Digital disruption is happening everywhere you look. It is impacting businesses of any size, in any industry, market and geography.
Digital technology is changing the way we socialize, communicate, research, learn and work.
If organizations do not adapt to this fast-changing paradigm, then extinction may be closer than they think!
Digital technologies overwhelmed Kodak, a true titan of the film business. Other big brands like Borders, Circuit City and Blockbuster suffered the same fate. The dominance of Blackberry and Nokia was overshadowed by Apple and Android smartphones.
According to a report entitled “The Future of Business is Digital” by Nigel Fenwick of Forrester Research, to survive this digital extinction, businesses must integrate digital practices into their entire business models, from customer experience to internal operations.
There are only a handful of leaders who have successfully managed to turn the tables on these disruptive forces and breathe new life into their companies.
- Nike transformed from a sneaker company to a digital sports licensing company.
- The Sprint “Ninja” training program encourages employee engagement and enables outreach to thousands of customers they don’t hear from in formal channels, or can’t respond to through social media.
- AT&T is entering the home security market with its Digital Life service, enabling customers to remotely control everything in the home, from alarms to lights to door locks.
- Starbucks overcame a commodity product like coffee by designing a unique digital experience for customers via Mystarbucksidea.com where customers can share, discuss and vote on ideas to make their digital experience with Starbucks richer. They now have a bank of 200,000+ ideas to implement from.
Many businesses get stuck on enhancing efficiency and decreasing costs, as opposed to taking risks to innovate and boost agility.
To avoid digital extinction, successful organizations have adopted the following broad steps:
- Understand the online landscape and build customer-friendly websites
- Utilize search engine optimization (SEO) techniques for quicker hits to web sites
- Train employees and customer-facing stakeholders to use all forms of social media to engage customers
- Adopt mobile enablement in every customer interaction
- Use Big Data analytics for better customer insights and action
- Modernize their legacy systems to address real time on demand data requests
Today’s consumer expects easy access to information anytime, anywhere, on any device. To successfully deliver this digital expectation, enterprises must understand their customers as people, not transactions.
A great example of this deeper understanding is Starwood hotels, who analyzed customer data and launched nine separate brands, segmented by affordability ranging from value brands like “Four Points by Sheraton” and “Westin” to its “Luxury Collection” and “St. Regis” properties.
This demonstrates that although customers may not be able to completely control their journey, businesses need to carefully map the customer journey and be present where they are. In addition, digital transformation provides more real-time engagement platforms to acquire, retain, and grow consumers than traditional models.
Enterprises that adapt, evolve and exploit this new digital reality will thrive, while those that do not, will be lost to the sands of time like Dinosaur !!