Ask a variety of companies of different sizes in different sectors to define what digital transformation means for them and you will, in all likelihood, receive many divergent responses.
Customers and times are changing, and business must keep apace with those changes. Whilst it is an undeniable fact that in the post-covid world, companies have to embrace new ways of doing business, it is also true that many have not been successful in their migration from paper, bricks and mortar, face to face customer services and other ‘analogue’ functions and as a consequence are struggling to compete in today’s ‘brave new world’.
Digitisation of a company’s processes is not a single issue that can be addressed by an internal IT department that may itself have been left behind by the speed of the digital transformation that the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated. Digital migration requires a reinvention of the business and all its processes, both internal and external – from streamlining human resource procedures to financial structures and stakeholder and customer interaction points.
Key to the successful transformation of a company to more digital functionality is the capacity and training of staff, soliciting inputs to changes from all stakeholders and constantly benchmarking and reviewing new processes with other equivalent enterprises and global best practices.
The selection of a partner that is fully conversant in all the technical, legal and human implications of digitisation and that can take a holistic view of a business’s long-term needs is imperative in a company’s digital transformation journey. Working in the fintech space, e4 ensures that the digitisation of processes and procedures is seamless and efficient and meets the needs of the company and its customer.
Whatever your core business, even if it feels far from anything requiring digital capability, the fact is that it in all probability it does. Whether it is an online ecommerce site, streamlining of logistical operations, migration of customer service functions from call centre to one that is remote, and ‘bot’ operated, business needs to embrace change.
It is essential, when implementing digital transformation strategies, that at the centre of all companies’ functions is always the customer be it internal or external. Consumers are increasingly demanding low or no touch engagements and so those companies that are able to deliver outstanding user experiences on a variety of platforms will retain a competitive edge. Companies that are fast, agile and responsive will stay relevant and be preferred over competitors whose digitisation journey is slow and cumbersome.
Whilst some of this capability for digital transformation lies within companies’ IT departments, it is to specialised service providers that companies should look to be guided to create holistic digital migration processes which are ever evolving. It is not enough simply to transfer an analogue or manual process that was inefficient into an equally inefficient digital one. This is the time for businesses to totally rethink their overall functions, take the opportunity to overhaul old practices and replace them with digitised tools that deliver step change value. Organisations need to focus on the value derived from digital enablement, not the technology that underpins this value creation.
Most financial services related enterprises have established digital transformation as a key strategic agenda item at least over the short to medium term. Whilst certain institutions continue to build these capabilities internally, many more have seen the advantage of partnering with specialists in the multiple areas encapsulated by fintech industry players.
What is certain is that digital is here to stay. It is fast paced and is driven by tech-enabled customers looking for tech-enabled solutions to suit their needs. Businesses need to be on board with digitisation and to look to the future if they plan to be around in the years to come.
By: Grant Phillips, Group CEO of fintech specialist e4