You can not just buy digital transformation

Apollo Creed

It is easy to participate in the digital transformation as a consumer – we can easily buy a smart phone, smart watch, self-driven electric car, use Google or Instagram, or shop on Amazon. But it is very hard to digitally transform a business and managers should avoid to behave like consumers by reducing the digital transformation to a shopping list and closest suppliers.

Here are the three biggest digital make-or-buy errors to avoid:

1) Depending on third party digital media
Your digital media is where your customers access your content and accept the values. Your company should own it and it should preferably be a website, optionally an app. Your customers should not access your content only on third party media such as social media and news. Even having an app is risky because it depends on algorithms developed by app stores. A strong brand takes time to develop customers engagements on its own media and minimizes dependency on third parties.

2) Depending on third party e-commerce
Companies should invest in their own e-commerce, and minimize dependency on third party e-commerce. Even if majority of sales is made via third party e-commerce, direct sales will offer relevant data and know-how. Understanding how e-commerce works, including e-commerce processes in the company will only be more valuable in time. If sales depend on third party e-commerce then all sales are at high risk because third parties can simply choose another product.

3) Not customizing sales, marketing, and customer support automation
Sales, marketing, and customer support are integral to the customer experience and creation of value. If they are not customized they will not be unique and competitive. While customizing slows down the rollout and increases costs, it is a valuable investment.

In all above cases, saving time and money in the short term will only make the company less competitive in the long term. It is important to find a balance between what is needed now and what can be improved in time. Companies that take the less traveled and painful road to internal digital transformation will be much more valuable to customers than those who want to buy their way through it. Digital transformation is not as easy as buying a smart phone, but as hard as training for a match with Apollo Creed.

Written by: Nikola Tosic
Publishing date: 3 Jul 2019