Harnessing the Power of Technology
Darren Miller | Georgia Oak Partners | June 16, 2020
If Covid-19 has done anything positive for businesses, it has forced them to rethink business as usual strategies and realize the benefits of fast-tracking digital transformation. Out of sheer necessity, technological advancements we’ve been considering for nearly a decade were kicked into high gear in an effort to remain competitive, and in some cases, simply stay afloat.
While companies that implemented digitization strategies prior to the pandemic were better positioned to maintain operations with minimal disruption, companies that are just now jumping on the digital bandwagon are reaping plenty of benefits as well, including finding themselves ahead of the competitive curve.
What is Digitization:
In Gartner’s IT Glossary, digitization is defined as the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.
However, this begs the question: what is a digital business? In essence, digital businesses use technology and digitalization processes to create new value in business models, customer experiences and the internal capabilities that support its core operations.
With technology moving from a supporting player to a leading player in innovation, we’re seeing more businesses evolve into digital businesses with a focus on the competitive advantages that technology provides. Whether it’s digitally transforming processes to reduce overhead or working to improve value to customers, businesses are relying on digitalization to remain competitive, differentiate themselves, and as a means to survive post-pandemic.
Technological Advancements Reshape Growth
New technologies are transforming the world of business in a myriad of ways. And the transformation has just begun. Successful companies are reorienting their entire business model around technology while finding clever ways to incorporate automation into business development, customer experiences, marketing, and other business processes to capitalize on and maximize the long-term value.
According to the 2020 Manufacturing Industry Outlook, the coming year promises to challenge manufacturers as they attempt to regain their foothold amidst continued volatility in costs and policy decisions. However, there is growth on the horizon for manufacturers that position themselves for the year ahead with greater agility. Manufacturing leaders should increase resilience in their operations by building “digital muscle” across areas like their supply chain, mobilizing partnerships to drive business goals and leaning into corporate social responsibility.
COVID-19 has exposed the vulnerabilities of the modern supply chain. Although supply chains have been building resiliency by facing tariffs, focusing on environmental sustainability and responding to evolving consumer expectations, the pandemic still put them to the test.
With powerful lessons to be learned in the wake of the crisis, experts agree that diverse sourcing and digitization will be the key to building stronger, smarter supply chains and ensuring a lasting recovery. Another important step toward future resilience is supply chain mapping – documenting the exact source of every material, process, and shipment involved in bringing goods to market.
Organizations that had the foresight to map their supply chain prior to COVID-19 are emerging with better visibility and mobility to secure inventory at alternate sites. Yet, few companies invest the time to map their supply chain which leaves them vulnerable to future disruptions.
Over the last several decades, the manufacturing industry has been characterized by seismic change and increased automation. Smart factories, specifically, are pushing those advancements even further with AI and data-driven systems and highly connected workflows.
In the United States alone, 86 percent of manufacturers believe that smart factories will be the main thrust of competition by 2025. Furthermore, 83 percent believe that smart factories will transform the way products are made. Yet, only 5 percent of United States manufacturers have converted at least one factory to “smart” status, which means a large percentage of companies are leaving substantial and demonstrated value on the table. It’s estimated that by 2022 factories that adopt smart factory technology will be up to seven times more productive.
There’s no question that consumers are gravitating toward companies that provide a streamlined online experience. (Think Amazon, the iconic one-click check-out leader responsible for more than a third of all e-commerce in the United States). These frictionless transactions, aimed at reducing or eliminating red tape altogether, are the mega driver behind the $284 billion mobile eCommerce industry.
As the world reels from the effects of COVID-19, no business is exempt. However, with consumers demanding new, convenient and more efficient payment and transaction solutions, including eSignatures, eNotes and ePayment platforms such as Venmo or Zelle, businesses across nearly every industry sector hold a unique opportunity to capitalize on the booming e-commerce trend that’s expected to reach $4.9 trillion by 2021.
Digitalization, both on the home front and globally, will be the driver of innovation, productivity, and growth as we turn the corner post-pandemic. Technological transformation, making change a core initiative, placing evolving consumer expectations at the forefront of ingenuity and having the ability to modify practices in response to digital technology progress will be business’s vital armor against future crisis adversity and unpredictability.
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