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"Digital Is the New Black" - What Does It Mean for Business?

While asking many top executives what they mean when say "digital," a unified determination was never obtained. Someone imagines that "digital" describes advanced access to the progressive electronics and computing devices, another considers it to be broadly abstract notion meaning “something new, better and faster”, a third category believes that "digital" is the possibility to communicate with their clients using social media and chat apps and so on. And that’s a tricky part when a company’s management decides to make their business more "digital" without an accurate understanding of what it means, how the business has to be changed, and what’s its new strategy after all. As a result, the management is unable to make a complex decision; it wastes the company’s resources, decreases performance rate, and loses the perspectives.

It is the easiest way just to declare new company’s course to be more "digital" but before saying that a perfectly right solution will be to hold on and to learn the semantics of this notion that later will enable the management and employees to recognize what the basic meaning of "digital" is and what it signifies in terms of business they are involved in.

Although it’s rather seductive to search basic determinations, still in order to preserve true meaning and semantic exhaustiveness, we’re inclined to think that "digital" is more about the style of carrying out the processes and actions than about some material stuff like electronic devices. For a more clear understanding of this notion, it can be split into three categories. The first category is related to the value which is delivered by the business. The second category includes the concepts required to carry out the main processes around value creation. And the last category determines the milestone principles on which the whole system is placed.

The edge: New value

When a company aspirates to become digital, it may require reconsideration and be changing the business model, partially or fully, depending on the value bounds shifting rate. In some cases, becoming digital will cause new business directions to launch; at the same time, another company will be limited to value reconsideration in the current business fields.

Extracting the value from the boosting markets is tightly related to the perception of the role the outside developments play on the market and their assessment to determine whether positive or negative impacts. For example, the utilization of satellite technologies in mining extended the bounds of the oil mines drilling preciseness and improved long-term planning capabilities. Similarly, the use of digital barcodes scanners made the pharmaceutical logistics processes flowing faster and with less human involvement.

Simultaneously, "digital" delivers vast opportunities in terms of business model synchronization with customer decision-making patterns. Specifically, it means the ability to learn the customers’ moves and thoughts on the way to complete a choice and to anticipate customers’ preferences and motives with shifting the company’s value bounds.

The edge: New methods of performance

One more component of the “digital” concept consists of the ability to utilize the digital tools effectively enough to learn how to please a customer the best. The core of this component is a strategy to trace each client’s move or preference in order to combine this information with a pattern based on which it would be clear which most valuable decision can be delivered to him. Concentration on the client’s smallest behavioral details can be applied to all business sections. For example, a digital investigation of the client’s interests can be used to draft a product quality model, and data on the customer’s daily schedule provides the company with an opportunity to design the most suitable delivery way.

It’s important to remember that in the value delivery system, the role of digital is not limited to a single case performance, but it anticipates a complex procedure consisting of a chain of regularly repeated processes that are carried out based on customers’ requirements. In a nutshell, this method needs a bunch of four milestone features.

Can-do managing: nowadays, individuality and applicability became the main factors determining the success of approaching the client with a solution, product, or service. Basically, it means that before delivering the customer with a value, you need to learn about his preferences, needs, and expectations in the most detailed way. And when such data is collected, you’ll be able to analyze it and to come up with a unified solution that will match the most specific and personal requirements of the client.

Circumstantial communication: as we already know, it’s critical to deliver personalized value to the client as it meets his needs the best. And as long as the most efficient way to do this is to collect data on customer’s preferences and habits, the best way to do this is to learn from the communication of a client with a brand. The thing is a customer is coming up with a choice not at one time but after the range of interactions with the supplier in many ways, for example, using social media, the internet, and so on. Such communications allow him to grab as much information about the product he wants to buy. But on the contrary, this is a perfect situation for a brand to perceive vast massive of intelligence about customer’s needs, which will enable the supplier to deliver the most suitable product or service.

Live computerization: staying in touch with a customer when collecting data on his preferences would be impossible without quick automation of communication processes. Prompt access to digital communication channels provides the client with a wide range of possibilities, such as the ability to extract required specifics on the product whenever it’s necessary, to submit feedback to the brand with a request for improvement or change, and so on. At the same time, automation is beneficial for both sides as it enables the brand to be a step ahead of the customer’s expectations.

Customer-oriented innovation. One more benefit of becoming "digital" is the possibility to bring innovation into the communication between the brand and the client. This can be performed as new business directions to launch or to upgrade the existing business activities that will make the produced solution better and more valuable to the client.

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Groundwork as a new acuteness

As a base of the company’s aspiration of becoming "digital," we should call the advanced technological solutions and progressive systematization of production operations that facilitate the daily functioning of the company. This base includes such two options:

The way of thinking: the concept of "digital" inevitably affect the way of thinking of top management and the entire staff. Being "digital" speeds up the operations inside the company, but it also allows building quick communication with outer companies for creating better value and its faster delivery to the client. Basically, the mindset in the "digital" environment becomes more flexible, solution-oriented, creative, and original. It’s also more open for establishing innovative models toward any process is being performed.

Data connectivity: in terms of perceiving the concept of "digital" as the IT system of the company, we could determine its main function as connecting people, devices, and resources in a unified network that makes prompt information exchange, effective decision-making, long-term planning possible.

Obviously, "digital" gives plenty of additional possibilities for companies in their growth. And although each of them may extract from the notion of "digital" different pieces of perception anyway, the objective understanding of the meaning of "digital" will extend the boundaries of the business development.

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