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New technologies are emerging every day and a growing number of devices and people enter the huge flow of data and interactions which make up the Internet of today. Therefore digital transformation is an ongoing process.
The network is constantly evolving and new features and technologies are developing at such a rate that it is impossible to make a definitive model.
The leading businesses of today are gone tomorrow as company, product and service lifecycles are shortened and only the companies which innovate survive.
Thus we can only define the way things are today, in accordance to our perceptions across many economic sectors and functional areas, herby identifying four stages in the digital transformation of businesses:
- Stage 1: The processes
The first digital steps focus on process mechanization and optimization. However, the promotion of this stage currently depends on economic factors. For example, utility companies are asking consumers to use digital meters but this comes at a cost to the consumer.
- Stage 2: Customer touchpoints
People are connected and use the Internet to communicate. Social networks have forced businesses to update their “touchpoints” by adopting omnichannel services. Mobile devices facilitate the high level of interaction demanded by the consumers; 24h attention.
- Stage 3: The services and the products
The third stage of digitalization involves mechanizing the touchpoints and other internal and external processes. This focuses on designing new services and products: hauliers can report on the location of merchandise, telephone companies can inform us how many French people entered the country yesterday, doctors can monitor their patients vital signs in real-time whilst the patients are in the comfort of their own homes, etc. these are all new opportunities which are now possible thanks to digitalization.
- Stage 4: The business model
Stage 4 consists of reviewing the business model. Big Data and the Internet of Things are the foundations on which many new business models are being built and the main factor seems to be another way of understanding the company rather than being a technological base.
Therefore business technological adaptations requires the correct use of the available technology, achieving a holistic view of the company defined by the management, with clear orientation to business, process re-design and the necessary organizational adjustments.
The new customer experience forces companies to rethink their processes, sales channels, methods of communication with customers and loyalty schemes. Sooner or later many companies will face the digitalization of their business models as they will be obliged to defend themselves from disruptive models.
Given that digitalization opens the door to new players, adopting innovation processes can become a fundamental lever for growth.