There’s no question that the need for businesses to evolve for the digital age is here; it’s no longer something companies can put off. Now, it’s just a question of how to get started. When looking at the competitive landscape, there are certain companies that always seem to just get it and manage to stay far ahead of the curve. Airbnb, Amazon, and Tesla are just a few who have managed to completely disrupt their industries by innovating with digital technology.
While your organization may not be the next Uber or Google, there are certain strengths you can nurture and develop to put your company on the path to winning in the digital age. Every company in every industry who is succeeding in today’s digital world has made it a priority to focus on one or more of the following attributes:
- Customer Obsession: exceeding customer expectations, even before the customer knows what they want. Companies who are obsessed with their customers listen with an open mind, immediately respond, and are agile enough to make adjustments quickly.
- Product Velocity: rolling out features, new products, and customer experiences at an unprecedented rate. These companies have learned to fail fast; not every iteration will be perfect, but learning from mistakes will result in a superior product or experience.
- Innovation Infused: a company that thrives on a culture of innovation is constantly evolving to surprise and delight the customer in new ways, well ahead of the competition.
- Data Driven: the art of making smart decisions, at the right time, with the right data. Companies who are primarily driven by data take the guess work out of success.
- Cloud Powered: today, innovation and competitive advantage cannot be achieved without the cost-savings, security, and advanced capabilities of being in the cloud.
It’s important to note that it is not possible to be successful at all 5 strengths at any given time. No company in the world has the time, money, or resources to achieve this. Instead, it’s better to think of the strengths as levers that you can pull at different times in your organization’s life cycle or based on your current business model. Any company that excels at least one of these strengths will be “winning in digital” and will stay far ahead of the competition.
Long gone are the days when the highest paid person in the room made decisions based on experience or gut feeling; digital technology allows us to make smarter decisions, that exceed the needs and expectations of customers. Below we’ve compiled some company examples who are being publicly recognized for being at the top of their digital game and achieving astounding results by dedicating their business model to one or more of the 5 digital strengths.
Strength #1 – Customer Obsession: McDonalds
What They Did:
In an effort to ramp up the commitment to putting customers at the heart of everything they do, the company has launched an initiative to update all 14,000 U.S. restaurants with self-service kiosk ordering, mobile payments, “smart” menu boards, custom sandwiches, and table service. “For the best part of our 60 years we’ve asked customers to fit around our business model.” said McDonald’s CEO. Now the company is adapting its “business to fit around customers.”
The considerable investment in self-service technology signals a shift in strategy for McDonald’s. Creating a seamless digital customer experience will help to win back the loyalty of customers. There was an 8% sales growth last year in downtown London as a result of the technology (Fortune). Furthermore, such efforts have helped feed both the company’s stock price and sales growth at its restaurants. Over the last year, McDonald’s shares have surged nearly 30% (Fox Business).
McDonald’s Self Serving Kiosks
Strength #2 – Product Velocity: LinkedIn
What They Did:
LinkedIn recently rolled out two Talent Solutions product updates: a new InMail Analytics Report and Today’s Job Matches on LinkedIn mobile. The InMail Analytics report in LinkedIn Recruiter provides insights into InMail usage and performance for recruiting teams. With more than 10 million jobs available on LinkedIn, Today’s Job Matches on the LinkedIn mobile app are increasing the visibility for jobs and making job discovery more relevant and seamless.
There are nearly 10 million jobs on LinkedIn, and roughly 20 million members view jobs on LinkedIn each week, up 2x from two years ago. This evolution of LinkedIn recruiting tools has increased average response rates by 20% (Inc Magazine).
Strength #3 – Innovative Passion: Domino’s Pizza
What They Did:
Domino’s recently established a digital-everywhere strategy. A focus on technology has changed how customers order (using the Domino’s app, or directly via twitter, or even by texting an emoji); how they monitor the status of their order; and how Domino’s manages its operations. Beyond technology, the company also spiced up the company’s image as well as its products.
In 2010, the company’s stock price was $8.76 per share. Fast forward today and it’s approaching $160 per share, an increase of 1726%. The company considers themselves not in the pizza business, but in the technology business, they just happen to make pizza (HBR).
Strength #4 – Data-Driven: GE
What They Did:
Although GE’s business is healthy, executives realized years ago that the company was vulnerable to disruption unless it learned to use data for strategic advantage. GE decided to solidify its customer relationships and develop new revenue streams by mining the treasure trove of information generated by its industrial equipment. GE’s CEO declared that the company needed to become a software and analytics company and invested $1 billion in a software development center in San Ramon, California, and hired 1,500 Silicon Valley vets to drive its digital transformation.
Today, software is a $6 billion business for GE and growing, thanks to innovations like sensors in aircraft engines. GE uses data from these sensors to create customized maintenance schedules that save customers money and keep aircraft aloft longer (HP).
Strength #5 – Cloud-Powered: AIG
What They Did:
AIG launched a strategic restructuring to simplify its organization and boost operational efficiency. AIG applied machine learning in its IT shop by automating the IT ticket system by creating ARIES’s (the company’s first machine learning virtual engineer). The virtual engineer can automatically identify unhealthy devices, perform diagnostic tests to determine the cause, and log in to implement restorative repairs or escalate to a technician with “advice.”
Today more than 140,000 tickets are being resolved without the need for an employee. The company was able to re-deploy IT workers to do more impactful projects. Within six months of ARIES’s deployment, automation identified and fixed more than 60% of outages (Deloitte).
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