Defining Digital in a Customer-Connected World

Posted on: September 30, 2014 by Rob Price

The ‘digitisation of business’ – this is the latest catchphrase being thrown around today’s technology sector. For all the hype, it seems that many organisations are confused about what the term actually means.

Digital is a Mind-Set

Digital is not a specific application or technology; it’s also more than simply developing a new website for customers or rolling out mobile devices to the workforce. Digital is a cultural change, not only within the enterprise but across our entire lives. As consumers, digital-thinking has shaped our expectations and impacted on the way we interact with businesses, creating demand for 24/7 access to services.

And it is because of this change in customer expectations that businesses have found they must adapt – not only to external pressures but also to the demands of staff and stakeholders who expect immediacy of service and the access to information we have become accustomed to thanks to constant connectivity.

Keeping Customers at the Cutting Edge

Digital allows IT departments and businesses as a whole to embrace a ‘single view of the customer’ – tracking their interactions across all business channels and delivering new insights into the needs and desires of the market. Using analytics can present new opportunities for growth, understand potential internet economic models such as multi-sided markets and help suggest alternative revenue models.

Operating Models in a Digital Era

Crucially, Digital allows IT to rip up the rulebook and start thinking about ways technology can add value – whether that’s through unlocking new revenue streams, developing improved working processes that can make colleagues’ lives easier or by helping to create better interactions with customers.

Take this chance to look closely at your operating processes – are they designed to deliver the best possible agility, flexibility and speed of operation needed to meet customer demand? Can your business meet these demands, now but also tomorrow? Don’t fall into the trap of simply applying digital expertise to existing processes. Businesses must apply their digital mindset, continually reinventing, correcting and improving practices to keep up with the start-ups who are not weighed down by legacy systems.

It must, however, be made clear that Digital is a double-edged sword. While it offers a golden opportunity for your business, to reinvent its relationship with customers or even its operating model, it is also providing your competitors with the same advantage. Today’s market is no longer a marathon, but operates as a series of sprints with businesses jostling to stay ahead by implementing the latest digital models to serve tomorrow’s connected customer.

In my next post I’ll be exploring some of the top tips for businesses looking to re-position themselves for the digital revolution.

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About Rob Price
COO for Worldline UK&I and member of the Scientific Community
Rob is COO for Worldline UK&I, the European leader in the payment and transactional services industry. He was previously Head of Digital for Atos UK&I, is a member of the Atos Scientific Community and was a founder of the award winning CIO/CTO Atos blog, the predecessor to Ascent. He successfully melds inspiration and creativity with strategic direction and implementation, focusing on driving more efficient and effective exploitation of technology and services to drive positive business outcomes and better connect our clients with their end consumers. The insight gained through both operational delivery roles and strategic Digital evangelist roles ensures that he views the Digital Revolution from multiple perspectives. Find him on twitter @The_Digital_COO

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