According to a study conducted by the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, up to 45 percent of C-level executives don’t consider digital disruption (game-changing technological innovation) to be an issue that merits the attention of board-level employees. Only a quarter of respondents said they were actively preparing to handle the phenomenon, which experts suggest will impact the profits and market standings of almost 33 percent of top-20 companies across every industry in just a few years.
This is about more than just keeping up with the competition, though. The rate of technological progress has made this issue much larger in scale. While going digital may be an intimidating prospect, creating and applying a digital plan now may mean the difference between the survival and failure of your company later. Executives need to think seriously about digitizing their own companies for the following reasons:
1. Because we’re already facing a shortage of digital leaders
Your standard IT team is no longer capable of making all choices about technological implementation, because the subject no longer only affects them. By next year, analysts predict that the chief marketing officer of a company will require a larger IT budget than the chief information officer. Additionally, CIO’s now have such a significant amount of work to do that their expertise is required for too many areas of business at one time. Technologies and ideas that would help a company stay relevant in the face of disruptive competitors are already starting to fall through the cracks.
Leading a digital overhaul of your company means creating a solid foundation to build on as innovative advancements affect your industry. Researching and adopting the latest digital practices for your business now means less risk in the future. Executives who choose to stick with outdated business practices until they are forced to change will struggle to stay afloat when surrounded by more innovative companies.
2. Because going digital is going to save you money
You can automate most day-to-day business tasks, thereby freeing up the time of employees who could be refocused to accomplish more important jobs. Additionally, many outdated business practices, like keeping paper records, require more funds to produce, more time to create, and more space to store. Going digital through electronic records and automation practices helps your company to do more things using fewer resources.
Digitizing your firm is also a cost-effective way to inspire the best work out of your employees. With the right people in place, new technologies will help skilled employees work faster, smarter, and more creatively. They will also create a deeper level of communication between workers. For example, advanced collaboration tools can lead to the quick spread of concepts between employees, increasing the speed at which tasks can be accomplished, thus cutting costs and driving progress.
3. Because it makes you look capable
In the best-case scenario, those companies that don’t make the necessary changes to equip themselves for the digital revolution will appear “late to the party,” scrambling to catch up to more digitally-savvy companies. The leading firms of today that don’t align their practices to accommodate a digital future will also appear to be a less reliable choice for consumers. This can have a heavy impact on a company’s bottom line.
Convert to digital practices increases your firm’s adaptability, which is essential to the future of all businesses. Adaptability includes the capacity for experimentation, the management of complex systems, the ability to recognize and act on signals of change, and a fluidity of business structure that allows people within a company to use their talents to the best of their abilities.
Companies will want to work with other companies that have the potential to deftly navigate unforeseen issues, and customers will always want to buy from companies that offer them the most modern products.
4. Because the digital revolution is not going away
Big claims about technological developments that will bring major changes to the economy are nothing new. It’s understandable that many business leaders are skeptical about making significant changes to adapt to a movement that has yet reach its tipping point.
However, the truth of the matter is that the digital revolution is only gaining momentum, and its effects are here to stay. While computers were initially considered to be novelty items, today they are essential components in nearly every aspect of our lives. Social media has altered the way that people connect and relate to each other and to businesses, computerized data collection has allowed companies new, deeper insight into what drives consumers, and cloud computing has vastly expanded our capacity for storing and processing that data.
Forward-thinking executives who want to see their companies flourish would do well to push past the intimidation of going digital and take the plunge. In this technologically advanced information age, the only real risk is not taking one.