The world of digital business is opening up to a world of opportunities but also challenges and changes. Companies from all segments are preparing in various ways to thrive in this new world. Even long established segments aren´t immune to the changes that digital technologies bring.
Some initiatives can accelerate the digital transformation:
1. Participate in clients’ lives through mobile apps
Smartphones penetration in the market is booming, almost all with Internet access and a Facebook account, Instagram or other social networks. Almost no one lives without Google search & Whatsapp anymore. The impact of this to the business has several dimensions: customers with real-time information on products and prices, “word-of-mouth” on a global scale, viralization, instant feedback. This is the most visible part of the technologies.
Having a direct communication channel with customers 24 × 7, 365 days a year, is one of the biggest opportunities that Mobile technologies can offer. With that, we are literally inside our customers pocket.
But, for the customers to accept installing our app, we have to give something very valuable in return. Otherwise the customer can simply uninstall it. Remember that the competitors are “one click away”!
To solve a customer’s problem with compelling content, convenience, speed and simplicity is part of the user experience (UX). This requires imagination, creativity, experimentation and focus.
2. Extend the reach of business throught APIs
APIs have been around since the early stages of computing. But now, with everything and everyone connected through common, simple and well defined protocols, APIs have gained the ability to be accessed universally, open mode, the REST APIs.
What was once a technical tool and tactic for integration between systems, has now become a strategic opportunity, a channel to expand the business by bringing new revenue streams and enabling open innovation.
As the Mobile extends business towards clients, the APIs can extend it toward other companies that may use our services to explore opportunities that are not directly within reach.
To be openly explored the APIs should be managed as products with defined lifecycle, versioning, marketing strategies, pricing models and billing. After all, other businesses will depend on them and a professional relationship and quality is key.
Another major challenge is the renewal of core systems that provide data and functions for APIs. Security, confidentiality, scalability and flexibility, among others, should be considered in this renewal. It´s not an easy task but the business will be rewarded with a dynamic and innovative environment.
3. Get closer with customers with big data and Internet of Things
Its a fact that digital technologies generate an enormous amount of data, many times greater than the capacity of the traditional structures of BI or even business’s ability to use this data for any decision making.
Internet of Things, wearables and connected sensors are further expanding the amount of data that can be used to determine the business, products and customers context.
Technologies associated with the term big data, running on the highly scalable cloud structures are opening a new era in the use of artificial intelligence algorithms, analytics and machine learning for decision making.
As these technologies are becoming increasingly accessible, the main constraint now is vision and imagination of how we use data to leverage business through more personalized products and services, anticipating customer needs, improving user experience and increasing efficiency. The possibilities are many and some of them are yet to be discovered.
4. Scale business with cloud
The other side of the digital revolution, far less visible but no less important, is the impact that new technologies have on the viability of solutions to problems that were too complex or were prohibitively expensive in the past. For example, to support an application to serve millions of users was only for companies with large IT structures. Today, with cloud technologies, it is possible for any startup. To get an idea of this impact, Whatsapp application used to serve tens of millions of active members with a staff of only 6 engineers. Not bad for a “small” startup.
The question we must ask is no longer “if” we should go to the cloud, but “what” we can scale immediately in the cloud.
A key aspect of the cloud is that it gives us the possibility to automate IT processes, increasing productivity of professionals by several orders of magnitude. But to take advantage of these opportunities a new approach is needed using Agile and DevOps Engineering, bringing developers and infrastructure managers together to create automated processes of IT management.
Summing up, to seize opportunities in this new frontier of modern IT requires a new way of thinking and acting, new skills, abilities and ways of tracking the successful initiatives and learn from failures.
In the digital world, with multiple paths to follow, the best guide is to integrate all these initiatives in a clear vision of the future and secure the agility to adapt to changes and uncertainties in a transforming world.