12 Sep 2016

How to navigate your business in the age of digital disruption

Digital disruption is everywhere. Whether you run a clothes shop or a large financial institution, technology has become a core part of doing business.

According to Gartner, by 2020, 75 per cent of organisations are expected to become, or prepare to become, digital businesses.[1] The 2016 CIO Agenda Survey data also showed that digitalisation is increasing. In the next five years, CIOs expect digital revenues to grow from 16 per cent to 37 per cent. Similarly, CIOs in the public sector expect a rise in digital processes from 42 per cent to 77 per cent.[2]

Today, companies can gain a competitive advantage if they find a way to effectively use digital infrastructure and the vast amounts of data it creates. Digital disruption is therefore the foundation on which companies must now build new business strategies and new technologies that will dramatically affect the overall market.

Business success is about disrupting or being disrupted, so leaders must act decisively and quickly to be able to compete successfully. With the help of a managed services provider, such as Brennan IT, businesses can effectively combine new technology with existing infrastructure to bypass disruptors in the market.

Here are Brennan IT’s key tips to navigate your business through the age of digital disruption:

  1. Consider the overall business strategy

A ‘digital strategy’ needs to be aligned with the overall business strategy for it to be successful. It can’t stand alone: instead, the digital strategy forms an inextricable part of the business strategy. This means that the entire executive team needs to align and agree on the right digital approach. Similarly, each C-suite executive must incorporate digital into their own strategies. For example, the chief marketing officer (CMO) needs to team up with the chief information officer (CIO) to forge a technology-driven marketing strategy. They in turn need to make sure the chief financial officer (CFO) frees up the funds for innovation via a flexible, informed financial strategy, which, of course, relies on technology for its accuracy and completeness. None of these strategies can be achieved without the others.

2. Put your customer at the centre

Customer-centricity is the key to success. Most companies that have leveraged digital technologies to reinvent their business have realised this. In today’s social (media) world, the customer should be at the core of everything organisations do.
To date, customer-centricity has remained a high-level concept for many companies. Digital disruptors, however, make it their mission to not just develop a customer-centric strategy, but put in place measurable actions and outline clear responsibilities. You have to get to know your customer, understand the needs and expectations of different types of customers, and target communications so customers feel as if they’re being addressed personally.
Customer-centricity should be core to the culture of your organisation, so no one second-guesses this approach and it becomes ingrained.

3. Let your data decide

One thing all digital disruptors have in common is the ways in which they use their data. There is no shortage of data these days, and digital disruptors are quick to collect all the data they can to measure, analyse, and leverage. Real-time data is even more valuable. If your company can gain access to real-time, comprehensive data to uncover new business insights, it immediately puts you in a stronger decision-making position. It lets you identify new information, trends, and patterns, so you can respond more readily to changing market conditions. As a result, supporting specific innovation becomes easier, since it’s possible to present a more compelling business case. At the same time, however, it is important to keep a single, consolidated view of your data at all times. Organisations need to remove data silos and create a single source of truth, otherwise you won’t be able to make sound business decisions.

4. Find the right technology partner

As digital disruption becomes more pervasive, the role of IT in an organisation becomes even more important. Companies should constantly review their technology needs, and identify ways to improve their business through smart partnerships and outsourcing. Working with managed services providers, such as Brennan IT, gives companies a competitive advantage, as they can combine their disruptive technologies with their own existing infrastructure.

5. Fail early, fail fast

If you want your business to be disruptive, you need to cultivate a ‘fail early, fail fast’ culture. In today’s rapid evolving marketspace, the risk of doing nothing is far greater than the risks involved in failing, as long as you don’t waste too much time and money doing so. Companies that recognise the potential of experimenting, learning, and innovating will soon learn that this guarantees long-term success, even if it means you have to encounter some speedbumps along the way.

It is important to remember that disruptive change doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can take small steps that work to help your company gain a competitive advantage. If you would like Brennan IT to help you on this journey and to find out how we can be of assistance when your business is moving through this age of disruption, you can visit http://www.brennanit.com.au or contact us on 1300 500 000.

[1] Gartner Inc: Digital Business Is Here Now; Jorge Lopez; March 18, 2015

[2] Building the digital platform: insights from the 2016 Gartner CIO agenda report: https://www.gartner.com/imagesrv/cio/pdf/cio_agenda_insights_2016.pdf