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12 August 2014

Becoming a Truly Digital Business

Posted By: AIB Business

From  business strategy to execution, digital technology has become the foundation for everything we do. Simply put, you can’t afford to underestimate digital. However, despite concern about digital challenges, only a small number of business leaders are addressing this crucial business issue, writes David McGee from PwC.

A recent survey by PwC revealed that while almost three-quarters of leaders said they were concerned about not being able to understand and adopt to technology to stay competitive, less than half addressed it in their corporate strategy. Similarly, 70 per cent expressed concern about protecting intellectual property and customer data, but only 48 per cent addressed it.

While many SMEs have addressed the structural side of their digital strategy, embracing concepts such as cloud computing and mobility, less progress has been made in the area of leveraging social media and analytics. These two areas represent enormous opportunities to engage with customers and to gain deep insights into customer behaviour.

Digital platforms are increasingly the media of choice for consumers in terms of how they entertain themselves, inform themselves and source and pay for products and services. Businesses that do not play in this space will simply be left behind, and the pace at which this migration to digital is happening has been increasing dramatically – especially with the widespread adoption of mobile web-enabled devices such as smartphones and tablets.


Social Media Strategy

A successful social media strategy involves not only the adoption of technology but moreover a change in mind-set. Social media, as its name implies, involves a much greater degree of engagement so the idea of “conversation” is increasingly important. Customers have the opportunity to provide instant feedback on their experiences and preferences, and the challenge for businesses is to be ever more responsive to consumer needs. Reputations can be lost in a heartbeat.

The converse is also true. Businesses that provide good quality, timely service can win plaudits and reach new customers, leveraging the power of social media too.


Data Analytics

One of the key advantages of operating in the digital environment is the level of data that is produced. This can be harnessed to provide key insights into customer preferences and habits. Data analytics, therefore, is an increasingly important area of business. Larger firms have been working in this area for many years and have realised the enormous value that can be leveraged from this information. Used correctly, not alone can it provide both historic and real-time data on customer trends but it can also be a powerful predictor of future customer behaviours. At a practical level, this can inform decisions about where investments should be made and where marketing resources should be allocated.

Data analytics should not be the sole preserve of big business. Over time, the cost of managing this information has been decreasing and opportunities exist to outsource functions in this area to low cost locations in some cases.


If you do one thing: Recognise the power of the data that you receive from your customer on a daily basis and find a way to leverage it.


Written by: David McGee, Consulting Partner, PwC


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