How can a business survive in this ever-changing world of modern technology? Well, having a digital transformation strategy at hand is a good start.
Companies Can’t Catch Up with Progress?
There are times when old must go and new must come.
There are times when old is gold, and there’s really nothing new that can match it.
And, finally, there are times when the fine line between old and new doesn’t exist anymore! Everything is kinda… new, but, then again, everything is old. These are the times, which we live in.
Periods of technological revolutions and different “pre-” and “post-” eras are long gone.
The speed of progress is so high that there’s not enough time even to make a presentation for your new revolutionary product. It will become old long before it hits the shelves so why bother – just put it out there on the market and start doing the next one.
Advanced Technology with Universal Access for Anyone
How did it happen that we’re so deep in this technological mess? One of the possible answers would be the widespread access to the latest technology that became evident in the mid-2000s with the development of the Internet.
Can you remember how many people had access to any computer knowledge (let alone advanced) in the 1990s or, dare I say, the 1980s? “Not many” is the answer.
Yes, we had computers but the information was still spreading the old-school, physical way – via books, magazines, and lectures.
However, when the Internet had become widespread and fast enough to browse it on a daily basis with little to no limitations to the volume of information received and downloaded, things went haywire.
Suddenly, you find yourself within a click’s reach away from all the information you could (and couldn’t) ever dreamed of.
A Brief Example of Universal Access to Any Information
Want to learn how to cook? Type in some relevant search into Google and there you have it – all kinds of manuals, books, and how-to’s on cooking. All ranked from top to bottom based on some shady algorithm you don’t want to know about (or that Google doesn’t want you to know about – depends on how you feel about it).
But, wait, you don’t have time to read through it all – your actual goal is to cook steak for dinner. Right you are, my dear friend – there are step-by-step guides with pictures for that. And if you’re too lazy to read through the pictures, there are tons of videos on cooking steaks.
And if you’re too lazy to watch the video tutorials – well, you’ll just have to sit and wait for a while till they invent a wireless mobile app controlled steak cooking machine. If they haven’t already. 😉
But, then again, all that thinking is too overwhelming – there’s got to be an app that decides which food is better for you (based on your personal data) at which moment and in which amount. You just need to tap a few times and pay whatever “special one-time offer” price they ask.
Oh well, poor consumers – so much for them. But what about companies that make and sell stuff?
How Do Companies Manage to Survive in This Digital Saturnalia?
By accepting the rules of the games and stopping pretending that things are like they have always been. They’re not.
If you and your online business want to jump on this glorious roller-coaster of the modern market, you’ve got to realize one simple thing – there is no such thing as digital transformation. It’s not a final destination but rather a state of mind.
There’s No Such Thing as “Digital Transformation”
Whenever people use this “digital transformation” term, they imply that:
- there was a company that wasn’t really “digitally transformed” (the old-fashioned company)
- this old-fashioned company underwent the process of digital transformation under proper supervision of without such
- as a result, we’ve got a new-fashioned company, which is “digitally transformed” and can rest on laurels until the end of days
This kind of logic deprived companies like Nokia and Kodak of their future. You can’t become a rock star by putting a guitar with an amp in your bedroom. Hey, even playing that guitar on weekends wouldn’t help. You’ve got to do it like you mean it.
The only way for online businesses to survive in the current environment is to accept the philosophy of constant evolution through technology.
This means that at no point in the present of future can you say “that should do it” or “I’m the king right now” or “my company is top-of-the-edge”.
The competition is so stiff and the speed of progress is so high that, once you do so, you will immediately be crushed by the outside factors and left behind. Whether you will be able to catch up or not, is a big question.
So from now on, by the term “digital transformation strategy” we will essentially mean your business constantly evolving and rolling with the technological progress.
Digital Transformation Strategy Tips
A few things you should be aware of every time you’re making any business decisions.
1. Avoid Non-Digital Methods of Communication or Doing Business
Seriously, why would anyone need a paper invoice, or check, or contract for that matter? In some ways, the technology is indeed helping us to protect trees from getting cut down.
But it’s more than that – transfer all your data into digital formats. That includes your customer/client database, suppliers, accounting, checkout process – everything.
Store the data in a well-protected cloud storage where you can easily pull out whatever you need at the moment.
Basically, you don’t have to do anything as there are services (content management systems) that have already implemented most of the features you would need (CRM, e-shop, blogs, etc) so just go out and get one for your website.
Once you’ve done that, keep thinking what else can be modified or put into digital format. Ideas? Well, take a look at what Amazon have done or watch the video.
2. Adopt the Startup Mentality
Five- and ten-year strategic planning for small businesses is just overrated. No matter how big you consider your business to be, try treating it as if it was a startup. Why so?
Because startups are usually much more flexible in terms of adapting new technologies and changing their business processes or, as Eric Ries mentioned in his “The Lean Startup” book, making pivots.
Experiment with just about everything you can and once you get promising results, shift your business focus in that promising direction.
3. Focus All Your Efforts on the Customer
Whether you like it or not, the current market is customer-centric. Therefore, in order to be successful, you need to walk in your customer shoes for a while or rather remain in them at all times.
Anything you ever plan or do, always view it through the eyes of a customer – how would like something similar if you saw it?
4. Lean towards SaaS Platforms
Physical formats have long died off, now it’s paid software time to follow the suit. The future looks a bit less grim for what they call Software as a Service (SaaS), where you don’t actually get to own the program but rather get time-limited, subscription-based access to it.
This model is a benchmark for most games and pieces of software as well as music (streaming services like Pandora and Spotify) and video (Netflix).
5. Streamline Everything In Sight
No efficiency factor can equal 100% so there’s always room for improvement, right? Make a rule for yourself – make at least one major improvement to your business processes a month.
This mentality re-wires your brains and points your mental activity to the right direction.
6. Find and Build Your Brand Identity
In today’s world, products hardly rule. Brands do though. The most difficult thing for a company is to establish its brand and build its brand identity in order to stand out among the competition.
There’s no magic pill here but the most common advice one could give to a fledgling business is to act natural and not pretend something it is not.
People can’t ignore something that authentic and driven by pure passion.
7. Get Rid of Everything That’s Not Working for You
Sometimes it’s not about gaining, it’s about losing. Is there something that drags your business down? Get rid of it immediately – as long as it’s not helping, it’s an obstacle, ballast. There’s no middle ground.
We’ve talked about digital transformation and what it means for an online business these days. I hope it was helpful and entertaining for you at the same time.
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If you have further questions on the subject, please write them in comments – I’ll be glad to answer.
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