By: Finny Chellakumar, Head- Digital Business Service, Aspire Systems
If you are interpreting readiness as a precursor to digital adoption, my simple answer to this question is ‘You won’t be ready!!’ If that’s not a rude shock to you, let me tell you another piece of truth, ‘you can never be digitally ready’. Yes, you can be digitally matured or strive to be digitally ready all the time or even be digitally ahead of all your competitors, but always be forewarned that the disruption could hit you thick and fast if you begin to settle for being static in the digital world.
‘I would be digitally ready’ is a progressive statement. It involves continuous adaptation to changes in business model, technology disruption, new trends and most importantly customer expectation. Somehow I get a feeling that most of the enterprises come with a traditional mindset where ‘digital’ is also considered as one of the many IT implementation projects involving a definitive scope and budget. If that’s your attitude I have bad news for you. If you want to be really ‘digital’ it needs to be dynamic, just like how your marketing mix and approach changes year on year, your digital mix and approach will also change year on year.
Having said all that, there are few things a digital ready organization does which help them get it right and scale heights. Most digitally successfully organizations have defined their digital initiatives around Process Optimization and Customer Engagement. This has broadly helped them to build processes and technology assets around customers and employees resulting in better empowerment and experience. There are a lot of things I can talk from a perspective of Process Readiness, however I will limit this article to technology readiness.
I particularly like the way EPiServer shrinks this into 4 C’s and I would like to borrow from that and give it my own twist in order to define the 4 vital strategies an enterprise needs to have to be called a Digital Enterprise.
1. Content – Since we are speaking in the context of ‘Digital readiness’ I am interpreting Content as Data here. In fact, I can even say that the heart of digital is Data and the ability to make sense of this data. An organization which is Digitally Matured is the one which has focused on how they can integrate the various systems and use data to make better decisions, provide personalization capability and also help employees work effectively.
2. Collaboration – Digital initiatives around connecting employees and customers, making their interaction effective and even using this as a platform to engage customers and prospects is a sign that the organization is digitally ready. Some of these organizations might not have full-fledged systems, however what is important is that, there needs to be a clear roadmap and strategy on how to create the collaborative environment within and outside the organization.
3. Commerce – Whether you like it or not, it’s become imperative for you to be in the e-commerce space if you are a B2C enterprise. It’s come to a point where millennials consider an enterprise inferior if they do not have an online store. In fact it’s a known truth that a lot of activities around product discovery and buying decisions happen through the online channel, however the real buying could happen in the retail space. Having a strong online commerce strategy helps in engaging with customers by creating awareness and also understanding your customers preference. In many cases online commerce becomes a face of your enterprise.
4. Channels – Being Digital has a lot to do with being available in spaces where your employees and your customers are. This means an enterprise will have to look beyond the traditional channels and have a strategy to be in not-so-traditional channels like the Mobile, Kiosk etc. Another important thing is the ability to have Omni-channel capabilities where there are seamless interactions between multiple channels. Today, the major challenge is the lack of connect from one channel to another. This is mainly attributed to not having a strong content (data) Strategy which would have otherwise enabled availability of Data within channels. Enterprises need to have a strategy for accommodating emerging technologies. One of the channels that is fast growing is wearables, I am sure things are not going to stop here, but what’s the channel strategy for the future?
If you are wondering where you need to start as you begin this journey of digital readiness, I would suggest you to start looking at your integration strategy and data strategy and then look at how you can modify, create newer systems to use these elements to transform customer experience and optimize operations.