Digital transformation is the use of new technology to radically improve performance or reach of enterprises. It continues to be a pressing topic in Australia and beyond, as organisations take stock of their digital landscape and (attempt to) address the shifting expectations of today’s “digital” customer.
The impact of digital transformation focuses on enhancing the customer experience, optimising operations and innovating new business models, but the main question for Australian businesses is how to scale, without mass? Businesses can use digital to efficiently improve customer reach and service at scale in a number of ways.
Social media for example, enables local businesses to reach and engage with both local and global audiences and rapidly influence brand perception at scale. Additionally, social media engagement, when done well, can extend far beyond the captive social fan base.
The influence of social is bolstered through the creation and sharing of highly engaging, relevant and authentic content. Content creation can be anything from Instagram-ming a photo of the newest product, to penning a brief blog relevant to a target customer, or promoting content created by and for other customers. Enterprises can leverage content and communities to attract, retain and enhance engagement with target customers, to ultimately drive traffic and sales growth.
The new buzzword for 2016, the digital ecosystem, is another strategy successful organisations employ to scale without mass. Specifically, this is about challenging the current assumptions underpinning traditional, linear value chains and operating models to dynamically reimagine the roles of key stakeholders.
Customers can also play a significant role in shaping and running the business in the role of employee, to drive marketing through content creation, promotion and sharing on behalf of the organisation, or similarly to provide personalised and timely customer service. Crowdsourced customer service has its benefits, as well as including response time, rich feedback and self-regulated quality. However, additional indirect benefits may not be entirely clear on the outset. With customers answering queries faster than the actual staff will allow companies to leverage the learning’s about customers’ likes, dislikes, and issues to improve products and services.
Of course, using digital to deliver scale is not without its challenges. While any organisation can easily set up a social media presence and begin communicating with customers, they must be ready to respond quickly and in public to customer complaints. While organisations can engage a growing, global customer base, more sales through more channels do not come without strains on the supply chain. Organisations which are successful in their digital transformations maintain focus on the end-to-end customer experience and place equal emphasis on how they govern and prioritise investments in alignment with customer needs, how they engage their employees, and importantly, how they build the right culture to continually adapt and innovate in an uncertain future.
We are well and truly in an age, where the exponential improvements in computing power, near-zero marginal cost of digital technologies and combinatorial nature of innovation converge will increase the pace of innovation in digital. Successful organisations will maintain relentless focus on building an organisation that can leverage these digital innovations to continually reinvent itself.
Mark Anderson is Expert in Digital Customer Experience, Capgemini