Pros and cons of digital transformation

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Pros and cons of digital transformation
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Why digitising processes and customer interactions is vital for your business – and how to avoid the traps.

You may have heard the term many times, but what can digital transformation actually do for your business? For newcomers, we’ve previously explained what digital transformation is. In this feature, we explain its benefits – and also some traps for the unwary.

If you're not convinced of the importance of digital transformation, consider this: it is expected to add $45 billion to Australia's GDP by 2021 – and increase the nation’s growth rate by 0.5 percent annually – according to Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific, a report produced by Microsoft in partnership with IDC.

Benefits cited by the 100 companies surveyed in Australia included improvements in profit margin and productivity, reduced costs and increased revenue from new products and services.

“Australia is clearly on the digital transformation fast track. Within the next four years, we expect to see an additional $45 billion of Australia's GDP derived from digital products and services,” said Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall.

“At the same time, organisations are increasingly deploying emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence as part of their digital transformation initiatives, which will accelerate growth even further.

“However, it's important to note, transformation is about people as much as it is about technology. The top two barriers to digital transformation cited in the study are strongly anchored in an organisation's ability to empower their people and transform their organisations to take advantage of the opportunity that digital transformation represents.”

Improving customer satisfaction

Another reason for thinking about digital transformation is the role it can play in customer satisfaction.

Illustrating this, the Commonwealth Bank recently won the major bank category in the 2017 Roy Morgan customer satisfaction awards, “in particular by strength in mobile and internet banking satisfaction,” said Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine.

“Consumer banking satisfaction remains near historically high levels – and this can often be tied to the satisfaction derived from 'frictionless' service.”

It was a similar story in the telecommunications and utilities sector. Amaysim took the gong for most satisfying mobile phone provider, and CEO Julian Ogrin noted: “We know that one of the most popular and unique Amaysim features is that we empower our customers to move between plans at the touch of a button, giving them access to our latest and greatest plans.”

Levine observed: “In this age of 'frictionless', perhaps the most satisfying thing these providers could do is minimise – as close to zero as possible – how much their customers need ever think about them. This includes when things go wrong, or when they need to move house, modify a plan or query a usage charge.”

And when it came to the retail categories, "in these times of technological upheaval, economic uncertainty and increased competition from the seemingly endless influx of internationals (Amazon, Debenhams, TK Maxx in the last year alone), retailers need to be adaptable and prepared to meet change head on,” she said.

“But not everything is in flux: the importance of customer satisfaction remains a cornerstone of retail success, and our winners clearly understand this.”

Next: four digital transformation traps to avoid

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