What Small Businesses Need to Know About Digital Transformation and Disruption
Although a small business's digital transformation may not be as large an undertaking as it would be for a big corporation, it is every bit as significant.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Although a small or medium-sized business's digital transformation may not be as large an undertaking as it would be for a big corporation, it is every bit as significant.
Some small businesses think their size creates some kind of immunity when it comes to digitalization. They assume, because they are "small," they don't need to undergo a digital transformation to maintain a solid book of business. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Digitalization is changing everything about life today – from consumer purchasing to how we conduct business. As more devices become connected to the Internet, more brands have started to create content and customer connections that cater to the buyer no matter where they are. And In today's market, every company is now responsible for living up to the "anywhere, everywhere" consumer expectation.
Digital transformation and disruption
Digital transformation refers to the company decision to deliver that seamless digital experience to consumers and to maintain an evolving customer relationship with new platforms and solutions. In practice, it means using data-driven analytics to get a better understanding of a target market, and then using that information to digitalize the internal and external processes to cater to the needs of the consumer.
Related: With Videos and Visuals Rising on Social Media, Data Mining Is Also Increasing
The result of digital transformations may or may not be considered a digital disruption. Digital disruptions are the larger phenomena that take place in society and change the way people do things in their daily lives. Mobile banking, for instance, might be considered a digital disruption. It provides value to the customer and changes the way people work, but it also is a concept that revolutionized an industry. A software update probably wouldn't be a digital disruption but any digital tool that is ultimately driven by consumer need could be considered one. As a small business, you may be affected by digital disruption, and you may have the opportunity to cause one -- or both.
Transforming your small business
Your company's digital transformation may not look like another company's. A transformation isn't about adopting every trend in the marketplace. Rather, it is a fundamental change in your business that adds value to the customer experience.
For example, going mobile may be a key part of your company's transformation. More people access their mobile devices before making a purchase than they do a desktop or laptop. Companies that successfully digitalize their businesses make sure that responsive web design creates a seamless experience on every device a consumer might use. It fundamentally changes the way your consumers interact with your brand, transforming your business from a legacy enterprise to a digitalized company.
Related: 3 Big Data Roadblocks and How to Tackle Them
Although a small or medium-sized business's digital transformation may not be as large an undertaking as it would be for a big corporation, it is every bit as significant. Digital transformation is vital for enterprise survival and growth.
Start making changes and ask for guidance and feedback from existing customers as well as employees who interact with customers on a daily basis. By focusing on the customer experience, you can make the digital changes necessary to streamline your business interactions online and in-store.
Once your company has made key digital changes, remember that the process is ongoing. Encourage innovation in your business and strive to evolve with the digital world in real time. Technology isn't slowing down and businesses that stay relevant will have to keep up with the changing tides. Reach your customers by staying technologically current. Keep them by remembering what sets your brand apart.
Related: 5 Ways Startups Can Leverage Big Data for a Competitive Advantage