Business Digitisation: What does it mean to go digital?

The digital economy makes it mandatory for businesses to adapt to the digital disruption or risk extinction. Are you a digital business?

Do you have a digital plan? Or are you still curious about what a digital migration would mean for your local business?

The assumption among many business leaders has been to sign up for a Facebook and Twitter account and then build a static website and assume that is it. The problem with this approach is how it assumes going digital is a piecemeal project that can be started and completed by founding an online presence.

But is inaugurating an online presence all there is to the digitisation of business?

That warrants a digital business definition.

What is Digital?

A huge mistake business leaders make is to direct their IT departments or teams to just create a digital product, online marketplace and/or mobile app, according to the founder and CEO of 10Pearls, Imran Aftab.

According to him, businesses need to stop shrinking their business into “a package that will fit into a screen”. He says that only helps to relegate the digitisation plan into an “add-on” to the existing brick and mortar business model.

That truly digital businesses take digitisation as an opportunity to “re-imagine” their entire business models.

According to the research firm, McKinsey & Company, the above wisdom is particularly prevalent among B2B players who trail behind the B2C industry in terms of adopting the digital transformation.

However, according to a survey the firm conducted with 1,000 respondents, after experiencing the empowerment and convenience of digital B2C through their personal lives, such as online shopping, B2B players have warmed up to digitising B2B interactions.

So what is digital in business, really?

What Does a Digital Business Look Like?

Building a website, mobile app and signing up for social media accounts is all a part of just one component of business digitisation; building an online presence.

What are the other crucial components or steps to digitise your business?

1. Integrate the digital with brick-and-mortar, legacy systems
The first step is to digitise workflows. This would involve increasingly switching to a paperless workplace, only using hardcopy files as a backup for files that must be maintained as hardcopies.

An important word here is “gradually”; consistent commitment to progressively go digital by steadily investing in cloud-computing solutions. These have become much more affordable and applicable in different industries and use cases than initially.

For example:
Your company can develop or outsource an internal information system that replaces your paper system. That means anyone authorised to enter the system and contribute can do so and the information they share will reach the decision maker even if this person is working remotely or from another branch located miles away.

This way the flow of data is made easy and fast while reducing its corruption.

Once internal workflows are digitised, it would be easy to integrate with various digital platforms without it feeling like you have two parallel businesses—a fast-paced digital branch and a slower, local branch—scrambling for resources such as continuous R&D and talent.

2. Grow your online presence
This is doubtless the most popular component of a digital migration campaign.

The point of establishing an online presence is to be where your potential customers are. And the internet is the new frontier for finding qualified leads because a stunning 81% of potential buyers search online for local businesses to buy from before they make a buying decision these days.

Most of these people are now using smartphones to get the information they need, so you have to ensure your digital platforms such as a website is built to help mobile users access your platform.

And speaking of information potential customers need…

Avail useful, actionable information on digital platforms

To achieve a successful online presence, you will want to take a multi-channel approach to digitisation. This is all about utilising an omnichannel digital strategy to reach your target audience through their favorite online platform. That will entail decent customer research, initially.

But having an understanding of whether your ideal clients use YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Snapchat to access information they consider useful is imperative.

One impactful tool to use to not only avail useful information to your clients but also build a digital brand, trust, and credibility online, is by creating quality content and availing it to existing clients and prospects via a quality weblog (blog).

You can then share bits of your blog posts on other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and link the “status updates” to your parent website.

3. Digitise the customer journey
Interested readers can then follow those links to find out more about the topic you have shared.

When on your website, they should be able to find the information they need as easily and quickly as possible. After they find that information, you want to make it easy for them to opt into your email list, where they can receive such valuable information via email every time you post a new blog.

That is what digitising the customer journey looks and feels like.

It allows you to find and nurture leads through your funnel without sending out an army of salespeople. Leads will come to you when you do it right.

In fact, according to McKinsey & Company, while 76% of B2B customers want to first speak to a company salesperson, 46% prefer to transact future business online without physically meeting or talking with a salesperson.

But after buying they find sellers disappointing when it comes to “reminding them” to re-order which is why it is vital to gather customer data including contact details to help get back to them post-checkout—and for build long-term relationships.

And that brings us to effective, digital communication.

4. Digitise customer service
Both B2B and B2C buyers want swift communication. Respondents decried the sluggish responses suppliers use, leading buyers to consider other sellers and actually buy from the competition.

The survey also found it becomes a necessity to talk to CS because many online businesses have poor product comparison tools on their website, which 46% of respondents said they preferred.


Digitising your business is a long-term strategic decision that will need continuous talent and financial commitment to gradually become a competitive advantage over your delaying competition. It should start with leadership as a part of the company’s mission and vision to provide exemplary customer engagement and user experiences.

Want to find out more? Get in touch today.

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