Two decades ago, I had just moved to the USA for my graduate studies. It fascinated me that I could print out driving directions from the MapQuest website. Soon after, it was possible to order used textbooks from Amazon.com as opposed to buying new ones from our university bookshop. Shortly thereafter, there was an option to take some of my classes online. Luckily, home internet was available. Back in Kenya, the concept of Cybercafés was growing exponentially in major towns. Kenyans were starting to use emails as a means of communication and searching online was picking. Cybercafés soon become a trademark for accessing the internet. Since then, so much more has happened. In the last two decades, the digital revolution has spread globally. As such, businesses hoping to survive have had no option but to embrace the digital revolution.
At the center of the digital revolution are a myriad of digital technologies and the connectivity offered through the internet. Even though many of us may not comprehend what has been happening in the back-end of the digital revolution, every day we experience these advancements. The smartphone, digital applications, social media, data analytics, enterprise resource planning systems etc. are some of the technological advancements that continue to define the world of business today. These technologies have fully transformed business operations and customer interactions. They have made it easier for businesses to run their operations in a more systematic, seamless and centralized manner. Businesses are more than ever before interconnected with their staff, customers, suppliers and partners. In particular, customers are spoilt for choice. Products and services are available any time anywhere.
It is unbelievable just how much a customer can do with their smartphone or on their computers. It is no longer just about calling texting or emailing. Customers are using different digital applications on their telephone or computers to make pre-purchase comparisons, place orders, make purchases, keep track of their transactions, transmit information, store information, share experiences, transform information, make predictions and much more. Digital technologies have changed how businesses and customers interact. Today, many customers are using digital technologies and others are living in digital spaces. As a smart business, are you intentional about reaching out to customers in those spaces and making it possible for them to interact with your business? Have you built a community of customers that you will experiment with as you walk the digital transformation journey?
The digital transformation journey continues. It is not easy to predict how that future will look like. However, it is true to say that only those businesses that adapt fast enough will survive in the long run. As customers experience new ways of doing business, their expectations continue to rise. As a forward-looking business, it is important to study global trends in your industry and beyond. In addition, it is crucial to take action today to win your customers and stay ahead of others in your industry. What is your business doing to survive in a world where digital advancements continue to cause major disruptions?
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via Twitter @KiruthuLucy