Digital transformation is a development that businesses have been aware of for many years. Since computers started making their way into offices, enterprises have been the first to appreciate the primary benefit of digital technology: speed.
But in the 21st century, the benefits of digital transformation are staggering. Speed is no longer the only benefit, as everything from interactivity to accessibility is affected by the convenience, power and versatility of digital technology.
Digital transformation is propelling businesses forward as technologies advance at an incredible pace. It will be the workforce with the knowledge and digital talent that will drive success and exploit these developments to gain a competitive edge.
In this article, we explore what businesses should be doing and the digital transformation skills required to improve performance, customer engagement, and profits.
1. Digital Literacy
This should go without saying, but businesses should never take the fundamentals of digital for granted.
A recent study ‘The New Landscape of Digital Literacy: How workers’ uneven digital skills affect economic mobility and business competitiveness, and what policymakers can do about it’ found that 1 in 3 workers in the United States lacks foundational digital skills. In particular, 13 percent have no digital skills and 18 percent have very limited skills.
With that in mind, it’s not a stretch to assume that some potential employees are not digitally literate. Most people may be familiar with using social media for basic posts, but many may not know how to perform advanced tasks on those channels such as creating a paid ad or analyzing performance.
Your business also needs people that can use online tools like the business communications hub, Slack or video conferencing platform, Zoom or master content creation programs like Photoshop or Illustrator or analytics software such as Google Analytics. It’s not wise to take it for granted that everyone in your company can interchangeably use these programs with little or no difficulty.
There’s always new software, algorithms, computing languages, online standards, and protocols being developed. Make sure that your staff stays on top of the next big digital marketing trends so they know what to keep an eye on.
Your business should also find ways to reward and promote advancements in digital literacy within your company. This could be as simple as providing short courses in areas such as digital marketing that earn employees a professional certification on completion. Ignoring technology can lead to falling behind and irrelevance in a competitive business environment.
2. Data and Digital Security
Last year data breaches rose by 68 percent last year, the highest on record according to The Identity Theft Resource Center’s annual report. This rise is due to high-profile cyberattacks that targeted everything from America’s largest oil pipelines to companies like T-Mobile, risking the personal information of millions of consumers. While physical security is a simple task of ‘hardening’ a facility with security cameras, good locks, and, of course, security guards. But how do you protect your data, or, more importantly, customer data?
Do you know what to do if your information is seized and you’re the victim of a data hostage threat? Do you know whether people have broken into your system and are monitoring your activity or even copying sensitive research material or private data?
Cybersecurity or cyber resilience is a huge concern for organizations across the globe. It requires technical proficiency, specialized talent, prioritization in business plans, and strong leadership to anticipate incoming attacks and prepare defenses to counteract them.
For industries that handle sensitive data or customer information such as healthcare and financial services, this is a top priority. Always make sure that someone in your business understands and is responsible for digital security, or you risk leaving your customers—and your business—vulnerable to a severe data breach and theft. Your business stores a lot of information online or in digital databases, and you need to protect this data to ensure customer trust and maintain the reputation and future of your business.
3. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is an important skill to have in any modern business. While we still live in a world that responds to traditional media like billboards, displays on the sides of buildings, radio commercials, and television commercials, we also have a digital world to contend with.
In this modern society, we engage just as much with social media and digital content on our phones and desktop or laptop computers as we do with materials in the real world. According to Statista data, the number of social media users worldwide will rise to 4.4 billion by 2025. That’s a huge number of people active across social networks to engage and convert which requires the right skills in-house.
Marketing departments must now be willing to explore the interactive and analytic possibilities that derive from using digital media to inform and engage with the market. Digital transformation has overhauled the one-way, passive experience that marketing used to be for an audience.
Digitally savvy marketers that can understand and exploit the level of engagement afforded by digital marketing, stand the best chance of making an impact with consumers. Effective digital formats and channels include:
- Social media
- SEO & SEM (find out the how you can make SEO and SEM work together for great impact)
- Paid search
- Display advertising
- Influencer marketing
- Affiliate marketing (consider affiliate marketing as a new revenue stream)
Digital marketing is a fundamental component of a digital transformation skillset, so make sure your business takes the time to hire or upskill your workforce in this area.
4. Data Analysis
As the old saying goes, ‘knowledge is power’ and one of the biggest gifts that digital technology brings to business is huge amounts of actionable data. But that’s only if your business can recognize and use that data for better insights.
After all, if your organization isn’t sure who your target demographic is or where they like to shop or the devices used to research and browse, how will you know where to direct your marketing and creative dollars? If your teams can’t find the analytics tools or read the data they output, how will your business know that your campaign is worth funding?
Data can be an invaluable tool to help businesses spot areas of weakness or capitalize on strengths, but only if a company has the personnel with skills to find software, interpret data, and formulate useful insights to act on. Every business needs to be open to looking at the vast amounts of data available from customers and clients, as well as internally, through normal operations.
This is particularly important as Google phases out third-party cookies in 2023 and companies will need to look for other ways to gather customer data. First-party data and zero-party data offer effective ways to access data that is unique to their business and is given with consent.
Businesses will benefit from the expertise of employees who can analyze crucial data, draw meaningful conclusions, and put that data into action through new policies and strategies. Data and web analytics may not be seen as a glamorous task, but it is valuable to any organization’s digital transformation skillset.
When Mark Zuckerberg announced the change of Facebook’s name to Meta, public awareness of the metaverse exploded. But what is the metaverse?
Put simply it is a network of 3D worlds where people can interact immersively. This usually means using virtual headsets and games like Minecraft and Roblox already exist in this domain. It’s set to become a new marketplace to sell, buy and mint products on digital platforms and research by tech company Wildbytes estimates that in the next five years, 70 percent of major brands will have a presence there.
For businesses, the metaverse offers an opportunity to engage with customers differently and makes digital products, avatars and virtual reality more important. This will require specialized skills in AI and an adaptation of your marketing and sales strategy to include more than social media and paid ads.
How the technology and platform will unfold is still up for debate, but with brands like Nike and Gucci active in the space, your employees will need skills to make the most of this new metaverse reality.
But blockchain is not just about NFTs, the technology is used in industries like healthcare, banking, real estate, and insurance. These sectors use blockchain as it helps verify and trace multi-step transactions, increases transparency, and ensures security. It also reduces compliance costs and speeds up data transfer.
This has caused a demand for skilled professionals in this area – blockchain architects, blockchain software engineers and blockchain developers. It is changing the way organizations work and may benefit your business, particularly concerning security and data transfer.
Read our blog to find out more about how leading brands are navigating their digital transformation journeys.