Being digital is more than developing a software
And has never been more experimental than it is today ...
Being digital has never been more experimental than it is today with technology influencing our decisions and even shaping our behaviour. This is having a huge impact on just about every aspect of society, from businesses to governments, education, the list is endless. The world as we knew it and the world we need to get to know have never been so far apart. This is particularly relevant in the production industry, as companies competitively race to digitalise their products and factories to achieve ‘Industry 4.0 status’.
FOCUS ON USERS, NOT TECHNOLOGY
Companies who are unable to keep pace will fall victim to the process of selection because people are mobile, connected and informed and equally have expectations that should meet these criteria. Put simply they want everything, everywhere, and right now. Companies that are not up to date with the technologies and cultural expectations of it’s customer base will simply lose connection with them to competition who can. But what can we do to prevent this and how can we master our digital minds?
Karl-Heinz Land, Founder of the strategy and transformation consulting Neuland and Co-author of the book ‘Digital Darwinism – The silent attack on your brand and business model’ states that “when technology and society change faster than businesses are to adapt, then their result is extinction, just as it is in our natural world. Adapt or die.” You think that sounds cruel? Let’s look at the facts. More than 3.5 billion of people have access to the world wide web. That’s the half of the total population, can you imagine! Even more stunning is that over a third of the world population are currently linked to social networks and the number is increasing day by day.
The digital change is huge as seen on the picture of the papal audience in 2007 and 2014.
For businesses it will be crucial to align with this social and technological evolution, and offer services that will enable them to communicate efficiently and directly with their customers. Because mastering the digital transition is not mainly about technology. Even more important is to focus on the users and their expectations. Understanding customer experiences and improving relationships is becoming essential. Central to this topic, is the dialogue and relationship between businesses and their customers. Business will need to cater to the evolved customer base. Business will have to prepare for improved dialogue with their customers, as informed connected customers expect speedy communications. The expectations here are not merely improved communication lines but the term ‘zero distance’ has been proposed to highlight just how interconnected customers need to be. That companies are immediate, visible and present when customers need them to be.
MASTER DIGITAL TRANSITION
Social media, big data, the cloud, mobility and security are the key technologies that are projecting the digital evolution and are therefore the key technologies that business are going to have to tame and take advantage of. A closer look at these technologies shows the benefits for getting closer to their customer base. Social media provides excellent channels for customer dialogue, and with so many platforms for businesses to take advantage of they will not miss their specific customer base. Big data highlights trends of their customers. Mounds of data and information about exactly who their customers are and what their likes dislikes and motivations are is an exciting prospect for generating insights from. Mobility allows customers to be connected to 24/7 and Security can be a key element in providing trust. The nature of production industries proposes far greater complexity regarding the systems that our partners work with. A lot of our work in the early stages of digitalization has had more to do with unifying and simplifying systems, their workflows and interfaces. Theoretically this all sounds perfect (and a little overwhelming), but are customers willing to hand over their data to businesses? Well, customers will if they trust the company in question. Privacy and service go hand in hand, companies need to ask for permission from customers and even use the data transparently and offer it back in the form of even better services.
WHAT’S YOUR PERSPECTIVE?
For business to move forward they first need to accept that how we do business is only relevant for yesterday and how we do business tomorrow will require a whole new perspective because the future that is expected to disrupt the very way we live is here and it is now. Most businesses acknowledge the need that they need to evolve, however in some cases they are not sure how to do this, or they have the capabilities to do it but are not exactly sure what they need to do and when. That is why we work closely with our industry partners. Building on our partner’s expert knowledge and experience, we help them map out steps to take that can empower them to adapt and not die. We work holistically from their products right through to their business models and organizational structure. One of the first activities we do with our partners is to create a clear digital vision, an end to end digital approach including key performance indicators. We plan strategically what needs to be done, tested and how we can learn from the iterations of attempts, until it’s as close to perfect as perfect can be. It is reality that technology has changed everything about how people communicate, connect and decide, and therefore the way business used to do things is already obsolete and new processes, business models and way of doing are essential, right now.