Stop using “digital transformation” to describe your business

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The widespread adoption of home Internet connections in the 1990s led to the commoditization of online banking. That was over 30 years ago. So why are lenders still flaunting a “digital transformation” and “digital first” approach as if it means anything today?

A recent ad for a student loan company may have reignited my distaste for these meaningless buzzwords, but it highlighted an important message that I want to convey to any companies that still use this provocative terminology. .

The digital revolution has already happened

There is no doubt that the world has gone through a period of digital transformation. What started as widgets turned into apps that now house countless services and businesses. Meanwhile, the powerful little computers we keep in our pockets have become the engine of around 72% of online sales.

These milestones define the term “digital transformation.” And that’s why a lending company calling its online process a “digital-first strategy” is, frankly, unworthy of sharing labels with the most impactful innovations the world has seen so far.

Companies looking for buzzwords like “digital transformation” don’t need to go so far as to fire their marketing team or question their corporate values. But with that being said, it’s time for them to focus on something that more accurately reflects the meaning these companies are looking for when opting for these terms.

Related: How Entrepreneurs are Capitalizing on Digital Transformation in the Era of the “New Normal”

Digital buzzwords fail to express what really matters

While we agree that digital transformation is something much bigger than any business plan or strategy, some leaders still cling to slightly more specific terms like “digital procurement” to explain their processes. . While this may seem like a step in the right direction, it’s actually a perfect example of how many businesses still fail to recognize what really deserves attention.

The “digital” is already here and here to stay – it’s the Data behind the digital interfaces that matter more than ever. Companies should abandon the focus on digital and instead go deeper, paying attention to the increased collection, management and use of data that is helping the world’s largest companies compete at an unprecedented scale. previous.

When Amazon, one of the biggest companies in the world known for pioneering fast delivery, started selling fresh produce and pantry items, it seemed like a lot of people thought Walmart was screwed. Yet Walmart has invested heavily in data processing, helping them to better meet consumer needs.

Now, Walmart has cornered around 20% of the online grocery market, beating Amazon. This is the power of data transformation.

Related: Amazon Versus Walmart is a Model for Competitive Advantage

Focusing on data impacts the entire business

When companies abandon terms like “digital-first” and start exploring avenues in the field of data transformation, it’s not just a change in terminology. By shifting to a data-driven model, companies open up a world of opportunities that have the potential to impact every element of the business.

Data transformation has informed strategic decision-making for Walmart, ultimately allowing the mega-corporation to compete with a company many times its size and win. But, in addition to using all this data behind the scenes, Walmart also used it to completely redesign the customer experience.

Airbnb is another great example of using data to shape a customer’s perception of a business. The company competes with hotels and other 24-hour booking sites, but it manages to win thanks to the way it uses data to facilitate the customer journey and add value to the customer experience. reservation.

Airbnb does this by identifying in real time when a user is hesitant to book a stay and offering them a discount or reminding them that an area is already almost fully booked for the month they wish to travel. While very effective marketing tactics, these examples of big data at work have also made Airbnb one of the most responsive and user-friendly apps of its kind.

But how do you unlock the value of your company’s data internally and externally to refine your edge?

Related: How Businesses Can Save Time and Money With Smart Buying Strategies

Drive your point home

No matter how succinct, witty, or charming you try, the message your business shares should always have clear meaning to anyone who encounters it. That’s why you should walk on the toes of digital transformation, and that’s why you should be more specific about what you actually mean.

By moving away from vague buzzwords that start with “digital” and making it clear what’s going on in your business when it comes to data, you’ll find that fewer people will roll their eyes when they read about your business. As a result, you can genuinely resonate with your audience, foster understanding, and get people interested in what your business is trying to accomplish.

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