22 Apr 3 STRATEGIC CHANGES BROUGHT BY THE DIGITAL ERA
One of the most common questions I get lately is: How to train employees for digital business transformation?
The fact is that companies today find it easier to solve the issue of choosing adequate technology than to adapt employees to new ways of doing business. That is why we come to the conclusion that the success of changes in the digital era of business depends not only on technology, but primarily on the strategy of a different way of thinking.
In one of the previous texts, I pointed out that each result is based on 3 key steps:
- Thought – the way we think about the current topic
- Word – the words we use in communicating with others
- Activities – what exactly we do about it
Result is the consequence of what comes from these three steps.
The key challenge for most employees lies precisely in the fact that they still think that simply mastering a particular technology will be enough to adapt to digital change.
Digital transformation requires a comprehensive approach to change, because not only the processes and tools in companies have changed, but also the way the client thinks and makes decisions about buying our products and services.
Client behaviour, forms and content of interaction have changed, as well as the ways in which they build their relationships with the companies whose products and services they use.
In addition, the way in which our partners and competitors think and act in the market has changed, because thanks to business innovations they secured different – better positions for themselves.
For this reason, I see that there are 3 strategic changes in the way we think and act that the digital age brings:
- The first strategic change is reflected in the way we make connections with our clients.
Previously, communication with customers usually came only from companies through an offensive sales approach and advertisements with the aim of convincing customers that they should buy. Customers are seen as a group of people who need to buy and use a product or service.
Lately, that communication is becoming more and more two-way, customer experiences and reviews leave a much stronger impression on other customers than any advertisement designed by the company itself or any sales approach designed by the sales manager. Clients are becoming a community whose members communicate with each other and share experiences. The ways in which customers buy, use and evaluate products and services are changing.
All this leads us to think more deeply about creating true values for the client, about the fact that we should not conclude deals with the client but start a long-term relationship of cooperation and trust, about the fact that concluding a deal is not the end of the sales process but actually the beginning of a buying process.
This approach is correlated with the fact that customers do not like to be sold something, but they really like to buy.
By buying, clients actually come to a community ruled by loyalty and a sense of belonging and by sharing their experiences with others they become our main influencers.
- The second strategic change is changing the way we think about competition.
There are more and more companies that are not on the list of our territorial competitors, yet they steal our clients or employees every day. The digital age has opened up almost all the boundaries of business. In this way, many of our competitors can actually become our partners, if we change the point of view, if we approach this whole field with much more flexibility.
The long-term goal is to get the client in its entirety and provide everything he/she needs in one place, which is why many companies come together through different platforms (or through shared services) and through clearly defined relationships, to provide the client with a complete service in one place.
The strategic change is reflected in the fact that instead of the fight for all or nothing between competitors, a field of thinking about joint performance is being opened today in order to get EVERYTHING from as many clients in a certain market segment as possible.
- The third strategic change is changing the way the field of business innovation is approached.
Testing innovations used to be very expensive, many companies were forced to launch a product or service on the market based on the assessment or intuition of a manager. In case of failure, in addition to the costs for the company, the initiators of the innovation also had problems because the failure was attributed to their initiative. All of this has contributed to a lack of initiative due to the fear of losing a job or being pilloried due to failure in companies.
However, today, in many ways, it is very easy to create a prototype product or service, digitally place it in certain user communities and thus very quickly get feedback from clients’ reactions to it. In this way, significant savings are achieved – from the idea to the feedback from the client. In addition, initiators do not carry the risks of potential failure only on their backs, thus initiatives for change have become much more frequent and creative.
Taking all the above into account, we come to the conclusion that 3 strategic changes are focused on three key issues:
- How to improve the creation and management of client networks?
- How to build business platforms, not just products and services?
- How to innovate through fast and cost-effective experimentation and feedback?
Companies that are among the first to have answers to these questions will gain the winning edge in the digital era.