, you want to keep that human connection alive, as it inspires trust and reliability. Train your Customer Support team on the best practices of dealing with customers, while emphasising high responsiveness to create digital value.
According to “Matters in Customer Experience Transformations,” an article published by McKinsey & Company in 2019, focusing on customer experience in the digital transformation process can increase customer satisfaction by 20-30% and contribute to achieving 20-50% more economic gains.
At Virtuzone, we aim to position the UAE at the heart of a borderless global economy, supporting the country’s transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a knowledge-based, technology-enabled digital economy. Virtuzone has been a critical component of the economic success story of the UAE, and with the world moving to a new economic cycle, we are ready to assist our clients in shifting their businesses into the borderless future of commerce.
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