November 22, 2017
Digital has disrupted – is your business ready?
A digital business is one that operates by integrating digital technology with traditional tools and processes, for optimal efficiency and customer experience. These businesses leverage digital technology to gain competitive advantage across operations. Digital businesses also have different mindsets, methodologies, and approaches to growth and change, incorporated into organisational structure.
What a digital business is not
Hesitant to experiment – Digital businesses recognise and embrace the ability to experiment, they do not shirk in fear of the unknown and approach every external threat as a new opportunity to grow. Waiting to see who does it right does not fit into the mantra of a digital business mindset.
Reactive to change – Digital businesses do not let internal policies slow down evolution or change, rather they embrace it. They champion change and ensure their company is structured in a way that can quickly adapt to changing environments.
A technology-first business – Not every digital business is heavily invested in technology, many instead look for opportunities to leverage technologies to enhance how they serve their customers, or improve their products, as the customer experience is top of mind for their business-level decision making.
Characteristics of a digital business
So what characteristics would typically define a ‘digital business’? It is not the approach to technology, rather, it is in the mindset and approach to customers, innovation and organisational structure.
A Customer First Mindset – Digital businesses adapt to changes in consumer behaviour. They take an agnostic approach to ensuring that whatever the business does, it aligns with the consumer’s interests (on a macro level). By challenging ideas with thoughts such as “is this what the consumer wants?”, a business obtains a better understanding of how to serve their customers.
Constant Evolution – A true digital business doesn’t stay in one place for long. Through dedicated teams that embrace change and see the unknowns and the new knowns as opportunities, digital businesses are constantly scanning the horizon.
Unified Operations – Digital businesses utilise the opportunity to converge departments that have traditionally been isolated or segregated, and achieve unification through technology. One big pain point of traditional businesses is the slow pace of rolling out change with many different departments and stakeholders.
Example of a digital business
There are a few businesses that have undergone significant digital transformation. For example, when Sam Zivot joined Lorna Jane in 2010 as the company’s Digital Strategist, he took on the responsibility of developing an online community that helped shape and transform the business’s approach to digital. Now, Lorna Jane has a heavy focus on unifying digital marketing, suppliers and agency relationships to improve the brand’s ecommerce channels and conversions, drive traffic and revenue, and explore new and emerging marketing opportunities. Jessie Dean, the current Digital Marketing Manager for Lorna Jane, has said in a past interview:
“I think the most exciting part about working in digital is all of the opportunities. There’s constantly new technology coming to market and I’m very fortunate to work with a brand that’s so open to trying new ideas.”
This highlights Lorna Jane’s new approach to digital, which is to constantly scan the horizon and look for new opportunities.