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Unpacking Adopting vs. Harnessing Digital Transformation

Yeah, yeah, digital transformation is a big freakin’ deal, we all know that by now. To stay relevant and on the technological forefront, brands need to be open to evolving, unafraid to try new things, and constantly iterating on their practices to make sure they’re staying up-to-date and optimized. You’ve heard, ad nauseum, that brands need to adopt digital transformation (heck, we’ve probably even said it), but is adopting it really enough?

What else is there? Harnessing it.

There’s a difference between adopting and truly harnessing digital transformation to bring your customer experience to the next level. In this post we’ll look at the differences between adopting digital transformation and harnessing it to elevate your brand presence and customer experience.

Adopting Digital Transformation

If you’ve adopted digital transformation, you’ve taken it under your wing. You’ve come to terms with the fact that digital transformation needs to happen and you can no longer ignore the evolving world around you.

Adoption is basically the first step to digitally transforming your brand. But, it’s not always easy.

Overcoming Resistance to Change

According to the B2B News Network, “54% of companies found members to be resistant to digital adoption.” It’s not a simple feat to get your employees on board with new programs and tools that could improve the customer experience because, as a result of adopting new technology, it may add friction to the employees’ day-to-day, or even replace them altogether.

The Economist pointed out that the fear of being replaced by robots and automated processes has crept back into the lives of employees. Specifically, they blamed the pandemic for churning up these feelings. “Another cause for anxiety has been businesses’ strategies for coping with the pandemic. Anecdotes of covid-motivated automation are easy to find. Many organisations have turned to software to automate paper-processing tasks that cannot be done by homebound workers.”

The Customer Experience

Adopting digital transformation is taking the first steps to creating an optimized customer experience. Understanding technological capabilities ensures brands have the ability to collect data and start using that data to create unique experiences.

Take abandoned cart emails, for example. If someone shops on your website, adds a product to their cart, then leaves your site without buying the item, that’s data. You can easily follow up with a templated email, featuring the product they abandoned and a coupon to encourage them to purchase. This is just the beginning though. There’s more personalization capabilities when the power of digital transformation is fully harnessed.

Adoption is acceptance. It’s getting your team on board to overcome fear and learning curves and put in the work to determine the most helpful and effective tools for your brand.

Harnessing Digital Transformation

Harnessing digital transformation is what happens once employees are no longer afraid of emerging technological capabilities. When employees can take full advantage of the benefits from new tools and processes, brands will begin to harness the power of digital transformation.

Expanding Capabilities

Digital transformation can actually create new jobs and opportunities. Harvard Business Review, for example, points out that globalization is much more achievable with new technologies. “New business models—digital platform firms—have been able to evolve rapidly from local start-ups to global behemoths, often with few employees or tangible assets.”

Think about it. Since the onset of the pandemic (and maybe even before that), how many Zoom calls have you had with people in different time zones, spread out across the globe? Technology allows us to forgo the physical in exchange for increased flexibility. Recruiters can dip into talent pools that weren’t options before.

The Customer Experience

When it comes to the customer experience, harnessing digital transformation is taking the data you already have, from digital adoption, and centralizing it to create a personalized, unique experience across various marketing channels.

With zero-party data, directly from customers, plus data you’ve collected like purchase or browsing history, timezone, preferences, etc. consolidated into one location, you’ll be able to create workflows for each individual customer, based on how and where they want to engage with your brand. Harnessing a digital transformation gives brands the ability to deliver what customers expect. With technological changes come new purchasing expectations. Personalization from harnessing digital transformation builds in-depth customer relationships, increasing customer lifetime value.

Harnessing digital transformation removes the resistance to change and allows brands to take in all that new technology has to offer. Rather than thinking about how technology can change what already is, harnessing digital transformation gives brands the opportunity to completely rethink what already is, and to create net-new experiences.

Clarifying the Difference

Adopting digital transformation is when you make your brand work for the technology you’re trying to implement. It’s similar to fitting a square peg in a round hole. While still ahead of the curve by initiating a transformation, adopting transformation is trying to make new technologies work just for the sake of adopting.

Harnessing digital transformation, on the other hand, is when your brand makes technology work for you. It’s when instead of staying inside your pre-existing box, you flip systems on their head, based on the new technology that’s available. Your intent here is to transform your operations.

When you switch from adopting technology just to say you did it to utilizing new technology to optimize your workflows and become more efficient, the harnessing can really begin. While adopting new technologies and being open to change is vital for your brand’s digital transformation journey, harnessing the technology to streamline processes will help your brand get the most out of your digital transformation.

Take the Digital Transformation Assessment to find out where your brand is in its digital transformation journey.

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