Will Your Company Be Left in the Dust of Digital Transformation?

Apr 5 2017
By Joseph Knecht in Insights

The phrase “digital transformation” can seem like some innovation-lab jargon of the week. But the phrase refers to something much more than a fad. Going forward, it’s clear nearly every organization on the planet is going to find itself facing some form of this really interesting phenomenon.

Why? Two main reasons: 1) digital transformation is a natural, unstoppable outgrowth of advancing technology that solves problems, and 2) human beings are in love with technology (for many reasons), so companies can fairly easily woo them with it.

Organizations that don’t find a way to use technology to not only help, but blow away, customers are going to get left in the dust. Sorry, but that’s a fact of life.

The Evolution of Digital Transformation

Every industry has seen basic digital solutions in programs like word processing, spreadsheets, online forms, etc. But digital transformation goes way beyond the basics. It’s usually a company-wide effort that leads to profound changes.

The automobile industry is a perfect example — and kind of an exciting one, too.

  • In the past, car buyers could only get information from newspapers, sales circulars and annoying salespeople.
     
  • Today, car buyers get information from friends and experts online. Digital tools help present buying options on the sales floor, and digitized lean manufacturing solutions speed the creation of custom models. Hell, Dodge even had a program where graduating high schoolers could crowdfund parts for a new car--i.e.,  grandma buys the rims for $2,000...Uncle Don buys the steering wheel for $150...and so on until the entire car is purchased by friends and family.
     
  • For the future, the industry is vetting exciting new technologies such as virtual test drives and file sharing protocols that send information instantly to shoppers’ smart phones when they stand in different places on the car dealer’s sales floor. You can imagine what eventually will happen to dealers who ignore this.

    Let's even take this to the next level. Autonomys cars are coming, which could make taxis obsolete. Remove the high cost of drivers, and a taxi-ride might only cost $2.00. If that becomes the case, why buy a car. Uh-oooh...

Digital Transformation Driven by Consumers

Product users are the ones driving digital transformation at its root. Consumers have gotten a taste of interesting and fun technology, and they want more. Who can blame them? Technology saves time and money and builds decision-making confidence. In fact, digital transformation is fast becoming a driving factor for nearly every business, with the addition of custom content experiences, such as customer portals and web applications.

Product users are hungry for interconnected devices. They are impressed by personalization. They crave apps that do calculations behind the scenes and push information to them right when they want it. The company that provides the best technology wins.

This new awareness and demand of customers for technology creates pressure on companies--it’s something you HAVE TO understand, because the shift is here, happening on all levels of business. The largest hospitality company in the world (Airbnb) doesn’t even own a hotel. Now your doorbell talks to you and shows you video--that’s a pretty good sign times are changing.

Will your business change with the times and embrace digital transformation? Don’t be intimidated by the words. Digital transformation is more than some complex jargon of the elite innovation shops. It’s really pretty simple to understand, and there’s no getting away from it. We aren’t the only ones who will give you this advice: “Transform digitally or die!”

Joseph Knecht
Post by Joseph Knecht

Joseph Knecht is the CEO at Proteus and loves to cover the topics of entrepreneurship, digital transformation, and web product commercialization.