Most business leaders are familiar with the concept of digital disruption—a subset of innovative disruption, or a new tool that changes the rules of an industry and how the market operates. In the case of digital disruption, that tool is technology itself. Businesses who keep pace with digital transformation can safeguard against a crushing tide of forward-focused competition.
Shifting your business toward virtualization is a great way to stay in the game, but the future of the business world isn’t going to be shaped by small waves. We’re nearing volatile shifts in technology that are going to create massive disruptions in many industries. Every new digital advance creates pressure in a market, and the companies that adapt the fastest are the ones that will succeed.
Know that Being Quick Isn’t Enough
In today’s rapidly changing market, it’s not enough to simply be receptive to changes and willing to adapt—you need to shift into high gear and start thinking about how to transform your organization into a high-velocity business. Lean business has been gaining traction in recent years: Cut away the excess to create the most efficient organization possible. This is a great stepping stone on the path to major change.
Digital transformation doesn’t mean much without a clear goal and visible value to the business. To withstand major changes in your industry and the ways you do business, eschew a reactive mindset and start making moves to empower your company for years to come.
One of the best ways to do this is by reassessing your company culture, and determining which walls can be broken down to encourage more collaboration and make a leaner, more efficient organization. To do so, evaluate your use of technology in each department:
Back-office operations. The back-office must be streamlined through the use of technology, with all business processes as efficient as possible, so your IT professionals are no longer mundane problem-solvers. Your IT department needs to be a driving force in your company. With the right automation tools and cloud solutions, you can eliminate many of the banal tasks eating up time and money, and your IT team can focus on rolling out new implementations.
Sales and marketing. Extend your digital reach by incorporating the newest technologies, such as big data analytics and cloud solutions. Social media presence is crucial in today’s marketplace – customers want to see the human side of businesses and maintaining an engaging presence is vital to maintaining relevancy. These pursuits will work toward preparing your business for any major shifts in the market or technological breakthroughs.
Forge Your Own Solutions
The trend toward digital transformation is indicative of the speed at which technology evolves, but it also shows that new technology is going to outpace this trend, and companies that adapt to change early are going to have a major advantage. Reactive companies that are slower to transform digitally are going to wind up repeating the same mistakes. By the time they figure out and implement a new piece of tech, the competition has already moved on to the next big thing. The gap between the innovators willing to take risks and organizations that “play it safe” or are slow to adopt new technologies is going to widen greatly in the coming years.
Employ Selective Adoption and Spend Wisely
New technology tends to have a bandwagon effect. A new piece of software or application launches and businesses scramble to implement it. In some cases, it’s a valuable asset and the earliest adopters reap the biggest returns. Other times, the hype is overblown and those who were slower on the uptake learn from the mistakes of those who jumped at the new toy first.
Selective adoption is crucial—you can’t afford to pounce on each new trend and flashy application. Carefully assess what value a new implementation would have for your organization. If the margin is slim or difficult to measure, it may be better to investigate alternatives rather than waste time trying to force something to work.
Bolstering inter-organizational collaboration is a fantastic method for future-proofing your company. When you tear down traditional departmental silos and get more hands on board when assessing new projects, it becomes easier to see how a new implementation will affect the company as a whole. It’s also much easier to assess the potential value of such a project. Stop reacting to new trends. Instead, create a forward-focused company culture. Doing so will build your company’s momentum enough to keep pace with the changes coming at hyper-speed down the road.
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Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.