5 First Steps to Digital Marketplace Mastery

Change is a dynamic process, and moving through its stages certainly proves more difficult for some humans than for others! Whether exhibited through a relentless commitment to the flip phone, or a staunch view that company websites are simply unnecessary – the most obstinate of today’s business leaders, and their unwillingness to embrace modern technological innovations, can inflict a bigger impact on today’s corporate profits, and ultimately, company viability – than ever before.

When it comes to embracing technology, modern businesses in each and every industry must be ready to accept and work through an ever-changing technological environment – or die. It’s a harsh concept, but necessary, because many leadership teams still view IT as nothing more than an expensive budget line item that is measured by uptime, reviled during failures – but hardly ever credited for business success. In fact, research from The Telegraph confirmed this is especially true when IT spend and effective implementation are not clearly driven by the most senior and influential figures in an organization.

But research proves a fairly universal truth: For those who embrace the digital shift, the rewards are manifold. A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and CapGemini contends that companies that successfully execute on a digital transformation, including investing in proper technology and required leadership capabilities, grew revenues by an average of 9 percent, and are, on average, 26 percent more profitable than their competitors.If you are among those holdouts, it’s high time to embrace change and take control of your organization’s technological destiny. Here are five ways to get your entire team on board – so you can survive amidst the competition, and grow your business for years to come:

1. Improve Your Leadership Team’s Understanding of Disruptive Technology Trends

The MIT/CapGemini study above found that companies that invested well in technology-enabled initiatives, but not in leadership capabilities that fully embrace these changes, saw revenues slightly increase, but profits decline. Companies that established the leadership capabilities required, but failed to make adequate technology investments, were able to improve profits, but had double-digit declines in revenue.

From your executive team to the board, ensure that the entire spectrum of company leadership understands the implications of failing to embrace technology – and what the positive financial results could be if your organization makes the leap.

2. Adopt an Agile and Lean Approach to Technology-Enabled Innovation

Today’s most beloved companies, such as Netflix, Airbnb, Zappos, and Apple, have not only accepted technology as necessary – they’ve used it as their fundamental platform for growth and customer experience. As countless new companies emerge, we have seen iconic brands disappear, such as Blockbuster, Radio Shack and Borders.

Many of these new entrants to traditional industries have a something of significance in common – the ability to build upon their market share rapidly, by using disruptive digital technologies to create better and more enjoyable customer experiences. One key benefit to this digital stance – the sales growth often comes at a significantly lower cost than through more established, traditional marketing means.

3. Get Comfortable with Risk Taking

The most successful modern companies have become comfortable with failure and risk taking in order to please their customers. With flexible customer terms and conditions (like the ability to return anything with no questions asked), and the willingness to try new initiatives like cloud computing, social media, data analytics, mobility, the internet of things, and gamification, these newcomer giants have forced established companies to think differently about data, security and new business models to serve clients.

4. Add a CIO to the Leadership Team

A lack of knowledge and understanding about technological needs can infect today’s enterprises with inertia. Surveys such as the Watermark Board Diversity Survey 2015 highlighted a deficiency in suitably skilled executives at the board and CEO level to leverage technology advancements for business growth. While almost 55 percent of board-level executives have accounting and legal backgrounds, only 3 percent come prepared with the right technology experience or relevant skills. Appointing a CIO or similar technology leader as member of the leadership team can help with these challenges.

5. Seek Efficient External and Independent Advice to Avoid Missing out on Opportunities

In the new, globalized world of business, many companies make the critical mistake of viewing their digital challenge as merely an effort for the IT department, a shiny, new e-commerce platform, a data warehouse, or any other single technological manifestation. Connect with fellow business leaders and repositories of expertise outside your organization, to ensure that you stay on top of both trends and technological mainstays. This will keep your organization from falling into the trap of thinking that digital isn’t necessary, whether in terms of function – or the marketplace.

How is your enterprise leveraging digital in your marketplace?




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