Digital transformation is here, and whether we like it or not, business and industry have adapted. Technology makes everything faster and more convenient, but a healthy measure of caution is necessary to avoid security risk. What does digital transformation have in store for the future of business and industry?
To understand how digital transformation will affect your industry, examine how it affects every industry. Use cases and specific internal technologies differ, but there are common advantages — and disadvantages — across sectors. Innovation is enhancing efficiency and functionality, but it’s also heightening exposure to increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity attacks.
Examples of internal technology implementation include:
- Automation — and even more automation. Automation speeds up production, takes over basic tasks, and allows employees to concentrate on high-cognitive work.
- Cybersecurity measures. Connectivity is a significant part of digital transformation, but more connection means more cybersecurity vulnerability. It also means cybersecurity professionals are making great strides in their efforts to protect data as they work to close emerging security gaps.
- Artificial intelligence (AI). AI and machine learning (ML) can gather, analyze, interpret, and respond to data much faster than a human being, and, like other forms of automation, can free up employees for high skill work.
- Skilled workforce. Industries can build a highly capable workforce by hiring more skilled employees, reskilling experienced workers, and upskilling promising candidates for more specialized, high-tech work.
Industry can’t survive — or thrive — in a vacuum. One major benefit of digital transformation is the ability of individual businesses to prioritize customer satisfaction with improved access to services and seamless engagement. Benefits of B2C digital transformation include:
- Online shopping experience. Digital transformation increases and improves the ability to purchase goods and services online, alongside quicker, more convenient fulfillment options, technology expands B2C customer bases and allows for a higher level of remote customer satisfaction.
- Streamlined customer service. Digital transformation makes customer service easier, with more options for contact and interaction with B2C business representatives, increased access to order information, and instant gratification for refunds, order management, and problem resolution.
- Data analytics. With access to data about customers and their levels of engagement, it’s increasingly simple to make platform changes for a more intuitive user interface (UI) and a more pleasant user experience (UX). Analytics make it easy to discern what works — and what doesn’t — in your customer’s overall experience, whether it be online or in a brick-and-mortar storefront.
- Operating and financial efficiency. Digital transformation can automate billing and payment tasks, predict changes in your industry or market, and improve the accuracy, efficiency, and timeliness of B2C and B2B operation and financial activity.
Relationships with vendors and B2B clients are also affected by digital transformation. Ease of access to communication, negotiation tools, predictive analytics, and automation of operations tasks all improve the ability to do business within your industry and for your B2B market. Effects on B2B industries include:
- eCommerce. The ability to accurately and efficiently conduct business online, send money digitally, place supply orders from a distance, and schedule virtual and face to face meetings is of huge benefit to B2B eCommerce.
- Data analytics. As with your B2C clients, B2B industries can leverage data analytics to track relevant data regarding engagement, purchasing, procurement, and supply chain management. Analytics can evaluate B2B client creditworthiness, predict market fluctuations, analyze industry trends, and forecast economic up- or downturns.
- Digital order-to-cash (O2C) cycle. Digitizing the O2C cycle increases the speed, accuracy, and overall efficiency of B2B financial transactions.
The future of business is undoubtedly digital. The pandemic jumpstarted dramatic change in every industry, but it only accelerated the inevitable. As technology evolves to improve business and industry processes even further, digital transformation will only grow in relevance and capability.