Embracing Digital: The Challenges and Opportunities

Published 19 December 2018 by Leah Hendre

Last week, we introduced the new Circus Street Advisory Board, a discussion panel that we’ve developed as a way of collecting knowledge and insights from industry experts, and making sure that we’re delivering content on the topics that you need to know about.

Our first Advisory Board focused on Business Challenges and Opportunities for 2019. You can read more about the key themes that came out of our first board here, but there was one theme in particular that seemed to be on everyone's minds - the need for organisations to fully embrace digital.

Everyone around the table recognised that both at a business and an individual level, fully embracing digital would offer the broadest range of opportunities in today’s world. But that said, it’s certainly not without its own challenges.

One of the biggest concerns for businesses, whether you’re a small company or a huge multinational conglomerate, is organisational structure. For many businesses undertaking a digital transformation, there’s the dilemma of whether to hire a Chief Information Officer, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Data Officer or even a full-on Digital Transformation Officer - roles which often overlap in responsibilities and are dependent on the needs of the business in question.

Then there’s the question of 'breaking down silos'. As more industries adopt agile methods of working, businesses still using traditional ‘waterfall’ approaches are likely to fall behind. And the same is true of approaches to digital. If your teams aren’t well integrated and able to work together, or if digital is just seen as ‘someone else’s job’, you’re unlikely to see the benefits of your digital transformation. Creating a shared mentality by getting teams to work together on problem-solving exercises or during group learning sessions, could be a great start.

What if, sometimes, it all just feels a little overwhelming? The rate of change associated with digital is staggering, and with new platforms, competitors and regulations to contend with, it can feel never-ending. As difficult as it might be for say, a business used to traditional, physical retail to transition to eCommerce, that’s a big change for people too. Whether you’re managing a team, or grappling with your own digital concerns, try not to lose sight of the fact that you are a customer too. You probably carry out searches every day, shop online and have certain expectations about how a mobile app should work. And your customers will have these same experiences and expectations; you just need to find the ways to meet them.

And finally, we couldn’t talk about digital without mentioning data. Now, more so than ever, businesses and their customers are acutely aware of the collection and use of personal data. Data privacy and security have become the big buzzwords of 2018, with leaks and data breaches never far from the headlines. But for businesses, the hardest part is often knowing what to do with the data you collect. When everyone has different metrics, targets and parameters, how do you measure success? Whatever you’re doing, whether it’s planning a new marketing campaign or undergoing a digital transformation, a key part of your strategy needs to be setting goals and objectives. From there, you can work out which metrics and KPIs will help you achieve those goals - or at least see how close you are. Someone else’s metrics might be great for them, but they might not necessarily help you, so think carefully about what matters to your business.

In this fast-paced and technology-driven world, both businesses and individual need to fully embrace digital to take advantage of the opportunities that are available today. It is the companies that make that leap and stay ahead of the curve that will ultimately enjoy business success in the new digital landscape.

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