We firmly believe every business will be digital business in about a decade.
But what does it mean to be a “digital” business?
In a digital business, the company becomes more of a software company, no matter what industry they are in. They work everyday on their website(s), applications, mobile apps, online marketing, automations, customer support and integrations – no matter what their mission, vision or reason to be in business. They know that they have to embrace digital, because that is where their customer is, or where they will be very soon.
Digital business works to continually enhance, innovate and change the experience their customers have with them no matter how or where they interact with them – online or off. The same goes for staff, vendors, contractors suppliers and anyone else they work with. They never stop making the experience of doing business with you easier, faster and better.
Digital business anticipates and reacts to what is happening in near real-time. Each department will have the tools to share real-time and aggregate data, what they tried, what worked and what did not in the never ending pursuit of excellence. Just as the open-source community freely shares code, everyone in a digital business shares concepts, code and outcomes.
Eventually you will stop having a website (as we know it today) and it will become more of a digital ecosystem. In your digital ecosystem, each tentacle has it’s own value, but when combined to meet the needs of your customer, they will deliver more value than the sum of their parts.
The digital business changes their focus from who they are, what they have and what they can do to focusing on what a customer wants from them in their life.
A digital business does not think of technology as merely a tool for cost-reductions. Instead, they exploit the living hell out of technology using their right and left brain to harness technology for speed, innovation, or for creating new value and prioritizing investment.
So how does one make the leap to becoming a digital business?
What you do have to do is get started. Just take one step at a time. Start small, and start with the items that you believe will deliver the greatest value first.
Here’s a few examples of small steps we’ve started some of our clients on that might work for you:
- Make a wish list: If you had unlimited time and money, how would you exploit technology? Put that into a spreadsheet or word doc (or any of the free tools out there like Trello) and use it as your backlog that you can prioritize projects on.
- Add ecommerce to your site. Start with just a few products if that is all your team can bite off and chew right now.
- Take note of ANY task where you or your staff is inputting data. Find a way to automate that.
- Do you track time on projects? Automate how that integrates with your invoicing.
- Work out how you can provide actual value to your customers for free, and then start growing your email list to engage them.
- Simply establish a tech and web budget: Knowing what you can do will go a long way in preventing you from over doing it.
- Ask your customers. Don’t do a survey.. just have a casual discussion with them and ask them where you could improve digitally.
- Make sure your website has a call to action that’s easy to spot and act upon. Make sure any call to action is responded to faster than lightening. Track your CTA’s for both effectiveness and response times.
That is just a tiny fraction of the possibilities.
No matter what your first step is, make sure you get a baseline of where you started. Evaluate the change right away. If’s working, do more. If it’s not first try and figure out why it’s not, and if it’s just not working, move on. Evaluate your progress and that of those around you, and just keep moving in the right direction.
Once your moving in the right direction and starting to see the results, you will embrace it fully and keep going… and you’ll never look back.