Chances are you’ve heard the phrase digital transformation. It is being mentioned everywhere, making it easy to dismiss it as the latest fad soon to be replaced by something bigger and better. But digital transformation is different.
In the past, the most successful businesses continually changed and evolved in order to meet the ever-changing demands of consumers. However, the rate and pace of that change has been exponentially increased by technological advancements. Most companies are finding it hard to keep up with these trends and leverage them in order to enhance their products, promotional efforts and their process.
So, let me start by defining digital transformation. Digital transformation is capitalizing on technology trends that can fundamentally change the way we do business, to drive bottom-line results. As I reflected on that definition, I realized that at Haneke Design we’ve been providing digital transformation solutions to our clients for years. I was then able to separate these transformational projects into 3 main categories: Product, Promotion, and Process, which I will go into further detail later on.
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- How can we expand into new markets?
- How can we differentiate ourselves from our competitors?
- What can we do internally to be as efficient as possible?
Your answers to these questions will create a baseline for your digital transformation strategy, each focusing on one of the three main opportunities. It is important to understand where your business is currently, and where it needs to be in order to achieve the greatest success.
Product transformation is all about embracing digital technologies to create an optimal user experience by transforming or reinventing your existing products. This step of your strategy is all about the customer; in order to effectively transform your products, you must first understand the needs and habits of your customers.
One of the most successful product transformations we’ve had at Haneke Design was the result of our collaboration with the One World Observatory in New York. Together we created an interactive tablet experience for visitors of the Observatory to experience New York in an entirely new way.
Guests can rent the customized iPads to orient themselves with the city and take virtual helicopter tours of over 40 New York landmarks. Using innovative technology, this app is able to immerse visitors in an informative and engaging environment. Points of interest within the panoramic view are highlighted by overlaying graphic indicators which users can select, resulting in a virtual flight from the tower down to the location. The creative use of technology created a completely new product that provided even greater value to their audience, and in return provided a whole new area of profit for the Observatory.
In today’s market, customers are always connected to everything thanks to technology. As a result, companies are innovating at a faster pace than ever and in order to stay relevant and profitable, businesses need to fully embrace the use of technology in all aspects of business operations. Remember, digital transformation happens in every single industry, not just in tech. This is where trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality come into play. Utilizing these technologies allow businesses to enter the everyday lives of consumers, just as the One World Explorer Tablet does.
The next step involves transforming the way you promote your products or services to potential customers. Information has become abundantly available thanks to the internet, and consumers want to know that the businesses they are buying products or services from are knowledgeable in their field. This is where content marketing becomes an important tool. Content marketing involves the creation of online materials such as blogs, videos, and social media posts that get people interested in your brand. Oftentimes, this content doesn’t directly advertise your product but instead gets your name out there and provides some sort of value to your customer.
Traditional marketing tactics no longer do the trick. A quick email or a postcard in the mail isn’t enough to raise awareness about your company, and instead businesses must become publishers of their own online content. Blogging is a great way to approach content marketing – a well written blog is an archive of information that can continually provide value to consumers. Not only that, but it is one of the best ways to lead people to your website, thus expanding your customer base.
Our biggest success story at Haneke Design is the work we do with our client Baysource Global. Together we formalized a digital marketing strategy with the primary goal of generating new leads. In order to do this, we began to create custom content focused around specific keywords to ensure we were reaching the appropriate audience. This combined with increased social media activity created the online presence that Baysource Global was missing, turning their static website into an active lead generation tool. As a result, they have seen a steady increase in qualified leads and recently signed their largest deal to date.
The last opportunity we will look as is all about improving your internal processes. The automation of manual processes is where the most value is created for businesses. Let’s take a look at an app that Haneke Design created for a client as an example. The client, Gerdau, is a steel manufacturer who recognized an opportunity for increased efficiency at their steel mills.
An app was created from which truck drivers can check-in and provide pick-up information right from their mobile devices. The automation of this process eliminates the need for drivers to exit their cabs, making the process more efficient and effectively increasing workflow. Ultimately, the pick-up process is improved and even transformed, resulting in reduced manual labor. This is where value is added to the business through the use of technology in the form of saved time and effort.
Digital transformation is not a one and done kind of project. In fact, it isn’t a project at all, but instead a frame of mind that must be applied to every single aspect of how you run, manage and execute your business operations. It should be engrained in the entire culture of your organization. It takes time and is an ongoing process that will continue to evolve with technology. One of the best examples of a successful digital transformation is Blockbuster vs. Netflix. As films became digitized, the opportunity opened up for a completely new business model: streaming. Gone are the days of brick and mortal film rental stores. If Blockbuster had embarked on digital transformation, it may have maintained market domination rather than being overrun by a startup. This is why it is important to grow and evolve your business as the needs and expectations of your customers change – digital transformation is the key to survival.