Business digitalization is a concept that has been around for some time. By 2025, the number of devices connected to the internet is projected to be at least 75.44 billion.
The world as we know it is getting more connected and this opens up the era of the digital business.
Now that the digital future is here, economies, governments, companies, organizations, can now consciously adopt or wait for change to dictate that they go digital.
Since the beginning of this century, the world has witnessed emergence of successful global digital business like Airbnb, Amazon, Jumia, Uber to mention but a few. One of the things these companies have in common is that each of them “digitalized their business.”
It has been rightly said that the last ten years of IT have been about changing how people work. The next ten years of IT will be about transforming your business.
In this article we will be sharing what business digitalization is, how it differs from business digitization and its relevance to today’s company or business.
Business digitalization: What it means.
Business digitalization is in itself a bigger concept because it is related to several aspects of society. We are hearing of digitalization of government, health care, transport, manufacturing, insurance, and marketing and many other sectors. In the context of business, it refers to the use of digital technologies (infrastructure and applications) to change a business model for the purpose of providing new revenue and value producing opportunities.
It basically refers to the use of technology to acquire a competitive edge through efficiency, cost reduction and value addition while leveraging both existing and emerging technologies.
It involves using technology as an enabler to facilitate different aspects and functions of the organisation.
Difference from business digitization
Now that we know what business digitalization is, how does it differ from business digitization?
Many people often confuse the two concepts and you will find that they have been interchangeably used in different parts of literature but they do not actually mean the same thing.
First of all, we cannot achieve business digitalization without business digitization. We defined business digitization as the transformation of business information (paper and process) into digital formats for the purpose of automating business processes.
The movement from traditional systems (processes) to digital systems (processes) calls for digital information hence the need for digitization of business information and processes (business digitization). It is from business digitization that we can now digitalize the aspects and functions of the business.
Digitalization is the road towards digital business and digital transformation.
Relevance to business
“We should no longer be talking about digital marketing but rather marketing in a digital world.”- Keith Weed.
The only constant is change and in this era of volatility, business leaders are required to identify trends, adopt changes and wisely re-invent their businesses if they are to survive. Adopting current technologies in the business process will give your business a sustainable advantage over others.
Business digitalization will guarantee speed and agility, cost saving and effectiveness and process autonomy and efficiency.
Merits of business digitalization.
Scaling of operations.
Business digitalization is enabling organizations scale operations globally. Global companies like Airbnb, Uber, are better able to manage the fast growing operations worldwide through digitalization of their businesses
Costs and finances
The digitalization of business ensure efficient use of resources like time and also reduces investment costs. Take an example of Uber, it has almost four million cars on its platform. The cost of this number of cars would be at least $60 billion. Digitalization of their business helps them reinvent the process and reduce investment costs. You too can!
Consistency and quality globally. With business digitalization, businesses are able to maintain the integrity of the quality of their product in all the markets in which they participate. Businesses can also tailor their products to the demands of the various markets in which they are players. In other words, the businesses can respond to customer demands in a very short time.
Business digitalization provides the advantage of a business being able to reach a global market. This implies the business is able to appeal to a greater audience.
Advantage of analytics. The other advantage is that a business is able to benefit from real time analytics regarding customer markets, reactions to business products from customers and moves from competitors.
Flexibility of staff. Business digitalization also provides flexibility to the employees of an organisation as they do not have to always report to the traditional work station in order to conduct their duties. Digitalization enables employees remotely perform their duties while ensuring that the organisation continues in normalcy.
Better work stations. Businesses digitalization has been reported to improve the physical environment in several organizations as it reduces the clutter associated with the traditional (non- digitized) businesses.
Improved accessibility and customer response. With business digitalization, the business is better able to reach the customer and vice versa. This implies that the customer has the opportunity to influence the design of the product or service. This results into better customer service for the business.
Improved (reduced) customer response time and service globally. Businesses can also leverage current technologies to improve customer response time in order to satisfy their customers.
Business digitalization facilitates innovation as it presents businesses with a lot of data and information relevant to decision making. This data and information is that which is collected from the markets, industry, competitors.
With digitalized businesses, business owners, leaders can easily integrate business simulation models to help them anticipate, re-invent and innovate.
Business digitalization ensures full integration of digital information to improve efficiency in data processing from within and outside the organisation. This improves accessibility to better information and facilitates smooth information exchange within and outside the business place.
New business models
With business digitalization, businesses are able to experiment with and apply new business models. An example may be the reduction of the number of middle men in a supply chain.
“At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years… if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.”- John Chambers | executive chairman, CISCO System
“Digital is the main reason why over half of the Fortune 500 companies have disappeared since the year 2000”- Pierre Nanterme.
Embracing the necessary change is one of the qualities of timeless businesses. Most of the businesses that have failed over time, failed because they were rigid and refused to embrace the future. With this pace of technological advancement, businesses should willfully adjust their strategies to provide for business digitalization. If business are to survive, they should embrace technology as it emerges in order to remain competitive.