Among the many ways that COVID-19 impacted our lives is by drastically accelerating the rate of digital transformation. According to McKinsey, industries progressed their digital transformation by about 7 years in just the first few months of the pandemic, forced to adopt new solutions that enable employees to work remotely, customers to make contact-free purchases, and executives to track business goals, processes, and challenges at a distance.
Businesses have no choice but to continue the digital technologies they’ve already introduced, but we seem to have reached a crossroads. Will your company keep on pursuing digital technologies as they evolve and develop further, finding new innovations that improve the business? Or will it be content to consolidate those changes that have already been initiated, without raising the digital bar?
If you’re still undecided, here are some reasons why your enterprise is likely to suffer if it doesn’t keep its foot on the gas pedal of digital transformation.
Effective cybersecurity doesn’t stand still
The newest digital cybersecurity tools employ machine learning (ML) to detect emerging threats and neutralize them before they attack, as well as to power automated reconfiguration that stays a step ahead of hackers. Halting your digital cybersecurity transformation in its tracks means abandoning the extra protection these tools can provide.
Additionally, if most other enterprises are using advanced threat detection and prevention, your network will appear even more attractive to hackers looking for an easy pass.
Sometimes stopping halfway is even worse than never having begun. The newest digital programs often don’t integrate well with legacy infrastructure, opening up loopholes which hackers are quick to exploit. Digital workflows tend to send more data packets back and forth between on-prem servers and cloud-based advanced analytics, leaving them vulnerable to interception. But adopting edge computing, and thus moving your digital transformation on another pace, can help harden your attack surface by removing the need to send data to the cloud.
Competitive companies keep ahead of the digital curve
It’s impossible to expect the digital transformation to advance this far and no further. With or without you, the tech will keep on evolving, producing new tools that use deep learning (DL), ML, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), connected machines, internet of things (IoT), and more, for multiple business use cases.
If you don’t explore and apply the potential of the next new digital transformation application, your competition will, and you can kiss your competitive edge goodbye. For example, you might be enjoying your new automated data collection protocols and business intelligence tools, but other companies are already using predictive analytics, AR diagnostics, and automated configuration.
Improved digital technologies are increasingly using AI and ML to get ahead of fluctuating customer demands and rising trends. Those executives that use the full potential of new digital analytics can make more accurate data-driven business decisions to prepare to meet emerging opportunities, avert or mitigate nascent threats, and stay one step ahead of the competition.
Consumer expectations are constantly evolving
The number of consumers using food delivery apps, online banking portals, and digital payment solutions skyrocketed when we were under lockdown orders and/or trying to avoid infection risks. They have no intention of going back to their pre-digital lives.
Most B2B and B2C customers alike already take it for granted that you’ll provide on-demand, personalized digital experiences, and they won’t accept it if you frustrate their expectations. They’ve grown accustomed to the customized product suggestions and connected customer experiences that ecommerce companies deliver, and look for nothing less from all their other interactions.
But their expectations won’t stop here. The tech that feels exciting and cutting edge today will soon be nothing more than what’s expected, so companies will have to keep on driving their digital transformation further to continue to meet customer expectations.
Additionally, customers across the board look for a connected, unified customer experience that feels like a single conversation, even if they have to cross more than one agent, channel, and/or touchpoint in the course of it. Only digital transformation can power that kind of customer support.
Employees look for digital innovation
It’s worth remembering that your employees are also consumers. They’ve tasted the possibilities of connected, customized, on-demand portals, and they want the same kind of ease of use in their working lives as in their personal lives. Digital tools like automated time tracking, streamlined project management, and asynchronous communication are only the beginning.
Today’s top young talent wants to be part of the most cutting edge and innovative companies around, regardless of the vertical. If you want to attract them, you’ll need to be able to show that your digital transformation is an ongoing process rather than a box-ticking event. They want new and better tools to make remote work smoother and more connected.
On top of that, all employees want opportunities to grow and develop their skills both personally and professionally. If they can’t find the challenges and growth options they seek at your organization, they’ll move elsewhere. Emerging digital innovations like AI-powered training simulations, VR role playing, and smart talent marketplaces help employers to provide those opportunities and hold onto their best employees.
There’s no turning back from the digital transformation quest
Enterprises that approach digital transformation as a one-and-done experience, perhaps something forced upon them by COVID-19, are quickly going to see their mistakes. Consumer expectations, employee demands, business strategy needs, and cybersecurity requirements can only be met by organizations that don’t just consolidate their changes thus far, but continue to pursue new digital transformation opportunities.