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By Rudi Briedenhann.

It is with a sense of continuation from last week’s post that I start this week. Albeit with a change in direction. Let me provide context. I was participating in a conversation that addressed the topic of digital transformation in the 4th Industrial revolution and what that means for business, this conversation steered, as they do, delving into why some organisation have greater success at achieving digital transformation than others. A comment was made with great enthusiasm by one of the participants ‘’our business is ready for the 4th industrial revolution, we have everything a website, an app, the facebook and twiggeree” (yeah, Twitter). That’s correct right?

 

Well no, not even close in fact. The above sentiment is rife within South African businesses. The simple fact of the matter is that ‘’digital transformation’’ is a widely misunderstood term. Ask 100 people what digital transformation means to them, and chances are very good that one would receive 100 different answers.

I have taken a different approach in explaining ‘’digital transformation’’ and have found that the best place to start is to explain what ‘’digital transformation’’ is not.  Digital transformation is not about the internet. Digital transformation is not getting a website or and mobile app for your business, it is also not the creation or implementation of a social media and or a digital strategy for your business.

 

Digital Transformation is the complete re-invention of the fundamental structures of how we do business today. But why should my business be swept up in all this technology malarkey, I hear you say. The truth of the matter is, that the world we live in now, technology has created a ‘’now’’ consumer. I want to pay now, I want to listen now, I want to buy now, I want to watch now, I want to complete now, I want to be insured now and I want to bank now. With the millennial mind-set, why can’t your business do this now? Why are you asking me for my details again, if I have been you customer for years? What do you mean you need to email me a form to complete, print, sign, scan and email back to you and then also supply supporting documentation?

 

Do these examples look or sound familiar to you? They should, as I am sure all of us do, utter and mumble these sentences daily. Should I be dealing with my insurance broker, contractor, service provider, government department, bank personally? It all sounds the same … ‘’Happy to help Mr. Briedenhann, I will email you the document, please print and complete, scan and send it back to me.” Grrrrrr, seriously!

Consumers are demanding that businesses reinvent themselves to keep up with societal demands. Herein lies the first reason. Relevancy. Today’s customer demands to do business on their terms. If your business is still employing and using paper heavy, manual data processing centres that cost millions to operate, still sending emails with documents attached to a client to complete and scan and email back to your business, if you still require your logistic business to be dependant on a driver returning to dispatch with signed delivery notes, if you still require your customer to dial your contact centre, if your property management company is still sending their contractors to site to assess a fault report from a tenant, in other word’s if your business still relies on the same methods of doing business with their client as 10 years ago, you are woefully behind what today’s consumers expect.

 

This is purely an observation and in no way a value determination on business. We have seen time and time again, during our day-to-day dealings with our clients that the same fundamental problems exist across the board.

My previous blog content has eluded to factual statistics supporting this finding. We find that the idea of Digital Transformation is a concept of transformation that, for even the most seasoned business stalwart, garner feelings of confusion and down-right fear.

We have found in so many interactions, a certain level of desperation from individuals that may have been tasked with the digital overhaul of the business.

This brings us to the question ‘’where do I even start?’’.

It is with this question in mind that sets the trend for the following weeks blog topics. I will attempt to break it down into workable steps that could be applied to any organisation. I intend for this blog series to, simplify what digital transformation could mean for your business and what practical steps you can implement into your business process to digitize and automate and in turn, start to reap the wonderful understanding, rewards and opportunities that will flow from this.

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