The term digital transformation has been buzzing for years. It has encouraged forward-thinking companies to innovate, while at the same time, has threatened complacent companies with demise. With years of hype surrounding this concept, 2019 will be the year digital transformation actually takes hold—making or breaking companies of every size and in every industry across the globe.

Digital Transformation

For industries as straightforward as pizza delivery to those as complex as healthcare, digital transformation has the ability to catapult companies ahead of the competition and to generate additional revenue streams. And, with digital tools and experts readily available to help implement these transformative tactics—the real challenge is making it happen before another company does.

To accelerate your digital transformation journey in 2019, we’ve prioritized what you need to do and how to do it. Start from the inside out by empowering your employees with digital tools, then engage customers, optimize your operations and transform your products. Here’s how you should get started.

Empower Employees with Collaboration and Communication

The use of collaboration and communication tools in an organization is basic to some, but for organizations that have yet to implement modern communication tools, it’s a must for 2019. Modern communication tools run the gamut from email, chat, mobile access, document sharing, video and more, and enable teams to communicate more often, and in real-time with greater efficiency, whether  under one roof or at disparate locations. Without modern communication tools in place, your organization is selling its most important asset short—the power of collective human intelligence.

If your organization already uses communication tools, your next step should be to use the technology to decentralize decision making. This is a top-down management strategy and hot topic in corporate America, which gives people in an organization access to information previously under wraps, with the hope that it will facilitate productivity and engagement and empower decision-making at every level.

FAST-TRACK: To get started with modern communication and collaboration tools, consider Microsoft Office 365. This platform gives you chat, mobile access, advanced email, document management, video, voice, business intelligence, customer relationship management, search, security and more in a single solution.

Engage Customers with a Seamless Experience  

We doubt you’re hearing it for the first time here, but it’s a concept that bears repeating: the customer experience is everything—and today, their experience is more than just face-to-face interaction with your customer service department. Today, customer experience means giving the customer control over their buying experience and empowering them to do business with ease. And again, with tools and experts available to implement better buying experiences, it’s a matter of who will do it first.

New data suggests that in 2019, companies should ensure that customers are able to find answers to their questions using an assortment of self-service options, as 50% of customers think it’s important to solve product or service issues themselves and 70% expect a company’s website to include a self-service application.1 These customer demands can mean implementing a self-service portal that provides education or actually facilitates sales. It also means using mobile apps, chat bots and other artificial intelligence (AI) to proactively get information to the customer before they need to seek it out.

For example, have you ever bought a product from Amazon or another site, and a few months later received a prompt to rebuy it? This is an example of a proactive buying experience, where the company didn’t just make their customer’s life easier, but capitalized on the revenue stream of that customer. 

FAST-TRACK: To begin creating a customer-centric buying or service experience, you need to organize your data. The only way to create self-service portals, or to send proactive buying prompts, is to have your customer information and trends-data aggregated, managed and analyzed from the front to the back-end. Look at your information and data management options, and if you’ve already done that, it might be time to consider a “data estate,” which can handle more complex information from multiple sources, including data from the Internet of Things.

Optimize Operations by Bridging People and Data

No matter your industry, every company has operations that can stand to be more efficient, scalable and innovative; especially, as we consider how instrumental operations is to facilitating and guaranteeing a superior customer experience. To optimize your operations department, it comes down to one concept: bridging people and data, rather than having them operate in siloes.

There are many ways to bridge this gap, and if you can achieve all of them, your organization will be ahead of your competitions’ internal operations by way of cost, revenue and security benefits.

  • Agility—Implement changes quickly and improve extended workflows
  • Scale—Scale more effectively and reach people across multiple platforms
  • Security—Resolve security challenges and safeguard your company’s reputation and IP
  • Innovation—Customize app experiences and tailor line-of-business (LOB) apps
  • Changing Skillset—Reduce IT maintenance and migrate legacy apps

Companies that have modernized their operations department through the power of agility, scale, security, innovation and skillsets have successfully bridged their people and data, and have realized benefits including reducing certain costs by up to 90% and growing revenue up to 37% faster.

FAST-TRACK: Optimizing your operations is a custom challenge that depends on your industry-type as well as your stage of the digital transformation journey. To find out what your next step should be when it comes to optimizing your operations, get a FIT Check. This interactive assessment will benchmark your IT infrastructure, tell you how to streamline and trim unnecessary processes and capabilities, and provide a roadmap for what you need to do next.

Transform Products with Technology Infrastructure  

Transforming products with technology infrastructure goes hand-in-hand with the customer experience. If you’re thinking, “I don’t provide a product,” or “there’s no way to innovate my product,” think again.

Here’s an example we can all relate to: Domino’s. Pizza is a product that there’s seemingly no way to make better—pizza on its own has been perfect since 1905. But Domino’s looked to technology to find ways to improve how it’s ordered, tracked, delivered and ordered again. As an international company, it built a foundation of communication and collaboration between its global partners, and then created a seamless customer experience that’s facilitated by optimized and digital operations.

You see in this example how all of these elements come together to make a difference. It also demonstrates how you don’t necessarily need to innovate your product, but instead, the operations and delivery methods that surround it, to lead in your industry. And, if transforming your delivery method costs more, keep in mind that by 2020, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience.1

FAST-TRACK: Whether you run a 10-person firm or an international enterprise, Microsoft solutions give you access to all of the communication, customer experience and operations tools you need, and can be tailored to your needs. For most organizations, Microsoft’s Business Analytics and Intelligence platform is a good place to start, as it will organize and analyze your most critical business data to uncover opportunities.

Take One or More of These Actions Before Someone Else Does

Depending on what stage of the digital transformation journey your organization is in, it might make sense to start with one or all of these actions in 2019. It can’t be emphasized enough how important digital transformation will be this year—or how critical it is to act fast if you want to stay in the game. But it’s not something that should scare or discourage you—there are tools and experts readily available to help you identify how to get started, and assist with implementation and management along the way.

Plus, with digital revenues expected to double in 2019, there’s opportunity to grow your business. To not waste any time, request information about a FIT Check today. This interactive assessment will benchmark where your IT infrastructure is, tell you how to streamline and trim capabilities, and provide a roadmap for what you need to do next. We’ll say it again: take action before someone else does.

Get a Digital Transformation Fit Check

Source: 32 Customer Experience Statistics You Need to Know for 2019, SuperOffice