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Business in the digital age: How does your business stack up?
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Business in the digital age: How does your business stack up?

The pace of technology change is relentless in today’s world and continues to impact businesses in all sectors. With these technologies becoming commonplace across all sectors and all parts of a business’s operations, implementing digital technology can give companies an edge.

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However, this edge is dependent on how well digital technology is integrated, how quickly businesses can adapt and deliver tangible business value.

Our analysis, which is detailed in the report and summarised in this article, shows there are different personas that emerge when it comes to the challenge of bringing more digital technology into a business.

What does Digital really mean for my business?

Understanding what digital means to business and how it’s implemented is a critical first step in identifying opportunities for change. For the study, we identified five focus areas for businesses when it comes to digital capability:

  • digital marketing
  • digital customer experiences
  • analytics and customer insights
  • operational excellence
  • experimentation and innovation.

Our research, based on these focus areas, revealed two archetypes that explain how business owners approach digital in their business – the “Digitally Lost” and the “Digitally Confident”. The Digitally Lost are leaders who are unfamiliar with and lacking confidence and knowledge about digital and how it can be used in their business. In contrast, the Digitally Confident are leaders who have found meaning and clarity in what digital means for their business.

What can help me understand why I think of Digital differently to others?

Our analysis shows there are specific personas when it comes to the challenge of bringing more digital technology into a business. These personas have been designed to help you better understand:

  • your starting point when it comes to understanding how to use digital technology in your business
  • how to measure your relative level of confidence and ambition, relative to being Digitally Lost or Digitally Confident
  • the typical challenges, struggles and confusion related to digital transformation.

The four personas we identified in our research are:

  • The Novice: Leaders within organisations that currently have an incomplete or limited understanding of current digital technologies.
  • The Option Seeker: Leaders within organisations that have made some sense of their world and industry and have a mental map of the technology options that exist for their industry and business. These people typically don’t have a technology background.
  • The Mover: Leaders with a clear understanding and focus in their minds about the use of digital technology in their business, with clearly defined expectations on business benefits.
  • The Warrior: Leaders that rate highly in confidence and ambition. The Warrior typically understands what technologies are relevant and useful to support, enable and realise business objectives.

How do you become a “Digital Warrior”?

To have a technology-enabled edge, business owners and leaders in the middle market need to work towards becoming “Digital Warriors”. Through our research, we identified five key steps that will help companies strengthen their digital capabilities:

  1. Understand your business strategy first, identifying where to play and how to win.
  2. Understand the landscape of what is going on and monitor emerging trends and develop success scenarios for the business.
  3. Have a clear value proposition and create a digital strategy to enable and support execution.
  4. Orchestrate the technology you need, and ask yourself, “Do I really need to build and own it?”.
  5. Create the right structure to allow experimentation and simultaneously track value to ensure capital investment is controlled.

Understanding your business’s current approach to technology and where it needs to be in the future to be competitive is possible through using the steps above. Further, ensuring your company has the culture and a digital roadmap to support the long-term benefits of introducing new technologies across the business is critical.

As outlined in one of the case studies included in the report, fashion wholesaler Caroline K Morgan (CKM) progressed its digital capabilities by transitioning their sales channels from predominantly bricks and mortar clothing boutiques to digital channels. The rapid change in the market and customer expectations across different channels prompted CKM to experiment and trial new ways to reach their customers. This resulted in the launch and continued development of their digital platform to enhance their wholesale business. The platform has provided the business with different go-to-market channels to access customers. More importantly, it has given the company valuable market intelligence and greater insights into local and international industry trends.

What is the value of Digital in my business?

Digital transformation can give businesses competitive advantages in a constantly changing marketplace. COVID-19 pushed the world into prioritising digital and adapting to a digital first way of thinking. This means building new digital capabilities (e.g. digital marketing and eCommerce), if you have not prioritised this previously.

We detailed the importance of being proactive in a case study outlining Judo Bank’s success in using technology to create a modern, adaptive and highly secure platform. A key factor in Judo Bank’s successful use of technology in driving the business forward was having a team with the right skills and knowledge. Further, the bank’s nimble nature and focus on innovation from the start means there are high levels of flexibility and adaptability across the organisation, which allows the business to quickly change their technology to meet the needs of the market.

Moving forward: Develop a digital strategy to transform your business

Having a digital transformation strategy allows you to create a plan for how you will drive value from new capabilities in your business. This plan will help you to create a Digital Roadmap, ensuring your investment in transformation creates results as soon as possible.

As outlined in the report, we encourage businesses to develop a Digital Strategy, which incorporates the following key steps:

  1. Digital capability review.
  2. Conduct an integrated strategy and digital session to uncover what opportunities are available to your business.
  3. Ensure opportunities and solutions are focused on driving value, revenue, and cost benefits to your business.

The digital landscape is constantly evolving. This can leave businesses feeling that it’s too late to realise the commercial benefits of technology. Defining your business’s maturity and appetite for digital transformation will provide a starting point for long-term change and continuous improvement.

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This content is general commentary only and does not constitute advice. Before making any decision or taking any action in relation to the content, you should consult your professional advisor. To the maximum extent permitted by law, neither Pitcher Partners or its affiliated entities, nor any of our employees will be liable for any loss, damage, liability or claim whatsoever suffered or incurred arising directly or indirectly out of the use or reliance on the material contained in this content. Pitcher Partners is an association of independent firms. Pitcher Partners is a member of the global network of Baker Tilly International Limited, the members of which are separate and independent legal entities. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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