Digital change: are you mainstream, a fast follower or an innovator?


“The pace of digital change is creating new opportunities for our customers and those opportunities require quick responses.” Luis Alvarez, CEO of Global Services, BT.

Are you recognising the new opportunities that digital change is creating for your customers, and how to respond?

Two recent surveys by BT and Gartner highlight the critical role that business leaders play in transforming their organisations by embracing digital.

According to BT’s survey of 1,030 senior IT decision makers based in eleven countries, CIOs around the world are embracing digital transformation to reinvent their organisations’ processes and systems. 72% of senior IT decision makers say that the CIO has become more central in the boardroom over the last two years, and CIOs are clear on the most disruptive technology trends like cloud, mobility and collaboration, and data. Also a fifth of global organisations are already completely cloud-centric, and a further 46% have more than half their applications and infrastructure in the cloud, although for the UK/Ireland the figures are lower, at 13% and 31% respectively.

Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, has recently published a report based on the results of its most recent CEO survey. Almost 400 leaders of large organisations across the world took part in the survey during the last quarter of 2015, and the results show that many CEOs expect their industries to be transformed by digital.

Many more CEOs see their companies as innovation leaders today than when a similar question was last asked, in 2013. In the latest survey, 80% of CEOs think their companies are pioneers or fast followers in their industries, with only 20% choosing to describe their companies as ‘mainstream’.

The survey also found that CEOs believe that the ‘digital’ value their customers perceive and pay for is increasing. Gartner believes this is one of the big shifts that distinguishes digital business.
Though digital marketing and e-commerce continues to grow, Gartner says that ‘remastering your product for the digital age’ is now the bigger issue to conquer, and companies must benchmark against born-digital and tech companies, not just existing competitors.

Britain’s resilient property market has fuelled a growth of online estate agents, and investors are warming to a new business model whose fees often undercut those of traditional estate agents. Some analysts have even compared the ‘disruptive’ technology-driven new businesses with the success of taxi-hailing service Uber, which is challenging old-fashioned taxi services.

Do you ever compare your business model to other companies outside of the residential property sector? What might the property sector learn from other businesses that are embracing digital and the added benefits it can give their business and their customers?

Is there anything to be learned from Amazon’s growth strategy of giving consumers lower prices, wide selection, and great service? Those words are easy to say and hard to make real for each of its hundreds of millions of customers around the world. But Amazon has invested in warehouses and new marketing programs to back up its strategy. It is speeding up shipping times thanks in part to increasing their number of warehouses, plus it is able to use its extensive server base and online capabilities to push additional services, like Amazon Prime, to provide unlimited streaming of films and TV programs. Added to this, their strategy for Europe expansion includes armchair grocery shopping, where it can use its extensive logistics network to delivery non-traditional products like groceries.

The internet has transformed the way we search for property, but most of us still rely on traditional High Street estate agents when buying and selling houses. It’s reported that around 90 percent of property is sold when customers contact a traditional estate agency after a search on websites like Rightmove and Zoopla. How long this remains the case is the subject of considerable ongoing debate.

Digital is also transforming estate and letting agencies in other critical areas of business, including cloud-based back office software, online repairs software, digital touchscreens, virtual reality property tours and app-based property reporting software.

Where do you sit on the digital spectrum; are you in the mainstream, a fast follower or an innovator remastering your business for the digital age?

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