Looking Ahead to 2017: Digital Transformation

Navjot Singh, Content and Editorial Manager at The Knowledge Engineers by AVADO
Navjot Singh, Content and Editorial Manager at The Knowledge Engineers by AVADO

We like to hear what our members think about the hottest issues of the day. Here, Navjot Singh, Content and Editorial Manager at The Knowledge Engineers by AVADO, offers his thoughts on why digital transformation is important.

It is becoming increasingly clear that humanity is going through a major digital transformation—which is shifting the way we live and work. There are a few clear indicators that the mobile-first world we’re currently embracing is contributing to this shift, particularly the rapid rise in the number of monthly active users (MAUs) of popular social platforms. For example, Facebook amassed 1.80 billion MAUs in the third quarter of 2016. Additionally, EMarketer predicts that by 2019, mobile ad-spend will rise to $65.49 billion, or nearly 70 percent of total digital ad-spend and close to 29 percent of total media spending. We shouldn’t fail to take advantage of the trends that come with these figures.

Earlier this year, when I attended the Cannes Lions 2016 event for creativity and innovation, I had a conversation with Jez Frampton, the CEO of Interbrand. We discussed how crucial it is for all of us to embrace digital. Frampton spoke about an inspiring piece he had read regarding mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in Harvard Business Review. The article reported that 75 percent of all acquisitions fail, in part because they don’t generate added value for shareholders. The primary reason so many acquisitions fail is due to culture; and as Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

Coincidentally, the numbers are similar when it comes to digital transformation: 75 percent of digital transformation’s efforts don’t succeed. So, there’s no transformation and you don’t end up digital.

The key to success is people, not technology

People are the essential ingredient when it comes to adapting to digital transformation. There are some common learnings to take away from these conversations: You must start within an organisation or group, and really understand how they operate before you have any hope of creating any cultural change where people will embrace digital.

Getting people of all levels, irrespective of the amount of previous digital exposure they’ve had, to embrace digital technologies requires an agile approach—particularly when it comes to everyday living: How we shop, book holidays or bank. The key point being: If we don’t embrace digital, we will fall behind.

Preparing for big changes ahead

Digital trends—such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and data and content marketing—play big roles in how digital transformation is shaping today’s lifestyles. Google, Snapchat and Facebook predict that these technologies will impact our lives going forward. And, we’ve already been introduced to the latest ecommerce trends, like Amazon Go. The real-world grocery store has no checkout process; you just grab what you want, leave and the order posts to your Amazon account afterwards. Experts agree that Amazon Go looks very much like the future of retail, however it hasn’t fully been put into practice (Although, a similar concept was predicted by IBM in the early 2000s).

Digital transformation is occurring through the evolution of customer experiences, business models and operational processes. With this in mind, companies and individuals need to incorporate the digital future into their business vision and objectives.

Countries like China—which has become a mobile-first culture in the past 30 years (as opposed to the West, which grew up as a PC-operated culture)—are at an advantage, in terms of blazing the digital trail. And, with good reason. WeChat, China’s number one mobile app, is a good example. Once users download the app, they can do anything and everything from their mobile device—including banking, booking holidays, paying bills, shopping, watching movies and more. And, since users can do everything easily with just one app, which is connected to both the user’s mobile number and bank account(s), there’s no need for numerous other apps.

As we prepare to welcome 2017, many experts in the digital industry are saying 2016 was the year of tech education–and 2017 will be the year of tech application. We’re going through a unique revolution and the times are changing (fast!). Digital and mobile are no longer about business support; they now drive businesses.

There are five key reasons why digital transformation is important:

  1. It allows agencies to communicate effectively at speed and drive real results.
  2. It leads to a great lift in client engagement and experience.
  3. Client satisfaction can be improved by transforming business activities through digital channels (for example: customer service and ease of doing business with you).
  4. The more digital you or your agency becomes, the higher your digital traffic. Digital transformation holds the key to attracting and retaining new and existing clients respectively.
  5. Lead generation can increase, as more clients embrace the digital transformation concept

Want to learn more about how an agency can benefit from digital transformation? Join Nick New, Managing Director of The Knowledge Engineers by AVADO, across eight brief, but powerful, webinars starting December 14 . You’ll get access to comprehensive curriculum and learn key skills around digital.