We have now entered an era well beyond the business process re-engineering times of the 1980s. What was then the heyday of enterprise resource planning (ERP.) According to MIT research conducted by Andrew McAfee and Eric Brynjolfsson companies that adopted ERP systems demonstrated the most productive and sustainable growth over the following two decades. Gartner’s recent and ongoing digital business surveys (2014-2015), shows that organizations that are already undertaking digital business initiatives are gaining competitive advantage on those businesses and organizations that are still in the planning stage.
The tides of technology innovation are again moving us into a new realm where the confluence of three major technology innovations are enabling a new form of digital business transformation.
- SaaS & IASS platforms & the Cloud.
- Smart devices (BYOD) with rich media capture.
- The app store & human computer interface innovation.
This transformation is occurring on the front lines of business in hotels, retail stores, bakeries, and commercial real estate management for example. Many of these front line processes were still dependent on humans completing checklists, forms and paper documents. Now, however, business is digitizing them and enabling employees, managers and auditors to quickly and easily complete inspections of safety, and or operational conditions on a smart device, often including photos and or videos of current conditions.
The cloud now delivers a powerful of suite of technologies never before available to small business and its affordable and easy to use. Cloud computing and SaaS have leveled the playing field between many small, medium and large enterprises by providing competitive advantage through the optimization of front line business processes. The Cloud is playing a vital role in this new wave of technology innovations as the backbone of many new business initiatives that revolve around digital business and the elimination of paper-based forms and checklists.
Smart phones are undoubtedly one of the greatest innovations of our times and just like the IPod, which completely changed the way we experienced music, smartphones and other smart devices are changing the way we live and experience life. Smart devices are playing an ever-increasing role in digital business transformation as the interface to many platforms, not social media or the Cloud. They are playing and ever-increasing role in digital business transformation as data collection devices outfitted with location technology and rich media including a camera and video.
Nearly every brand now has an app, essentially making every company a media company. The genius of the app is inherent in its ease of access and use and enhancement of the interaction between humans and computers. SaaS app interfaces today have design thinking involved and are fostering a new level of human interaction and engagement. This is facilitating new forms of collaboration and dynamic interrelationships between employees, managers, companies, partners, customers, citizens and even governments.
Brand & Business Critical Processes
Brand is everything and brand experience is paramount in business today, thanks to the instant gratification provided by the Internet and social media. Bad brands can’t hide anymore and the brand experience has rapidly become a major advantage or disadvantage for many businesses. What do you feel when you see a brands logo?
Digital business is all about brand and business now has brand ambassadors, brand managers and digital marketers. But when it comes right down to delivering on brand promise its all about management of front line business processes.
- What was the condition of your hotel room when you checked in?
- Did you easily find the promoted product upon arrival at the retail store? Is the store layout enjoyable and does it enhance you’re experience?
In retail for example, the brick and mortar brand experience is being radically innovated through digital business transformation by employing modern visual merchandising solutions that leverage smart phones, apps and cloud-based platforms.
Digital business transformation is yet another competitive weapon in the arsenal of business today and will be a game changer in many industries. Delivering on brand expectations is and ongoing challenge for business today and social media is playing a huge role in what Pine and Gilmore coined the “Experience Economy,” Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google and others are now power brokers of the brand experience. Perhaps what is most important about digital business transformation is not just that it optimizes business processes, enhances the shopping experience or makes employees more accountable, it also empowers employees and managers in almost real-time.