Digital transformation and automation are currently extremely hot terms in the business world. However, unlike other buzzwords or industry fads, transformation and automation are here to stay and in reality, they will have a massive impact on the success of your business moving forward.
As the world moves into, what some are calling ‘the fourth industrial revolution’, businesses can no longer afford to live in the digital stone age. At the end of the day, businesses should be prepared to undergo some form of transformation to digitalise and automate aspects of their operations.
When I talk to client’s about transforming and automating, I often get asked why do they need to do it and what benefits it will bring their business. Most small businesses don’t realise just how simple it really is and how much it can improve their productivity, efficiency and ultimately their bottom-line.
In the world of the digital native, consumers are miles ahead of most Kiwi businesses. The modern day consumer has already undergone their digital transformation, and most businesses are playing catch-up.
Think about it, consumers are constantly looking for easier ways to consume and interact with their favourite brands. Whether it be online shopping, interacting and engaging on social media or downloading an app to be more informed or get from point A to B faster.
One of the best examples of digital transformation has occurred throughout the aviation industry, and one of the countries most loved brands is at the forefront. Think about the last time you flew with Air New Zealand, how many staff did you interact with? Chances are very few and in a limited capacity.
Digital technology has shifted the customer experience and can create an almost entirely automated process. There is no longer the need to be at an airport two hours before a domestic flight. We are now able to do everything on our smartphones, check-in, change details, upgrade, board and even order a coffee on the way there.
Ultimately, digital transformation boils down to integrating and adopting various digital technologies and programs to improve your current operations so you can provide more value to your customers.
The idea of updating your business’ tried and true practices with new digital technologies may have many business owners running for the door. But in reality, the best place to start is with the basic, time-consuming tasks that may be holding your staff back.
We tell all customers walking down this journey to look at for key areas; customer engagement, business operations, data collection and technology. When combined and leveraged properly, businesses are able to completely revolutionise the way they operate.
We are currently seeing a lot of Kiwi businesses beginning to understand and harness the power of these four pillars independently or in pairs. However, most are still not leveraging all four collectively.
What is the difference between an F1 supercar and the first car you owned (a Toyota Corolla maybe)? They both have an engine, 4 wheels and a steering wheel. The difference is, the F1 utilises the latest technologies and practices, all fine-tuned to perfection, which ensures the car performs to its absolute potential. Integrating technologies has the ability to do the same for your business.
Leveraging these digital means will give you the tools you need to build stronger and more meaningful customer relations, solve niggly issues either internally or externally and simplify and streamline your operations.
For most companies, the first place they turn when they start thinking about transformation is externally to their customers. We now have access to countless means of collecting relevant and reliable data from our websites, social platforms and search engines, which if used properly will produce tangible results that can be used to make better-informed decisions moving forward.
However, looking outward doesn’t have to be the first place you look. Shifting the needle can simply start with simplifying and automating your internal systems and processes. Whether you want to shift to a cloud-based infrastructure, internal work tracker and dashboard or internal communications. Automating your internal systems is all about freeing up your key staff, allowing them to focus on their core roles to maximise time undertaking tasks that make a difference to your business.
New Zealand businesses now have access to technology and data that has the power to create disruptive change, both internally and externally. As business owners and leaders, we are always looking for the next great innovation that can drive our big ideas and visions forward. We would be missing the greatest innovation if we didn’t capitalise on the tools available to us.