Top 4 Initiatives to Digitally Transform Your Business

May 9, 2016

There are many ways to approach digital transformation, but in order to hone in on an actionable approach to this move to digital, I’ll provide an overview of four key areas you should focus on to transform your business.

Everyone knows you need to “go digital” to stay competitive, but even after you’ve defined what digital business is, it can still be difficult to know where to start. Whether it’s improving business agility, the integration of legacy systems with digital touch points, a renewed focus on customer experience or an emphasis on mobility, there are many different ways to approach digital transformation.

According to a recent Altimeter Group survey on the topic, a staggering 80 percent of strategists felt it was very important to improve processes that would expedite changes to digital properties. The majority of those surveyed also felt that way about updating mobile efforts, improving social media, developing customer-facing systems and more.

Regardless of where you start, the most important thing is to begin. Here are the top four areas you should focus on to start with your digital business plan.

  1. Updating Your Applications

You most likely have an existing suite of applications that power your business, and while they might seem to meet your current needs, updating them is essential to fully capturing today’s market (not to mention tomorrow’s). Your website and marketing/ecommerce programs need to be adapted for a mobile world, along with the increased demands from your users.

More than just making an update, however, you need to improve the underlying processes that govern change, ensuring that needed updates to digital properties can happen quickly and efficiently. By implementing this at the process level, you will be better able to keep up with changes ahead.

  1. Adopting a Mobile-First Strategy

Redesigning individual components is important, but it’s not enough to simply make your website responsive or create a mobile app. In 2015, people spent more time on the internet through mobile devices than desktops, and if you’re not considering how mobile affects your business on a fundamental level, you’re missing out on the big picture.

Yes, build the mobile app, but also look at social efforts and research the digital journey of your customers to see how you can deliver a frictionless experience. There should be a sense of urgency around the need to set your strategy at a high level for maximum impact.

  1. Enhancing the Customer Experience

Today’s customers expect a lot from their digital experiences. They want to be able to do their research ahead of time, without speaking to a sales representative. They want to use the screen of their choice to do this research as well as seamlessly move to purchase when they’re ready. Take control of this expectation by delivering the omni-channel digital content your customers are seeking as part of a well-crafted strategic plan.

Customer support plays a critical role in the customer experience as well. Robust support over social media and support agents that are accessible, capable and informed are increasingly expected and can greatly help facilitate the buying process.

  1. Creating End-to-End Connectivity and Integration

There are many moving parts in any organization’s digital portfolio, from social media to ecommerce to customer support and much more. These pieces need to be connected so that they can talk to each other quickly and easily. This helps you avoid putting obstacles between the customer and their purchase, like repeatedly filling out forms with the same information.

To understand how to do this across your business, it’s important to evaluate all the digital touch points your customers interact with. After learning where and how they engage with your digital properties, it becomes possible to design a holistic system of integration that ensures a smooth experience for your customers (as well as your employees).

Getting Starting on the Path to Digital

Perhaps one of these aspects jumped out as a pain point in your business, or maybe your organization is ready for a broad solution that encompasses all four. Each of the preceding topics represents an entry point into the transformation of your digital experiences, and again the key is that the process begins.

“Going digital” may seem daunting, but there is a tremendous opportunity if your organization can be among the first to develop a truly digital business. Whether you’re ready to improve a single area of your organization or need a more holistic solution spanning your whole enterprise, it’s crucial that you get started on the path to digital to meet your customers’ growing expectations and to stay competitive in the market.


A version of this post was originally published on the Progress blog here.

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