Demystifying Digital Transformation
In this dynamic era with massive technology disruption, investing in digital technologies is of paramount importance to remain competitive. The business environment calls for agile practices and strategies regardless of the industry. Continued use of outdated legacy systems promotes a rise in maintenance costs and vulnerability to security threats and barriers to operational efficiency.
What is Digital Transformation?
While there are many definitions of digital transformation, in simple terms it is the strategic change brought about by integrating digital tools and technologies into an organisation’s systems, business processes, and services. It results in adding value and transforming the experience of customers, and employees and adds value to other stakeholders.
Drivers of Digital Transformation
In the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), digital technologies such as cloud computing, IoT, automation, machine learning, social and mobile platforms are key drivers of digital transformation. Chief among the goals of undertaking digital initiatives for any organization is the creation of sustainable competitive advantage in an ever-changing marketplace. A Global Survey of executives by Mckinsey revealed that the COVID pandemic forced many companies to accelerate the digitization of operations, customer, and supply chain engagements by four years, while digital or digitally enabled products accelerated by seven years. Numerous enterprises were forced to find ways to continue operations while working remotely thus moving from the traditional ‘bricks and mortar to ‘bricks and clicks’ model by establishing customer-centric e-commerce websites. Marketing and distribution strategies have been altered to suit the new digital landscape which has seen a rise in online distribution channels, and digital marketing.
Examples of digital transformation in industries
- Robotic Process Automation in the Manufacturing Industry
In manufacturing, Robotic Process Automation uses software robots to monitor inventory levels and send notifications when the inventory is about to go below stipulated thresholds. Coupled with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, shortages can be averted through monitoring demand patterns and accurate forecasting based on real-time data.
- IoT in the Utilities Industry
In utilities, IoT enables Local Authorities to revolutionise water management through Smart City Water Management. IoT sensors collect and analyse real-time data from smart meters and send notifications on issues such as water consumption levels, water pressure, and water quality. With this information, local authorities can perform remote quality control while residents and corporates can reduce wastage.
How does digital transformation affect customers?
The incorporation of digital technologies across customer touch points has created better customer understanding that goes a long way in improving service delivery, product development, customer experience, and satisfaction. Technology has changed the way businesses interact with customers as well as how they serve them. For instance, in the manufacturing and retail industry through web-based applications, customers can view products through online catalogs, compare prices and make payments seamlessly through online payments or mobile wallets.
Across industries, customers can apply for services via online applications and lodge complaints via self-service portals or mobile applications. Customers thus benefit from the availability of information, increased access to products and services due to flexible channels, lower costs, and personalised services. There has never been an appropriate time than now to invest in digital technologies such as cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, customer relationship management, and mobile applications which enable real-time processing of information, customer requests, orders, and complaints.
Technology has disrupted the way of doing business, and while it presents many opportunities, resisting the change can lead to becoming irrelevant in an ever-changing business environment. Digital Transformation is therefore inevitable to have a sustainable competitive advantage. An investment will thus help to achieve goals of profitability and strengthening revenue streams.
Should you wish to take the first step in your digital transformation journey browse our solutions or consult an expert.