Written by Sebastien Balda and Richa Bakshi

Your Organization Needs to Be Digital-First, Now!

Sep 15, 2020 · 5 min read

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In the past decade, many organizations integrated their digital transformation roadmap into their organization’s overall strategic plan, allocating budgets and establishing timelines where needed. Fast-forward to 2020 - going digital is not just an option, but a necessity. This pandemic has forced organizations to reassess their digital transformation roadmaps, pivoting from a 3-year step-by-step process to an intensive 3-month accelerated implementation with budgets focussed towards becoming digital-first now. The digital transformation market is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 22.7 percent from 2019 to $3,294 billion by 2025. (Research and Markets)

So what does it mean to be Digital-first?

Being digital-first means embracing digital transformation with a dedicated focus. It means championing a shift in your organizational culture, abandoning traditional channels, and prioritizing digital ones. It is the integration of digital technology into all areas of your business, resulting in fundamental changes in how the business operates and the value it delivers to its customers. There are a multitude of incentives for organizations to become digital-first. From technology priorities to business goals, data management to change management, the idea of digital-first incorporates every aspect of digital strategy. According to a recent McKinsey report, companies that use the digital-first approach report faster product launches, better customer experiences, and reduced tech development costs.

“COVID-19 pandemic worked out the digital first strategies for many companies. Be it working remotely, upgrading systems and processes to adapting new technologies, it made us all go from 30% to 100%. COVID-19 has done the world a favor by opening the door for organizations to fully embrace digital transformation as opposed to doing it half-heartedly.” - Jon Bradbury, Founder and MD, JDB Consulting Ltd


The Customer Experience Perspective

Customers should be the central figure in driving digital transformation. Every customer in today’s world wants to have a personalized experience catered to their unique needs. Regardless of an organization’s roadmap for digital initiatives, it’s vital to understand that the customer is already living in the digital world. The customer is always connected, constantly engaged, and cherishes the seamless user experience of the digital solutions provided by early adopters. Hence, being digital-first enables companies to rethink how they interact with their customers and design a flawless customer experience. 

Gateway to Becoming Agile

Agile organizations continually evolve and have the flexibility to adapt rapidly to market changes. Agile is not something you do, but something you become. It provides a framework for continuous improvement through iterations that are based on customer feedback. Furthermore, implementing agile methods into core business activities streamlines processes and tasks. Agile organizations use an open communication style to collaborate and share to harness long term business value. Being digital-first paves the way for an organization to be truly agile.

“Adopt agile processes within a larger framework. Identify what elements of Agile are going to work for you, and then grow the process and grow your utilization of that process.” - Mark Demeny, Director of Content Management Strategy at Contentful.

The Insights Advantage

Data management and analytics are at the core of the digital strategy and help optimize the experience for target customers and facilitate a better prediction of future behaviors. Being Digital-first enables companies to better understand their customers by tracking metrics and analyzing the collected data.

“Having a solid foundation on data management is critical to the success of your transformation as it reduces a lot of barriers in the early stages.” - Sean Saulnier, Director of Operations, C2 International 

The ROI perspective

Being digital-first enables reduced costs, increased productivity, and boosted business growth. It lays the groundwork for information management and automation which improves the efficiency of business processes. For instance, instead of managing store hours for a brick and mortar location, e-commerce allows businesses to be open 24/7, resulting in more convenient patronage for the customer and increased sales for the retailer. In manufacturing, going digital enables connected factories with central networks that increase uptime and performance while reducing overhead, operating, and capital costs.

“This fast-forwarded digital adoption has led organizations to reduce process timelines along with increased efficiency, enabling significantly decreased operational costs.” - Don Coulter, CEO & President, Concentra Bank

The Work Culture Perspective

The current scenario has normalized remote working, and being digital-first has ensured business continuity. From recruiting and onboarding, to performance reviews, feedback, and team socials, every aspect of the office space has moved online. Furthermore, going digital enables easier collaboration across teams and provides the flexibility that enables effective communication and connections spanning the globe. 

In conclusion, going digital has its own set of challenges such as accomplishing organizational and team buy-in, lacking the right talent or expertise within the company, and change management. However, the benefits far outweigh the risks in the long run. It is vital to be digital-first to stay ahead of your competitors, just as the competitors are trying to stay ahead of you. 

To help organizations understand their digital maturity and take the necessary steps to be future-ready, Quantum Mob recently organized a virtual panel discussion with key industry leaders. You can get the recording of the panel from here: https://digital-first-evolution.qmo.io/

If you have any questions after reading this article or you are curious to understand about your organizations’ digital maturity, feel free to reach out to me at hello@qmo.io 

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