In the early 2000s, Blockbuster was the most iconic brand in video rental worldwide. It had over 9000 stores and employed over 80,000 people across the world. In many ways, it was synonymous with video rental, and aside from the scattering of small-time ‘mom and pop’ stores, it had no real competitors.
At least, not ones it could perceive.
In 2010 Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy. Unable to see the coming changes in the digital landscape, as well as flaws in its own business model that were capitalized on by competitors, it struggled to remain profitable, then died.
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Ironically, its most lethal new competitor, Netflix, approached the business in the year 2000 to discuss a partnership. It was laughed out of the room as a ‘small, failing business.’
But far from being isolated to Blockbuster, this story is true of Polaroid, Toys R Us, Kodak, and countless others.
And there’s a lesson to each:
What does it mean to embrace digital adoption?
You might have no idea what digital adoption is. Digital adoption is where your enterprise grasps digital technologies, tools, and assets and begins to use them to the full breadth of their abilities. This is not to be confused with digital transformation which is about changing certain operations so that they stay in line with the rapidly advancing digital world.
You may be using digital tools at the moment but not using them in a way that has them positively interacting with your business to their fullest extent. For example, your enterprise may have a strong social media marketing push, and as part of that be using management tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule posts. This may be useful, but if you were to combine it with extensive keyword research, complete automation across your content, in-depth analysis of your audience engagement, and utilizing team collaboration functions, you’d have a much stronger idea of how effective and efficient you and your team were being.
In layman’s terms then, digital adoption is the art of learning how to get the most out of any digital technology that you use.
Why embrace digital adoption?
There has never been a better time to embrace digital adoption. The trend of moving to the digital world is far from over, and in fact, most authorities in the field consider that technology growth is and will continue to be exponential.
Increasingly, consumers are becoming more familiar with using digital technologies to speak to one another, exchange money, buy goods, find entertainment, store data, and educate themselves. In short, digital technology is a crucial and integral part of their lives. This means when it comes to your business, your customers anticipate a digital service that is fast, easy, and secure.
The companies who have embraced digital adoption solutions have seen notable results:
Walmart’s adoption of big data analytics has allowed it to better understand its customer’s decision making, and, as a result, remain competitive with digital giants like Amazon. One study by SAP found that 80% of companies who had embraced digital adoption saw increased profits, and 85% of leaders in digital space increased their market share.
The reality of digital adoption
Despite this, many businesses are slow to embrace digital adoption, leading them to lag behind competitors who are keeping pace with consumer expectations. And there are some key reasons for this.
Many digital tools come with sophisticated UX / UI that employees find difficult to use without extensive training. There’s also a significant number of software platforms that are both available and used by companies to perform certain functions. This can lead employees to be overwhelmed, especially when combined with a lack of training, and general resistance to change. This is especially true in the case of B2B software where the UX is often far less refined than its B2C cousin, leading to a difficult, uphill learning curve.
Likewise, there are challenges on the consumer front. While the attention economy seems to have reached its limits, it still demands that digital technologies are not only fully adopted in order to remain competitive, but it also demands that companies find innovative ways to engage with users attention.
Epic Games, through their flagship title Fortnite, remain competitive with streaming services like Netflix by utilizing a television-style season of content scheduling, and by creating, first and foremost, a digital ‘social world’ for gamers to hang out with their friends. This is an example of taking existing technology and leveraging innovative creative techniques to enhance its appeal to the consumer. However, it’s also a demonstration of just how essential this approach is.
Digital adoption gives your enterprise a significant competitive advantage
Successful digital adoption isn’t just important, it’s essential. Through overcoming the hurdles of resistance, employee training, and tackling the issues of providing a unique and engaging UX, you can drive your business in ways that keep you in line with consumers, and ahead of your competition.
This is a difficult process, often involving buy-in from your entire company, not just the key stakeholders. Although you all might champion a certain platform, it remains the case that 80% of employees will use unauthorized applications that they feel to be the most comfortable. But if you can drive digital adoption, you can begin to use tools such as big data, to their fullest extent, and as a result, allow your business to reach its full potential.
This puts you in a position where, unlike Blockbuster, you’re reacting to the reality of the market as it happens, by embracing the digital changes that are occurring.