What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation can mean different things depending on who you are speaking with. Most, however, agree on its basic principle: using digital technologies to create better ways of working and better Customer Experiences.
But this is a crude assessment of the concept. Digital transformation does not mean updating your systems and capabilities with the latest versions of technology. Transformation demands more than that. It necessitates integrating digital technologies into everything you do, with every action reviewed from a digital perspective.
This is more than structural change. It is a cultural reset that fundamentally changes the way you operate, allowing you to keep pace with the market and influence behaviour more effectively.
Of course, cultural transition does not happen overnight. Rather than describing it as a process, then, digital transformation should instead be considered as a journey. It can be a challenging journey for those less digitally mature businesses, but it is one that must be taken to survive and remain relevant.
Once you have achieved a certain level of digital maturity, the journey changes direction. From here, the emphasis turns towards digital optimisation.
Which businesses have transformed digitally?
The most successful have been those that have invested heavily to accelerate their journey. Take Nike, for example. The sportswear and equipment giant reinvented its brand through digital transformation in just two years.
By investing in the journey, the US-headquartered organisation started using its digital estate to focus on end-to-end engagement, selling directly to customers. An updated strategy centred on retail data, meaning the business could connect better with customers and recommend the right products.
However, digital transformation is not restricted to ‘conventional’ B2C retailers. Every business must undertake this journey, and each journey is tailored to the business’ needs. Digital transformation must be aligned with your business’ unique proposition, not those of other businesses.
The digital transformation of the Australian Postal Service (APS) is one of the best examples of this. After a strategy audit in 2012, it discovered that digital disruption was its biggest threat. This could be through challengers using 3D printers to produce packages at a lower cost or leveraging self-service capabilities to make customers’ lives easier.
The APS took decisive action and has since become one of the most distinctive digital innovators. It continues to innovate with new services that better meet customer needs, such as with its Digital iD platform.
Why you should update your strategy
While your business might have already started its digital transformation journey, the chances are it no longer follows the best strategy. Lockdown restrictions have resulted in a radical shift towards digital, causing further overcrowding of a highly competitive market.
This has led to competitors taking their digital transformation more seriously. As a result, you must also change tack if you want to compete. Speed, agility, and innovation are the most important drivers of this change, and this needs to be reflected in your updated strategy. Using headless technology is the most effective means of achieving this.
Headless architecture separates the code between back-end systems and front-end experiences. This means you can innovate and iterate better and faster because the architecture has liberated the front-end experience from back-end code restrictions. Consequently, your business can test new engagement strategies more freely and evolve with the market faster.