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What is digitisation and are you in the race?

Do you feel that your competitors are outpacing you in digitalisation? The pace of change is accelerating and it is increasingly important for those who want to stay competitive to keep up. But what is digitalisation? It's not just about doing the same things in new smarter and more efficient ways. At least as important is the ability to take advantage of digitalisation to get closer to customers and understand them better in order to develop new business.

What is digitisation?

Digitisation is broadly about improving and developing your business using new digital opportunities and new technologies. A driving force may be your desire to improve efficiency and reduce costs by making things faster and easier. You can also take advantage of digitalisation to improve understanding of the customer journey from a customer perspective and create added value by analysing customer data collected. Digitisation also provides opportunities to develop new products and business models. This may mean that something previously delivered as a product is now offered as a service.

Encyclopedia Britannica was founded in the late 18th century with the business idea of selling thick books filled with knowledge. When Windows 95 arrived, the operating system came with the Encarta encyclopaedia on CD. This was a wake-up call for Britannica, which was forced to ask itself "who will want to buy 30 thick books when they get Encarta for free?". Britannica sat down and looked at their offering and what they were good at. It realised that the core of its business was to produce and disseminate knowledge, not to publish books. In 2012, Britannica discontinued its print edition. Today they offer subscription services, school services and other digital services based on knowledge. In other words, they still have their core but have changed the format.

Why should you digitise?

If a company is to survive, it must deliver something of value that customers are willing to pay for, not only today but also tomorrow. If you can ensure that, you have a good starting point. What value are you delivering to your customers? Could you deliver more value through digitalisation? Look at your competitors, what do they offer their customers? Don't forget that the future is digital, somehow, for everyone.

What are the main risks of not keeping up?

The single biggest risk is that your competitors go digital and your customers realise you are lagging behind. Perhaps you send paper invoices and have inefficient delivery flows that take unnecessarily long while your competitors digitise theirs. Maybe the competitor has a lower price because they have more efficient processes and are more responsive to customers. Without digitalisation

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you risk losing the customer experience, which relies heavily on collecting and analysing data. Ultimately, this can lead to a loss of both customers and business.

When is the best time to go digital?

The simple answer is: now! Digitisation can start today, but the question is, are you digitising for the right reasons? Is it because you feel overtaken by the competition or because you see added value for your business and your customers? The question you need to ask is whether your company will be able to continue on its chosen path for another five to ten years without digitising.

Are there any pitfalls?

There is a lot to think about on the digitisation journey. One pitfall can be taking the change journey too lightly. Just because you've created an e-commerce site doesn't mean you've digitised your business. Another common pitfall is that not everyone involved has a common view on digitisation. In every company there are a number of key people, in management or other positions, who understand the core of the business and what creates value for the customer. If these people are not on board, there is a high risk that digitisation efforts will not have the intended impact. Last but not least, employees must be involved and understand the benefits of digitalisation, otherwise nothing will happen.

Dare to challenge the status quo and get started.

Consumers are becoming more digital and buying more via mobile and computer. They expect personalised and relevant content, which requires analysis of customer data. Going digital requires resources and the courage to question existing structures, which many may find challenging.

Digitisation offers great opportunities for business development, efficiency improvement and product and service development. Look at your business and identify a department or process that could benefit from digitisation and start digitising there - today!

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At AddPro, we are passionate about helping companies work more efficiently and unleash the power of innovative business development through digitalisation. That's why we've developed the Digital Journey Management workshop. During half a day, we focus on supporting your company to reach consensus between different departments and functions in companies with the goal of finding a common starting point for your digitalisation adventure. Read more and book the Digital Journey Managementworkshop.