The digitization of the economy is improving access to services, information and goods, blurring industry lines, and upending conventional business structures and interactions. The pace of change is accelerating on many fronts. It is transforming the global economy at breakneck speed, and redefining the rules of engagement that will ultimately determine winners and losers.
Companies that are digital leaders in their industries, are seeing faster revenue growth, improved operational efficiency, increased customer engagement, and higher workforce productivity. They are reinventing processes, creating new business models and reshaping entire industries to their own advantage.
Consumers, many of whom are digital natives, are fast adopters of technology. They are more informed, more involved, and are driving the innovation agenda. As a result, they are encouraging companies to be nimble, and promoting exploration and experimentation.
How can companies be better prepared to identify and capitalize on opportunities in the digital economy? How do they benchmark themselves against competitors? Which investments should they be making today, and which should they be preparing for tomorrow? Here are four areas digital leaders are prioritizing in order to gain outsized growth in productivity and profit margins.
Simply leveraging technologies to digitize assets, operations and the workforce is not enough to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the digital economy. In order to stay relevant and profitable, businesses must rethink their structures and culture, constantly iterating on strategy and evaluating new business models and revenue streams. They must transform their organizations from within, becoming leaner, more agile, and more cost effective.
Importantly, leadership must build a culture that fosters change and adopt a clear and coherent, data-driven digital strategy if they want to capture real business benefit.
Advanced AI and analytics are essential technologies that companies must harness to build differentiated advantage across their functional business areas and to win the battle for marketshare and profit growth. However, in order to move beyond traditional business intelligence and unlock the potential of AI to deliver improved evidence-based decision making, insight generation, and process optimization, businesses must embed analytics into every layer of the organization. Only then can they seek to transform their data, measurements and metrics from simply being descriptive to becoming predictive and ultimately prescriptive.
Additionally, businesses must exercise responsible data collection, integration and management, with policies in place for privacy, security and governance.
Developing a winning customer experience strategy is central to the success of any business in the digital economy. To increase loyalty and reduce churn while lowering the cost to serve, companies must do more than optimize touchpoints–those critical moments when customers interact with the organization–they must see the world as their customers do, and own and transform the complete end-to-end experience.
As the elements that influence buyer and loyalty dynamics continue to shift, customers are increasingly valuing experience over product and price. Companies must make customer experience a top priority. However, customer-experience transformations are most successful when businesses take the time to quantify the economic outcomes, and leadership clearly understand how it generates value. They must take a methodical approach to launching initiatives rooted in analytics, with a model of customer satisfaction that is linked to journeys and not individual touchpoints.
Dynamic & Diverse Workforce
The future of work exists at the intersection of human capital, automation technologies, artificial intelligence and evolving models for work structure. The rise of the digital worker and intelligent technology will have a far-reaching impact on the global workforce–changing how we work, where we work and the skills we need to succeed. Additionally, employee expectations of what work should be like are also evolving, with the younger, more tech savvy workforce preferring greater mobility, connectivity and flexibility.
To successfully navigate this transition, business leaders must organize for agility and elevate their workforce to improve productivity and create new value through human–machine collaboration. As occupational categories shift and professional responsibilities get redefined, they must prioritize people not jobs. They must source new talent from a global, dynamic and diverse talent pool and investing in training programs to new-skill and level-up employees.
For both incumbents and newcomers, the digital economy presents amazing opportunities. However, achieving business success will require an informed understanding of the ever changing dynamic of the interconnectedness of people, machines, data, devices and processes.