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The Pursuit of Digital Transformation Businesses must efficiently use technology to stay relevant and competitive

By Udit Bhambri

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David Roe from CMS Wire wrote "Digital transformation refers to the transformation of business and organizational activities, processes, competencies and models to enable organizations to use and exploit digital technologies to improve business processes and outcomes. But when talking about it, business leaders often resort to discussing IT infrastructure, technologies and applications. That is only part of the equation."

What we are seeing here are two fundamental facets; the complexity and seriousness of the direction and the current state of understanding by today's business leaders.

Rate of Change

While technology, disruption and transformation has been around for many years, the rate at which change, or adoption is occurring is faster than ever and consumers are also keeping up, physiologically and psychologically. This means that businesses must efficiently use technology to stay relevant and competitive.

While there are many moving parts and contexts, for the sake of this article, some external technologies that are making significant impact on businesses are blockchain technology, predictive consumerism, artificial intelligence, retail in the age of everything Amazon and augmented reality.

Let's unfold these a little bit;

The Blockchain

Blockchain is revolutionary because there is no interference of middlemen to facilitate transactions. Another attractive aspect of blockchain is that it is built on the system of verifiable trust that ensures transparency and correctness, among other operational efficiencies.

We have all witnessed how mining data has been able to influence elections. Similarly, for businesses, data allows for understanding and predicting, with good degree of accuracy, choices of consumers which can have direct positive impact to the bottom-line. As predictive consumerism advances there will be more tools and models that will be able to decipher choice and preferences even before a consumer actually experiences the brand.

The Artificial Intelligence

There has been much hype about how artificial intelligence or AI as its commonly known, will take away from humans. What is intriguing is that as businesses start hoarding vast amounts of data, AI technologies will be further utilised to analyise this and gain deeper competitive clarity, thereby giving many businesses a serious edge over others.

Omni-channel Marketing

Retail in the age of everything Amazon is today the norm for most of us shopper and the argument that shoppers wants to physically explore products seems meek. This is because most shoppers turn to Amazon or similar online stores for their shopping needs, giving them convenience in a click. With Amazon's takeover of Wholefoods, it's only a matter of time that we will see their dominance in controlling the offline and online retail world. They are leading the charge to truly redefining the omni-channel experience.

The Augmented Reality

Augmented reality in a word is fun, taking people into a new realm of experience and as we see it grow in popularity, will soon become the new normal! Marketing with AR is changing. As accessibility is increasing, augmented reality is moving from flashy, entertainment-based executions to more useful, utilitarian concepts that make consumers' lives easier. It will redefine the customer experience completely with the way we will engage with the world.

As business drivers there are many choices to be made when looking at business transformation and by no means is this easy. From within a business, it requires a top-down approach, compelling and clear vision, strategic alignment, shift in culture and rigorous execution. Externally, choosing the right mix of technologies is imperative.

Udit Bhambri

Country Head, VML India

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