The digital revolution is in full swing, but many businesses still struggle to realise its potential value. How can business leaders overcome the digital transformation challenge?
In 2015, PwC released a report on the potential of digital growth in businesses across Australia. It found there is an estimated $49.2 billion of untapped economic potential in the digital economy for the coming decade. More than half of this predicted growth is in rural and regional areas, which will be aided by the rollout of the NBN.
The report names media and telcos, mining, arts and recreation, rental and real estate, and healthcare as the top business sectors that can take advantage of digital awareness.
Within these sectors, there are four major areas where businesses can act to bring about clear gains in digitalisation. They are:
- Improve business strategy and management
- Improve supply chains
- Improve sales and distribution channels
- Provide better customer experiences
These areas present the opportunity for small businesses to capitalise on the digital economy. Yet many business leaders continue to struggle to sift through the many digital options to find the right strategy and model to suit their operations.
Digital transformation is here to stay!
Whether you’re a technology dinosaur or native digital, one thing is clear – digital transformation is not just a passing trend. Digital transformation refers to businesses moving online, digitising their processes, building apps and finding new ways to improve efficiency and engage their customers.
It pays to have an objective view on the type of digital transformation that works for your business. It can be easy to go with the flashy gadgets – and there are plenty out there – but they are potential time and money-wasters that could send your company in the wrong direction.
The key is to fully understand the landscape before diving into it. “What does my business need?” is a stronger starting point than “What can I get?” Ask yourself which weaknesses must be addressed and which strengths you can bolster.
Having decided how you will transform your business, equip yourself with a few basic rules for digital business communications.
The first is to engage your audience. You can’t simply roll out the old ads and marketing material you used before. Neither should you carry on with that clunky old website. In the digital world, outreach must be fluid, focused and refined to target specific niches within your broad customer demographic.
Digital transformation provides a personal touch
Embrace personal touches and experiential approaches. Engage your digital audience with stories, and use your people to tap into the need we all have for human connectivity and emotional attachments. Short videos or text-and-picture combinations are powerful visual tools.
Another must is good timing. You need to reach people when they are most receptive. Bothering parents, for instance, with texts or emails at dinner or bedtime will not only result in ignored messages, but potentially lost customers. Optimise your schedule so your content lands in front of customers exactly when they want to hear from you.
Perhaps most importantly, use the data at your fingertips. Tools like Google Analytics can help businesses hone the right message and give your digital output and presentation a sophisticated focus. Uncovering the words, phrases or even memes that are buzzing can allow you to profit off current trends.
The bottom-line benefits of digital transformation
Running outdated technology is costly, but there’s good news: businesses that embrace digital transformation are more cost effective and competitive. For example, a digital transaction is almost 50 times cheaper than a face-to-face transaction.
According to The World Economic Forum, small businesses that implement digital technology not only perform better, but are more successful in raising revenue, competing against other tech-savvy companies and outperforming peers.
Digital transformation is the right solution for your business
The perfect digital solution for your business may be out there – just waiting for you to take advantage of it. Businesses looking to enhance their digital transformation efforts should start with their software.
Cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks Online can track your billing, invoicing and bookkeeping all online, giving you secure access anytime, trackable cash flow stats and ongoing reports and analytics designed to help businesses capture the digital wave with ease and effectiveness.
Digital transformation is a necessity to survive in such a competitive market. Making the most of it is down to a measured approach and a solid understanding of the environment. You don’t have to be an overnight expert, but doing your homework will pay off.
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