Kick Off Those Comfortable Slippers And Digitally Transform Your Company

Kick Off Those Comfortable Slippers And Digitally Transform Your Company

By now most business executives throughout Ireland are well aware of the digital economy being either an opportunity or a threat. And on that basis they need to decide whether they should fully engage their business in it or not.

Evidence shows that dynamic companies in growth mode need only decide how to unleash the power of digital technology while continuing to maintain a healthy business and leveraging their existing IT investments.

According to some recent industry studies, only 15 per cent of CEOs are executing a digital strategy, even though 90 per cent agree that the digital economy will impact their industry. As these businesses ignore this reality, early adopters of digital transformation are creating 9 per cent higher revenue, 26 per cent more profitability, and 12 per cent more market share.

So why aren’t more of our local business leaders willing to grasp the challenge to transform their businesses and enjoy all the benefits that could follow in its wake? The answer is about how we often function as human beings! We often stick with what we’ve got and feel very uncomfortable with “change”. We find comfort in stability and predictability and the new dynamic digital economy is nothing like this – it’s fast and furious and always changing.

So what is this “digital transformation” and how do companies get involved with it? One way to answer this is to highlight a well-known company that grasped the importance of it and how they are taking advantage of their efforts.

‘Under Armour’ are no longer a widely popular athletic brand just selling shoes and sports clothing. They are connecting 38 million people on a digital platform. By focusing on this services side of the business, Under Armour is poised to become a lifestyle advisor and health consultant, using its product side as the best way to enable followers to follow through on (their) healthy living advice.

Digital transformation is not just about technology, collecting data or using the latest smart devices in isolation. Digital transformation is often about using a combination of these. Like Under Armour, you may only use the social media to shape buying trends or combine the use of company data with external data, like weather or road conditions, to alter logistical schedules and become more efficient in delivering products to customers or a business channel.

Many companies, without the intention to be so, are already on the path of becoming a digitally transformed company. The developing use of LinkedIn by many business executives and its bolt-on ‘Sales Navigator’ is often a first step for directors and CEOs to enter the digital world of business.

One major requirement of a business becoming digitally enabled is that of the lead taken at the very head of the business. This could be a social media strategy to become a thought leader or educator in a particular industry. It could also be the foresight to engage in research into how and what new technology could provide a competitive advantage, to help deliver that next step up, in terms of growth of the business.

It’s well known that a digitally engaged company that looks to new technology or further utilises its current digital functionality, can attract additional business from traditional or new channels.

Once an organisation decides to fully accept the inevitable move to a more digitally aware position, there should be no turning back. The important issue here is to be fully committed and not just dip its toe in the water now when time permits. It’s an all or nothing commitment on behalf of the business owner or directors of the company. It will take time and criticism from the dinosaurs that stand on the sides and offer their negativity as some form of advice or constructive criticism.

But this will only demonstrate their lack of vision and their inability to kick off those old comfortable slippers and start and wear the new high tech glossy trainers that adapt to the ever changing business terrain.

:: Trevor Bingham ( is business relationship manager at ItFuel in Craigavon. Follow @itfuel on Twitter. ::