When COVID-19 swept the globe in 2020, businesses rushed to transition to remote workforces, streamline workflows, make data accessible virtually, and in some cases, pivot to entirely new business models. The process of digital transformation, which typically could take years, was completed in record time.
There’s been recent discussions that the pace of digital transformation has slowed from the pace of 2020. This isn’t surprising given the past two years have forced many businesses to complete the first phase of their transformations. However, innovation is never stagnant. Therefore, there is more work to be done when ushering in the next phase -- acceleration -- as businesses look to actualize the potential and measure the success of the mass transformational phase.
Phase Two of Transformation: Acceleration
Digital acceleration can drive the company forward by shifting the focus of IT spending to the customer, ensuring transformed internal systems can be meshed with external systems. According to SpiceWorks Ziff Davis (SWZD), IT budgets are expected to grow by 13% year-over-year in 2023. This increase in spending implies that businesses are looking to take insights from their new data-driven organization and translate increased spending into improving overall customer experience (CX).
In the past, companies may have been apprehensive about leveraging digital technologies, recognizing that not all customers would be able to easily adapt or be open to change. As a result, they’ve often had to be cautious about the pace at which they introduced new technologies, how advanced these technologies should be, and publicly showcasing how their data was being used.
However, the shift in consumer expectations and needs have drastically shifted over the past few years, largely alleviating previous concerns as consumers now embrace technology and its benefits. While privacy is still top of mind, there’s also a new wave of consumers who are not only willing to share their data with a company, but eager to share more of it -- if it benefits them in the long run. In fact, 50% of consumers said that the pandemic made them more willing to part with their personal data, according to the EY Global Consumer Privacy Survey.
Today, customers want access to the data insights collected on them and transparency into how those insights are being used to create a better experience. This includes things like their order or product usage history, personalized recommendations and communications, and tailored products, services and even prices based on their activity.
Leveraging Data for Improved CX
Today's market is moving quicker than ever, and customers are generating data faster, too. IDC predicts the world will generate 181 zettabytes of data by 2025. While most companies collect data in 2022, many are too busy to take the time to translate it into data-driven decision-making tools to gain a competitive advantage and integrate customer insights in real-time. Most data is currently stuck in a warehouse with no true actionable plan for using it to the businesses’ advantage. When used correctly, this data can provide customers with enhanced products, services, and experiences. For businesses, it means a way to better reach and understand their audience to increase revenue, loyalty, retention, etc.
For example, one area of value that data collecting adds to upleveling the customer experience centers around improving or adding products and services. Insight into consumer attitudes and behaviors is important for keeping offerings up to date. However, it’s equally important in identifying white space in the market where customer desires or needs aren't being met -- offering the ability to capitalize on this gap through new offerings.
For example, Apple is not only on its iPhone 14, thanks to evolving its product features to meet consumer needs today, but it has also expanded its reach by adding new and innovative products to the market, such as its smart tracking device, AirTags. By data sharing, customers get a better experience and product/service, and the business can grow through tapping into additional or new lines of revenue.
Technology is a Tool, not a Final Solution
Recognizing and actively participating in the acceleration phase of a digital transformation can mean the difference between growth and falling behind. By leveraging data from upgraded technology and connecting the dots between analytics and action, businesses can make better sense of information, creating a full view of the customer. Digitally transforming a business and improving technology isn’t a final destination to having a successful business. The key is using the technology and the data insights it can provide as tools on the journey to bettering the customer experience and in turn, the businesses’ bottom line.