By Irma Hunkeler
Today, technology is moving more quickly than businesses are. The days of rigid models, well-worn ways of doing things and established patterns of thinking are pretty much obsolete. The current watchword when it comes to business progression is ‘digital disruption,’ or the impact that emerging technologies have on the way we do business, the value of our products and services and the ways in which we interact with our consumers. Here are three ways you can turn digital disruption into a competitive advantage in 2018.
Flexibility is your friend
Business processes have moved from the brittle to the flexible. Look at IT. Large, complex and bulky legacy IT infrastructures have given way to pliable, cloud-based structures that are easier to implement and even take up less physical space. Many companies are turning to laptop hire as an alternative to buying IT equipment outright. For one thing, it can work out cheaper. For another, it gives businesses the opportunity to use such equipment only as and when they need it. This is also true when it comes to employment. Some firms are opting to use freelance staff instead of permanent staff for certain projects — it helps with flexibility and keeping costs down.
Relationships, not connections
Let’s get a little personal. In the business-customer dynamic, digital disruption now means a company’s interaction with its consumers is one that’s emotional, personal and bespoke. Businesses have relationships, not connections, with their customer base. Why? Well, customers increasingly expect tailor-made experiences — they won’t settle for one-size-fits-all. Intimacy is the buzzword here. That’s why social media is now the place where most companies manage much of their customer service. On Twitter, for example, customers can engage with a business directly from their smartphone or laptop, interacting with a named employee in the process. This is a great example of the personalised service digital tools help provide.
Transforming your employees
Digital change doesn’t only affect your products and the way you speak to your customers. It impacts significantly on your employees too. Today, digital technology means you can allow your staff to work remotely — from home, working spaces or elsewhere. Cloud-based tools like Google Drive also make it possible for your team to collaborate on projects from wherever they are, all at the same time. With a strong link between remote working and productivity, flexible working practices benefit both employer and employee.
Irma Hunkeler works for BlueGlass.co.uk, a digital marketing agency. Her experience includes working for clients in different industries such as travel, retail, recruitment, technology and charitable institutions. Meeting professionals from different fields allows her to collaborate with industry experts for her writing.