Digital Transformation for Business—Where to Start?
Different companies and experts understand digital transformation in their unique way. Whatever definition you are familiar with, it boils down to the fact that digital transformation is about using the right digital processes and tools to make your business better.
Back in the day, we started by digitizing writing, then music, video. Later, we moved onto digitizing products. Nowadays, it’s not so simple—it’s not only about making the next mobile app, or a subscription model. It’s also about digitizing the core of your operations in order to stay in the market and keep both your clients and employees happy.
A truly digital company leads to better communication (and therefore engagement) of employees, greater business flexibility, resilience to rapid market changes, and—everyone’s favorite—increased revenue.
If you’re late to the game, here are some tips and inspirations to get you started with digital transformation of your business model.
Digital transformation of companies has been the reply to the inevitable, slow change. People were always going to work differently than a decade before, consumers were going to buy and consume products in other ways. However, with the recent COVID-19 outbreak the change started happening rapidly, giving businesses uncertainty of what’s going to happen next. Those who had their digital strategy in place before the pandemic are probably sleeping better now. But, it’s never too late—and as the history shows, whether because of the pandemic or not, digital transformation strategy is a key factor in survival for most businesses.
Here are some tips on how to approach your digital transformation strategy:
- Check your portfolio—take a step back and try to assess what’s working for your business and what isn’t.
- Assess your business value—if your business is currently not reaching its full potential, perhaps there are other ways of delivering the same value to your customers. Is there a niche in the market you’re not seeing?
- Set the right goals for your digital transformation and ask yourself why do you want to do it. To improve market share, to remain competitive, to provide better service for your customers, or, perhaps, to improve internal processes?
- Know your competition—where are they succeeding and failing?
- Invest in discovery-driven innovation—don’t bet everything on one card at once. Iterate, learn, release an MVP, see what works and what doesn’t. It’s especially important now, in the COVID-19 times: don’t respond to change drastically, start slowly and learn from the data you get.
- Focus on digital transformation of your infrastructure—not only on going digital with your product. For both cases you should consider investing in cloud-based solutions: they will ensure flexible working practices, scalability, security, automation and, eventually, growth.
- Get the right tools—think of what will bring value to the work environment and business: better servers, network, virtual collaboration and communication software (especially crucial these days), office equipment etc.
- Get tech-savvy leaders on board—to help you guide the digital transformation for your business.
- Pick a trusted tech partner—a development studio that has a lot of experience in your technology or field, and has an agile approach to running projects.
For “lessons learned”, success stories and inspiration check out these companies who approached digital transformation from the right angle:
Source: Peloton press kit
- Microsoft—A decade ago, the tech giant faced difficult times, with the popularity of PCs going down to make space for smartphones. This is when Microsoft decided to introduce a cloud service—Azure, changing from an operating systems producer to a cloud-based solutions provider.
- New York Times—Seeing how less and less people buy and consume printed media, New York Times moved to a subscription model. In the last quarter of 2019 they reported $800 million in annual digital revenue (an objective they planned to meet by the end of 2020). More than 50% of the revenue was generated by their subscribers and not advertisers.
- Ikea—In 2016, 2017 the industry was fascinated by mixed reality products. Seeing the success of a gaming industry (e.g. with Pokemon Go), a lot of companies threw themselves into releasing VR and AR solutions, many of which haven’t survived the initial boom. However, Ikea approached the trend in a more settled and thought-out way, by releasing an AR mobile app that their customers would actually need and use.
- Papa Johns’ Pizza—A few years ago, Papa John’s extended their online ordering services to Facebook Instant Ordering, and launched an app on Apple TV that allows you to order a pizza, select from past orders, and pay, all while watching Netflix.
- Peloton—In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and closed gyms, Peloton has met the potential customers half-way with their no-equipment and “free for 90 days” app, providing strength, toning, and yoga exercises.
One thing is certain: the pandemic has speeded up the digital transformation. Businesses that are not yet digital, probably won’t stay around for long. But, it’s not too late! As mentioned above—start slowly and work on the business core. Moving the infrastructure to the cloud is a huge step towards securing your business’s future. If you’re ready to make your company digital—get in touch! We have Apache committers, GCP Architects and DevOps on board who will walk you through it.
Senior Communication Specialist