Why digital transformation needs to be on your radar

By Robert Half on 14 November 2016

If you’re not yet digitally transforming, you’re not alone.

According to Deloitte’s 2016 digital business global executive study, although 87 per cent of respondents agreed that digital is going to disrupt their industry, only 44 per cent said their organisations were adequately prepared.

Digital transformation represents the new wave of opportunities that can be leveraged to implement change through technology. By 2020, 75 per cent of businesses will be digital or will have implemented some form of digital transformation, according to Gartner, a leader in technology research.

With many companies now taking advantage of work tasks being run by algorithms and the use of smart contextual apps, there's a huge change ahead. As a matter of survival, organisations will need to adapt to digital transformation to stay a step ahead.

IDC predicts that by 2018, one-third of the top 20 global market share leaders in most industries will be "significantly disrupted by new competitors and 'reinvented’ incumbents". Those "reinvented incumbents" are the companies that are going through a digital transformation right now.

So what are some of the key disruptions and opportunities coming, and how can you take advantage of them? Here are three key disruptions:

Machines will do a lot of your work

In the next years, digital transformation will accelerate with automation being one of the key disruptions. Gartner’s top prediction for 2016 and beyond is that by 2018, 20 per cent of business content will be authored by machines. Workplace automation is inescapable. One of the opportunities it has provided is freeing people from mundane tasks and allowing them to concentrate on more interesting, higher value work. It also adds speed and accuracy to the selected tasks.

Key advantage: invest in solutions such as business process automation software. Liberate yourself from manual processes, such as data entry and invoicing. If there are any repeat and routine tasks in your daily work or your staff’s, find a way to automate them.

Big data will drive your business

IDC predicts that by 2017, 80 per cent of global CIOs will have a plan in place around using data to get ahead of their competition. One key way will be using data to deliver highly personalised and individualised experiences for customers.

As Steve Hallam, a Deloitte Digital partner leading the customer practice team in Victoria, explains: 

"The pervasive influence of digital is seeing businesses move from an environment in which they compete on economies of scale, where competition is based around distribution and production, to economies of scope; competition increasingly focusing on mass customisation, the unbundling of products and services, providing great customer experiences and increasing market efficiency."

"Customers have more power than ever before and are demanding (and getting) great experiences. Customers seek the ability to customise their experience to fit when they want it, where they want it and how they want it."

Key advantage: Big data isn't just for big corporations. All the data you generate can be used to gain market insight and get to know your customers. Invest in customer relationship management (CRM) systems that leverage data and hire people with data and analytical skills who are not only able to analyse the data, but also provide insights that will help further improve the business and work productivity.

People will be managed digitally

With distributed workforces enjoying flexible and mobile work arrangements, HR needs to embrace digital transformation. People analytics is one of Deloitte’s top trends, being used for "analysing flight risk, selecting high-performing job applicants, identifying characteristics of high-performing sales and service teams, predicting compliance risks, analysing engagement and culture, and identifying high-value career paths and leadership traits".

Key advantage: Build apps and systems that make it easy to keep track of employees, support them, and allow them to interact with you. Encourage digital collaboration and networking to increase teamwork.

Meeting the challenge of digital transformation

Exploring these new technologies is challenging, as there are so many new tools coming onto the market. According to Steve Hallam, the recommended approach to digital transformation is 25 per cent strategy and 75 per cent experimentation.

"An important part of this, and something Deloitte Digital does with clients, is to look at how businesses can create feedback loops around their products and services to continually experiment, test and learn about the experiences they are creating and their impact on the customer," he says.

"This enables a business to be more agile and adapt to the continually evolving environment that competing on economies of scope creates, making it possible for them to make trusted, one-to-one, personalised experiences for their customers."

With this digital change coming, it’s worth planning early, looking into measures such as investing in the right technology and implementing plans to automate procedures to improve efficiency. Those who stay one step ahead of the digital transformation game are more likely to evolve their business and sustain an edge over their competitors.

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