5 Biggest Drivers Behind Digital Transformation

As consumers make a collective beeline for digital versions of the activities that power everyday life — banking, shopping, health management, entertainment, socializing, education, productivity and many others — global business is adapting. Companies are working to address the skyrocketing demand for online, and particularly mobile, interactions with customers.

digital-marketing-1.jpgA 2014 survey found that nearly 90% of businesses had already embarked on their digital transformation journeys. And IDC recently projected that by the end of 2017, corporate strategy will focus on digital transformation in two-thirds of G2000 companies. By 2020, 6 in 10 of those companies will double productivity by shifting many human-guided processes to digital delivery.

What’s driving IT decision makers toward digital transformation? Some analysts argue that the evolution of technology itself is pushing the trend, while others say business strategy is at the heart of the march toward a fully digital future. In reality, technology and strategy share responsibility for the five most significant drivers of digital transformation in business.

1. The Demand for Convenience

Consumers now live on their screens, and they expect to be able to conduct most of their business in the virtual world. Many will prefer to avoid the inconvenience of going inside a bank or shop. And they expect thorough, immediate and personal responses to any digital query made of an organization.

Abundant and rapidly advancing technology is driving the demand. But managers and strategists must take care to ensure that the tech doesn’t cause more harm than good to efficiency, productivity, profitability and customer relations.

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the security of their private information. As digital life becomes more commonplace and high-profile data breaches make the news, corporate leaders understand that data breaches can weaken or destroy their brands. They are pushing for rapid, complete moves to digital processes that lock down data.

2. The Internet of Things and the Ubiquity of Mobile

Despite fears over data security and privacy, consumers are beginning to embrace the Internet of Things. These include wearables and home automation. Increasingly, average technology users will come to expect the convenience of connectivity from everyday objects, along with mobile access to those objects and their data.

3. Increased Expectations in the Workplace

The rapid advance of consumer technologies is driving employee expectations in the workplace, including universal access to productivity tools and the ability to work remotely. The increasing level of employee activity that depends on constant connectivity is placing added pressure on IT departments to raise digital standards.

4. The Prodigious Growth of Apps

Downloads of free apps are expected to grow to more than 211 billion in 2016, compared to just over 57 billion in 2012. Consumers, business people, artists, creatives, students, medical professionals and others now use apps for every conceivable purpose. The lack of an app — or worse, a poorly designed app — can result in squandered opportunities and even harm to a brand.

5. The Role of Strategy and Strong Leadership

The breakneck advance of technology is disrupting nearly every industry, and certainly is driving digital transformation for business. But strategy, rather than technology itself, may play an even bigger role. A recent study found that the true power of digital technologies like social, cloud, mobile and analytics springs from the ways in which IT decision makers and business leaders integrate and use them.

As IDC Vice President Bob Parker notes, digital transformation is not only a technology trend. Instead, it sits at the center of business strategy across markets, and companies have an unprecedented opportunity to reinvent customer experience.

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