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Four Trends for Successful Digital Transformation

Dana Huey

By Dana Huey, Senior Relationship Manager of Commercial Banking for Bank of America in Iowa

Technological innovation is integrated throughout the daily operations of companies across industries. According to a recent Accenture report, “future-ready” organizations – those that are resilient enough to survive a disruption – are twice as efficient and three times as profitable as their peers.

Of course, being located in the innovative Midwest gives Iowa and Des Moines an advantage when it comes to digital information. Iowa has over 10 fiber companies competing for high-speed internet lines along with countless new infrastructure  projects underway in recent years, which gives the Des Moines metro area ample access to networks traveling in all directions.

Being a leader in agriculture also gives Iowa a solid technological advantage. Statewide, industry experts come together in Iowa to learn and collaborate on new precision technologies serving our nation’s food supply, thus having an impact on almost all business sectors.

While the future is bright, it can also be blinding. With so much innovation moving so fast, businesses must see clearly enough to create their own digital roadmaps. Regardless of a firm’s industry or stage in its journey, knowing where to focus is the first step toward building a resilient future. We have identified four “megatrends” from a recent Bank of America report that will help companies navigate their digital transformation.

#1 – Moving to the Cloud

AI, automation and the cloud are more than technological trends, they are key forces to organizations looking to adapt to digital transformation. Cloud computing also makes the Internet of Things (IoT) possible, which is quickly becoming the Internet of Every Thing. A Juniper Research study found that the number of global industrial IoT connections will more than double to 36.8 billion in 2025, primarily because 5G connections and cloud computing will make real-time data transmissions made possible.

The cloud is not just a game-changer in how business gets done, but also a catalyst for new innovation. Mid-sized companies should consider a cloud readiness assessment to determine when and how best to adopt cloud computing by making a list of common tasks that could be improved with greater automation or faster connectivity.

#2 – Reinventing Marketing

Successful businesses value and nurture their customer relationships, especially in a post-pandemic world where people are reevaluating and redefining their interactions. Forrester notes that more marketers are realizing the mistake of separating customer acquisition from customer retention. Merging them is not only critical but in some cases requires reinventing the entire marketing function.

The focus on customers should be front and center, and data is the key. We can expect to see an increase toward more retention-based marketing—by as much as 30%, according to Forrester—and a move beyond purchase frequency rewards programs to true “loyalty” programs that foster stronger ongoing engagement. Overall, companies should review their marketing mix and determine if customer acquisition and retention are aligned.

#3 – Collaborating to Make it Work

Whether large or small, companies should encourage their teams to drive innovation through collaboration. Business leaders can get caught up in concepts that seem innovative but have no real ties to their priorities. The goal of collaboration should be to solve challenges and create real value.

Companies can  create impactful collaboration by aligning internal resources like IT and information security to integrate solutions or evaluate new technology to save time and money. The focus should be on solving for needs.

#4- Looking Beyond Your Organization

External partnerships are just as crucial as internal ones, especially during periods of long-term transformation, intense change, or crisis.

Digital transformation is a marathon, not a sprint—as such, these initiatives require input from all relevant sources. McKinsey & Company offered this advice: Look beyond the boundaries of your own company across enterprises to include your channel partners, vendors and suppliers. Chances are they are willing to collaborate and share data and learnings to help ensure everyone thrives.

Ultimately, whether it’s the cloud or AI, customer data or collaboration, digital transformation must be grounded in serving customers while reducing risk. New technology is exciting, but there will always be new technology—what matters is choosing the right technology to stay competitive and make the digital experience seamless for customers and employees alike.

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