A digital mindset should put the customer, not cost savings, at the heart of your business
Whether we like it or not, business is changing, partly in response to a new, post-Covid marketplace but also because digital transformation is leading a revolution in how we interact with customers, suppliers and our own employees.
For many business owners and start-up entrepreneurs, digital transformation means driving efficiency up and costs down. In fact, when you think “digital transformation” you should be focused on the customer journey.
Adapting to a changing business environment
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nedella recently recognised the new business environment, saying: “What we have witnessed over the past year is the dawn of the second wave of the digital transformation sweeping every company and every industry.”
Driven by the need to communicate and work remotely during the global pandemic, businesses are turning to digital technology in order to stay connected to the marketplace, add value for customers and increase productivity. Such a transformation requires adopting a business mindset at every level of your business.
What is a digital mindset?
Understanding that new technologies can transform your business means seeing digital change as an opportunity, not a threat; a way to drive improvement and open up new markets. Having a digital mindset means:
- Making technology central to your organisation,
- Being agile and happy to adapt to changes,
- Being collaborative within your business and with external partners,
- Being innovative and not entrenched in what worked in the past,
- Taking risks, understanding you can learn from exploring new areas and making mistakes which benefits you in the long run,
- Embracing ambiguity and not letting it stop you from taking the first steps and moving forward.
Having worked with a lot of start-ups it has become apparent that entrepreneurs usually have a head start in finding their digital mindset.
A holistic approach to digital transformation
A lasting digital transformation will fundamentally change the way a business operates, leaving no aspect untouched, so it must be both a horizontal and a vertical process. People, processes, tools, culture, technology must all be included in digital transformation and for it to be fully adopted, it requires stakeholder buy-in and everyone in your organisation needs to be included.
Digital transformation is about more than just the automation of some areas of your business; you need full buy-in and cultural change throughout your organisation that puts your customer at the forefront of everything you do.
Incepteo run a series of digital transformation workshops in which we emphasise to audiences that it’s not about cost-cutting by increasing efficiency. We always focus on the customer journey, which can touch upon each department, whether it realises that it’s customer-facing or not. If the customer journey isn’t cutting edge and joined up as part of your digital transformation process then customers will drift away.
At Incepteo, we help a wide range of businesses to apply digital processes, from brand new start-ups to more established medium and large-sized companies wanting to adapt. Everyone in our team has a digital mindset which we also apply to our own business too.
For example, we’ve developed a unique customer experience portal that lets the customer see exactly what progress we’re making on their project. Just as important, it also allows them to interact with us at every stage so they become part of the development process.
Not only does our portal make us more transparent from outside our organisation, but it also encourages greater efficiency and accountability internally when we know that everything we do can be held to account.
How to develop a digital mindset
Understanding the qualities of a digital mindset isn’t sufficient for success; you must be able to embody these qualities in everything you do. Leaders must champion and encourage a digital mindset at every level to really have a transformative effect on business outcomes. Here’s how:
- Have a digital vision: Proactively committing to opportunities to integrate technology and allow it to permeate the organisation.
- Make digital transformation strategic: Understanding Integrating technology isn’t just an operation matter but rather part of strategic planning, making it central to the organisation going forward.
- Invest in employees: Continually upskill employees and engage all levels across the organisation in the digital developments to develop digital confidence and buy-in.
- Don’t fear failure: Embrace failure as a learning opportunity upon which to build and move forward.
- Use tech across the business: Search for opportunities to re-use technology across teams and departments and break down technology siloes.
- Change culture: Build an open culture where being inquisitive and transparent is understood to be key to moving forward and technology that’s empowering people.
- Embrace the journey: See digital transformation as an ongoing and evolving aspect to organisational development rather than a project with an end date and provide appropriate investment to support this.
From mindset to revenue
Businesses wanting to increase revenue have little option but to embrace digital transformation, to keep pace with customer expectations and to become more competitive in their sector, especially when everyone else around them is growing through technology.
With a digital mindset comes an understanding of how transformative technologies drive efficiencies and collaboration across different internal department interfaces, with suppliers and customers, and a realisation of the opportunities on offer as well as the return you can see on your investment:
- Improved decision making: From more data and better analysis, allowing resources to be focused in key areas,
- Customer acquisition: Quickly adapting to customer needs, offering easy engagement tools, offering a smooth customer journey and availability to meet 24/7 demand,
- Remain competitive: By always looking for opportunities to implement technological solutions to improve operations and stay ahead in the market,
- Greater agility: A culture of embracing change and utilising technology to drive change makes teams willing and able to adapt, resilient to change and proactive in meeting market demands,
- Improved employee effectiveness and engagement: Automating processes and taking away basic administrative tasks enables employees to focus on value-added work targets at achieving strategic goals. It can also create greater flexibility and autonomy in employees, increasing engagement.
- Build better partnerships: Utilising technology to support interactions with suppliers, distributors, partners, etc can create process efficiencies and facilitate closer working dynamics.
Return on Investment
The Federation of Small Businesses reports that improving the digital capability of SMEs has the potential to raise UK productivity by around £18.8 billion. The power of digital transformation driven by a digital mindset and the subsequent impact which this has on your business and the ROI that you can achieve cannot be understated.
Change is often scary, pushing us out of a comfort zone and into the unknown. But our own willingness at Incepteo to embrace change puts us in a good position to demonstrate to clients the benefits that can come from digital transformation, both from the technological boost to customer experience and productivity and from new ways of thinking about their business.