Transformation and innovation are two terms often used synonymously but they’re not the same thing. Though, they are linked. If you’re debating digital transformation vs innovation, we’d say digital transformation is adopting technology to support your business goals (after realising the value of digitalisation). Innovation is what results from that.
Why digital innovation is important for businesses
- Enhances efficiency and productivity
- Enables cost savings
- Helps you keep ahead of customer expectations
- Helps you stay ahead of the competition
1. Enhances efficiency and productivity
High efficiency and productivity are key to business success. After all, if your organisation is spending disproportionate amounts of time on manual tasks or your machinery keeps requiring repairs, your operational costs will be much higher than they could be.
Digital innovation can boost efficiency and productivity thanks to:
- Access to valuable data. For example, insights on your machinery performance can help you see whether they’re running as they should be and you can predict potential failures
- Machine learning and AI can automate manual tasks so your team can focus on other important tasks. This also helps to reduce the chances of human error
- Cloud-based solutions. These allow for team-wide collaboration. So rather than having to manage several versions of the same document, your team can all work on the same version and make real-time edits
- A centralised system. An ERP solution, for example, integrates with multiple third-party apps and can bring data from all these sources into one location. This means you no longer need to spend time searching for information; it’s all easily accessed in one central place
2. Enables cost savings
It’s easy for businesses to enter the mindset of ‘why fix something if it isn’t broken?’ - especially if the organisation is performing well already. What if you could be performing even better? What if your machines could be running more efficiently and your teams working more productively than they currently are?
But, without innovative technology, you may not know that you’re spending more time managing your equipment and processes than you should be. Or you might know but you’re not sure exactly where you could be making improvements.
Digital innovation can help you streamline these processes and equipment performance, helping you save money in the long-run. It’s a short-term investment for long-term financial gains which just makes business sense.
3. Helps you keep ahead of customer expectations
Whether you market to B2B or B2C consumers, both parties’ expectations are constantly changing. Digital innovation has only accelerated it.
Innovation ensures you can keep up with what your consumers want and show them the exact answers/solutions to their precise questions/problems.
For example, technology can integrate customer data from multiple sources into one location so you no longer need to spend time looking for this insight. Instead, you can spend more time getting to know your customers, from their preferences and buying behaviours to problems they’re having. That valuable insight can be used to tweak your messaging, products and services to better market to customers (both potential and current).
Technology also helps keep your organisation at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Marketing automation software, for instance, can allow you to send automated emails to your customers. These emails can be personalised depending on your individual customers’ preferences (such as sales history and interactions on your website/channels) so you can always be sending out content that’s relevant to them.
The more valuable content you can provide to your customers, the more they’ll trust you, become loyal and make repeat purchases or enter a retainer contract with you.
4. Helps you stay ahead of the competition
Improving business processes and profits aren’t the only reasons digital innovation is vital. If your organisation doesn’t embrace digitalisation, you risk falling behind your competitors.
They may have decided to embark on a digital innovation project or implemented one years ago. Either way, their productivity, efficiency and profits are likely to be ahead of yours - especially as customer (potential and current) expectations are becoming increasingly aligned with the digital era.
Doing nothing because your organisation is currently doing well and you’re afraid of change is not an option.
For example, BlackBerry produced one of the first smartphones but its complacency and failure to innovate meant that it was left in the dust by Apple, Google and Samsung products.
And remember Blockbuster? The home movie and video game rental company flailed while online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime thrived. BlackBerries are still in existence (somewhere...) but Blockbuster ceased operations in 2010.
To avoid joining the ranks of companies who failed to keep pace with changing buying habits and your competition, digital innovation must be one of your top priorities.
Tip: The longer you leave it, the harder you’ll have to work to play catch up and the more difficult it can be to upgrade your systems.
There’s more to innovating your enterprise than simply choosing to digitise…
So, to recap, digital transformation is about realising the value of technology and using these solutions to improve your processes (while also ensuring they align with your business goals). After all, technology is no longer a tool that can help you go from point A to B.
What stems from that is innovation - which can transform every part of your business process, from improving efficiency and team productivity to reducing operational costs.
However, implementing new technology into your existing business processes (or in other words, a digital innovation project) is often a tedious, time-consuming and expensive task. That’s why businesses tend to be so reluctant to embark on such a journey - digital innovation projects seem to be a never-ending process.
In our guide to digital innovation, we discuss all the steps you need to consider when it comes enterprise transformation. From effective change management to choosing the right tools/software and either taking the project in-house or outsourcing it, learn more by clicking the button below.