The world has a strong history of revolution — industrial revolutions, that is. This time around, the driving force for change is not how to do things faster or more efficiently. Instead, Industry 4.0 is all about collaboration between intelligently connected things. Artificial intelligence, deep learning, sensors, and devices, as well as human interaction, are driving change, but what is really surprising is that not only are partners collaborating but that competitors are doing the same. This era of diverse teams and things working in concert is paving the way for entirely new digital strategies and opportunities, and businesses are lining up to take part in co-creation with others.
Today, it’s nearly essential to wait for a perfected digital strategy before you launch a new initiative. Instead, it’s important that all leaders are empowered to allow their teams to creatively work together to drive transformation — even as they’re still hammering out the details on the plan. While this approach can feel uncomfortable for some individuals, encouraging critical leadership to accelerate change will support a more fluid strategy that can weather the changes on the horizon. Many digital strategies are multi-year, but with the speed of change in today’s business and technology world, that timing is difficult if not impossible to sustain. By the time a strategy is fully-executed, the technology and customer needs are likely to have changed significantly. If your leaders are not allowed to be creative and nimble in responding to customer needs, you’ll find that your business is left behind while smaller and more flexible competitors gain market share.
Driving Sustainable Innovation
Today’s organizations thrive by being able to adapt to change, but it’s important that change is introduced sustainably to limit staff frustration and a feeling of overwhelm. Technology is evolving at a breakneck pace in all directions, but that doesn’t mean your organization needs to follow all the various trails. Instead, look for ways that you can drive sustainable innovation throughout your company — or things that will provide unique value to your customers or to your employees. For a consumer packaged goods company, this could mean a new production methodology that involves IoT (Internet of Things) as a way to interact more efficiently on the production line while skipping an update that allows you real-time interaction with customers. Although it might be really cool to be able to engage with their clients on a real-time basis to see how they’re using your products, you may receive a bigger bang for your buck with an updated production mechanism. Sustainable innovation means having the focus to see which particular changes will drive your organization forward, and which may be simply distractions.
Embracing Customer Connectivity
Customers today are more vocal than ever, but is your organization able to welcome and hear what they’re saying? Social listening tools and advanced sentiment analysis can provide valuable insight into the direction your business should shift to keep up with changing customer needs. It’s no longer enough to launch an annual customer survey on the state of your business; instead, you should be continually gathering feedback via surveys, direct response questions and through your customer service department. Advanced CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools allow you to link together interactions with individuals clients to form an omnichannel representation of their interaction with your brand.
Becoming a Learning Organization
Doing things the way they’ve always been done is no longer an option if your business wants to remain competitive. The world is changing with incredible rapidity, and the only way to hope to keep up us to becoming a learning organization. Host regular learning opportunities for your teams, and encourage other leaders and workers to do the same. Reach out to vendor partners and even competitors to see what you can learn from each other. This could be as simple as requesting that your teams find new mobile apps from competitors and test them out to see what they could learn, to as complex as creating testbeds within your organization.
Impact to Digital
Digital platforms are also shifting, but the beauty of cloud-based computing is that your business may be able to take advantage of the latest and greatest technology without a massive upfront capital investment. With ongoing software license costs going down, and constant upgrades becoming the norm, the impact to digital is significant but not overwhelming. Think how challenging it may be to your business to have to completely replace your organization’s core operating software every 18 months? What about if you could simply receive continual, smaller updates that get you new functionality on an ongoing basis instead? The difference between a steady and gentle infusion of new tech versus a massive upheaval to your business with a new platform is often appealing to small- to medium-sized businesses.
There is no one-size-fits-all digital strategy, but there are ways that your organization can continue to grow by listening to your customers, being thoughtful in your interactions, and never forgetting how to learn. As platforms gain complexity on the backend, customers are looking for a simple solution — which can be incredibly difficult to deliver in a meaningful way online. At C.D.'s IT Consulting LLC, we actively look for ways to support your Indianapolis organization in your digital transformation goals. Contact us today via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call our professional team at (317) 522-1362 ext 2.