2whatDigital transformation unfolds a wide range of opportunities, as well as challenges and risks, which affect business strategies, cultures and processes fundamentally. Within companies, almost all areas are affected by this change:

• The "business model" includes divisions such as product development or product marketing. A good example that crosses my mind, for example, is Amazon's Kindle. Within a few years, the company managed to revolutionize paperless reading, and innovatively competed with the printed book.

• The "process digitization" includes mainly the IT departments, and processes and services in particular. E-invoicing, for instance, is a good example here: All kind of companies started to send invoices to their clients by email, while only a few are still sending through the post -and then usually only upon request.

• In “customer experience” and related communication the focus is on optimizing all touchpoints to be able to provide a seamless customer journey. Today’s businesses cannot avoid dealing with this issue, if they want to remain competitive.

What kept companies so far from starting the necessary change is a strong silo mentality and competitiveness; a generally low acceptance of change among the staff; or a demanding core business, that leaves no room for thinking about anything else.

Of course, companies cannot simply be all lumped together, hence, a distinction between four different 'digitizing types" might bear a helping hand:

1. There are the "beginners" that have not yet really progressed in their digital transformation. They may have a Twitter or Facebook account, which is sporadically filled with content (if at all), but the effects and consequences don’t seem to have reached the consciousness of this specific group, yet.

2. The "fashionistas" are already a bit more advanced, but still lack coherent thinking. Regardless of content, the numerous channels they use are fueled by no strategy.

3. The "conservatives" already learned that processes, business models and the topic ‘customer experience’, must go hand in hand to succeed, but they could still not transfer this knowledge to their daily activities. Well, at least they are on the right track.

4.  The "digeratis" are already on the right path, as they are the ones who have recognized how the ‘digital transformation’ works and even started to live it in their business processes. They look at all the elements of their marketing strategy as part of a cycle - where the marketing, sales and services divisions form a corporate unity.

To date, it is still common that all the processes, tools, channels and the necessary content, are considered and edited separately. Therefore, an implementation and reaction isn’t easily possible overnight, but rather depends on the right strategy.

Accenture described it in their blog the following way: “There’s a growing divide between companies that view digital technology as a tool for improving existing business activities—digital followers—and those that see it as something much more profound—digital transformers”. According to Accenture, the difference between the two groups is, that digital transformers focus more on growth, excel in channels, sales, new services, and customer experiences, and place greater importance on digital technologies across the board, while digital followers concentrate on efficiency.

By Daniela La Marca