The last couple of years we have witnessed more and more companies embracing digital processes. There are even companies that never were analog. Take for instance Spotify. The online streaming service does not have analog roots. But the number of pure digital players, those who never existed in the analog world, is relatively small compared to hybrid- and analog players. We expect real time response and insights. The number of processes that run for many days is shrinking rapidly. A couple of years ago you could get away with ‘we will respond to your email within 4 working days’, today you annoy your clients if you take more than a couple of hours to respond. Is this digital madness or is this the way to go nowadays and is this inherent to Digital Transformation? I’ll share my vision in this blog.
To stay ahead of your competitors and to make your customers feel important, digitally serving your customers within a couple of hours is the way to go. The best players even go below a couple of hours, especially when time is of the essence. One good example is the KLM, the Royal Dutch Airline. In their business, it is all about customer service, short turnaround times and lots of dependencies. Furthermore, it is a competitive business with new players entering the market. You really need to bring your A game. Twitter, Facebook and Messenger are now prominent part of their customer care channels. KLM is now able to respond to questions from customers and potential customers in matters of minutes. That is important because in many cases time is running but more importantly: it is great customer service. But that is some feat, going from several days to respond to perhaps several minutes. It is almost madness … digital madness to be precise. How on earth can you pull that off?
Should you be in or out?
Many businesses have that “don’t miss the boat feeling”. So, the question is: digital madness, should you be in or out? Let me help you answer that question by giving you three questions:
- Do you have competitors in your business / line of business?
- Do you want to improve the bottom line of your business / organization?
- Do you have demanding customers / stakeholders?
If you answered ‘no’ to all three questions, I don’t really believe you. There are few monopolies in this world and those that exist are often established and monitored by governments. Government itself can be considered a monopoly however there are checks and balances and scrutiny from citizens and other stakeholders. You at least have a demanding customer where you should go digital for. If you answered ‘yes’ to one, two or even three of the questions going digital, with all of the potential madness, is the way to go.
The disconnected business
But 24/7 has its drawbacks as well as all the digital information that is shared and gathered by parties. Digital information is like a superfluid and can go from one party to the other, sometimes without the other even knowing it, for instance because of a data breach. Can we or should we change the course of our society, moving away from a relentless 24/7 and constantly being online? Is there a place for a ‘disconnected business’? There is surely something going on with regards to the ‘the internet never forgets’ and ‘always on’ trends. There are people who want to have the right to be forgotten. This right revolves around search engines delisting certain search results from their indices. The actual articles are still there (since that is out of the jurisdiction of search engines).
But how can you disconnect? In France, there is a law that requires companies with more than 50 employees to establish hours when staff should not send or answer emails. This right to disconnect allows people to choose if and when they reply to emails. There are more examples about being disconnected to be found online (oh the irony!) So, it seems that there is some merit to a disconnected business. Or should we say to some aspects of business?
Can we go back?
Let us look at the facts what it means to be disconnected and to go back to analog. Let’s take an example: imagine you want to transfer money from your account to the account of a friend. Money, especially within a bank, is completely digital. If you transfer money, there are no actual bills or coins sent over. Your account is credited and the other account is debited. This happens 24/7 at speeds of millions of transactions per minute. The global non cash volume by end 2020 is estimated to be 726,100,000,000 transactions per annum. This cannot be done any other way than digitally. If not for the volume, then surely for the cost. If you are the only one doing this (as an individual or company) it will give you a disadvantage to all the others who are still digital. So, it seems that going digital is to a large extent a one-way street. We, as a society are hooked on digital but should be critical about is when it comes to security and privacy issues. So, it seems that going digital is to a large extent a one way street. We, as a society are hooked on digital but should be critical about is when it comes to security and privacy issues.
Is Going Digital always good?
There is a reason why we do not have horse and carriage as the primary mode of transportation or plough the fields with a span of Clydesdales. The reason is that there are better, faster and cheaper alternatives. Going digital is a natural step in the continuous improvement of business. It provides you with a long-term cost reduction and efficiency and above all: the chance to become agile, just in case you need it. And trust us, you will need it.
But how do you do that, going digital? There are many questions like:
- Where to start?
- How to start?
- What technology to use?
These three questions are the proverbial tip of the iceberg. While it seems daunting, with all of the questions that arise, going digital can be approached similar to eating an (proverbial) elephant: one bite at a time.
The final question
Should you Go Digital or not? To borrow and change a line from Shakespeare, ‘that is really no question’ Go digital, everyone else is doing this. This is the way to roll these days. This is not a case of ‘if everyone jumps in the river do you also do it’ it makes real business sense. Not for the instant gratification needs of your customers, not to be available always and everywhere, but to optimize your internal processes and to cut out on cost. The rest is a nice bonus. You will see it is less madness then you think.
Rest assured: you are not, and should not be, alone on this journey. There are many resources online and our white paper below is there to help and guide you to reap the benefits of your digital transformation.