Industries throughout New Zealand are being radically altered by the current wave of digital change. On Thursday 26 September, a leading Australasian digital transformation event, ACCELERATE DX, will take place in Auckland. It’s founder and creator, Samuel Williams, shares his insights into why and how Kiwi SMEs can ensure they are riding this wave rather than finding themselves washed up on the beach and overtaken by their more digitally astute competitors.
From agriculture to animation, each and every industry is having to contend with the challenges presented by an unstoppable exponential technological force.
Having a radical effect on how we live, work and connect, adaptive digital leadership is essential to navigating this rapidly changing evolution, for competitive advantage, enhanced customer experience and long-term sustainability.
While hearing the term digital transformation may sound daunting, simply put, digital transformation refers to the integration of digital technology into most parts of a business. It also involves using digital technologies to improve and transform processes.
There needs to be someone driving these digital transformation initiatives forward. Successful digital transformation initiatives are led from the top down and most often involve an overall cultural change within your business.
Founders, CEO’s and senior professionals need to get invested in making transformation happen, with the aim of catching the next wave to understand and navigate the digital landscape.
Digital transformation for SMEs
Small is beautiful when it comes to digital. Despite having fewer resources, smaller businesses have the ability to be more agile. You can move much faster than bigger businesses can when it comes to adopting digital technology.
With a heavy emphasis on export, Kiwi’s have often been looking outwards. The new normal in global markets however is asking ‘what is your digital competitive edge?’
Across supply, marketing or delivery chains, each is being transformed with digital technologies.
The interplay between cloud computing, mobile anywhere devices and access to IoT (Internet of Things) data in the form of technology platforms means the barriers to adoption are radically lowering – both in terms of cost and access.
Businesses are equally positioned to be able to take that information and turn it into a new form of value or innovate a process that is valuable to other niche markets, whether that be in New Zealand or globally.
Implementing digital change
It is key for small or medium sized businesses to leverage their strengths and existing assets – like your customer base – whilst ditching the things that don’t work. Look at areas that will be easy to adapt, but will make big improvements.
Select a few key technology platforms and leverage these. Digital platforms are now accessible and affordable enough to be utilised by organisations of all types and sizes. For example, YouTube and video marketing. As a platform, YouTube will be able to get you in front of special interest groups right round the world and help establish your niche positioning directly with that audience.
Get involved in the ecosystems that surround your platforms and industry. The ecosystems that are being built around technology platforms often represent the path forward in terms of providing scale. Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram all have ecosystems being built around them. These platform ecosystems are generating new business opportunities in unexpected ways.
Invest in Data Science. Data and Information does represent future value. Look at the ways in which your data, combined with other data, can uncover insights that will ultimately lead to new forms of value. Think about how you can collect useful data at every point of the customer journey, from website, to app, to product. This is fuelling the next generation economy.
The challenge for leaders
There is nothing to fear but fear itself and digital change is inevitable, whether we like it or not. The challenge for leaders is to embrace that change and turn it into a sustainable advantage.
Accept that the traditional business model needs to evolve and be ready to lead from the top.
Digital transformation will require your learned experience to be applied in new and challenging situations, so get prepared. Digital transformation is here to stay so even if you are not a surfer, make sure you are catching that wave!
To register for ACCELERATE DX go to www.acccelerate.world/
Pictured below: Samuel Williams