If you have any doubt that having a digital presence is vital, realize that this past Christmas saw an increase of 15% (17% if you add in mobile devices) in sales vs. 2013.
According to internetretailer.com, that amounted to approximately $53 billion in sales. Compare that to the 2% overall increase in brick-and-mortar retail estimated by the site during that same timeframe. Whether you’re selling consumer goods or business-to-business products and services; whether you’re looking for brand recognition or trying to persuade people to donate to your non-profit organization, you need to take your enterprise digital. But you need to be serious about it.
An article by management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, The seven traits of effective digital enterprises, discusses this very issue. According to the article, many businesses find themselves stumbling through the process because “digital transformation is uniquely challenging, touching every function and business unit while also demanding the rapid development of new skills and investments that are very different from business as usual.” What they found is that there are seven specific traits and practices that enable businesses to complete a successful digital transformation.
- Be unreasonably aspirational – You’re not just digitizing your business, you’re changing it. Netflix, already on e-commerce video rental business, saw where consumer viewing would go with video streaming and mad the necessary commitment and investment to get there first.
- Acquire capabilities – Unless you’re unusually fortunate, you probably don’t have the people needed already within your company; possibly no even within your industry. Don’t worry. Find the best digital management and customer user experience wherever you can find them. You should be hiring digital expertise, not industry experience
- Corral and cultivate talent – Keep your digital team together and give them their space to innovate and create. We’ve all heard the stories about Google and Microsoft workplaces; the best people within this area just don’t work well in the 9-to-5 assimilate-or-else culture of most businesses. Give them the freedom to do their best.
- Challenge everything – Examine all aspects of your business, both customer facing and back-office, including all processes at every step of the supply chain and figure out how you can make everything faster, better, and more efficient through digital innovation.
- Be quick and data driven – Twelve-month product release cycles are a thing of the past; in today’s environment, delay means defeat at the hands of your competitors. And everything you do should be supported by big data analytics. Impress upon everyone in your workforce the value of data and give them access to it. Innovation can come from anywhere.
- Follow the money – Look to digital transformation not to just increase revenue, but also to create efficiencies and cost savings in processes throughout the organization. Assess where your cost centers are and explore how to streamline functions. Look at digital investment that creates the most value.
- Be obsessed with the customer – Where does your revenue come from? The customer obviously, so ask yourself whether your company is customer-centric enough. Have you created a user experience that’s excellent regardless of the channel where your customer interacts with you? How important is that? The McKinsey article notes that 86% of customers surveyed said they were willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
The article concludes by noting that companies looking for success really can’t cherry-pick from this list; they need to do excel at all of them.
Read the full article here.