One month into the new year, we find ourselves well and truly entrenched in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. How prepared is your organisation for the coming year?
2021 is now firmly underway: a year that has already proven highly challenging as the world continues to contend with Covid-19.
When it comes to technologically driven change, it’s been well documented how the pandemic has forcibly moved us forward at least 2 years in terms of digital adoption, as a result of the enduring series of lockdowns we have all lived through.
Eyes have been opened globally to technology’s rich possibilities,. The future growth of many sectors now lies in harnessing the power of big data, AI and Apps, amongst other innovative tech developments, and using these innovative technologies for good.
Transformation is no longer the right word – it’s all about digital maturity
The way in which we all work has been radically transformed, with digital firmly at the centre. Whatever the future holds, digital transformation is unquestionably here to stay – yet what we must embrace now is evolution and digital maturity.
Now is the time for evaluation into how well organisations have incorporated digital into the way they operate, how effective they are at executing on digital initiatives, and their ability to adapt to disruptive technology, events, trends and, competitors – both culturally and operationally.
Every business can, and must, keep pace with technological change to not only survive, but to thrive. While websites are the starting point for many organisations, there are a number of key reasons why your website should not be left alone as an island: it should be an integral part of all that you say and do.
Our use of technology is changing
Our digital habits have changed beyond measure during this pandemic. As we begin to advance towards a ‘new normal’, these behaviours won’t regress; all of us will expect technology to continue to serve and support us, as it has done so well throughout this crisis.
We’ve all swiftly become accustomed to virtual meetings, on-demand entertainment and instant online shopping. The move towards a digital-first world has made life easier in many ways - and has shown what a powerful force for good tech can be. So many of us have greatly appreciated the steps that organisations, out of necessity, have made to pivot towards online channels in order to better serve us during these testing times.
The blended experience is coming to the fore - we’ve seen how it’s possible to bring traditionally offline experiences to people in a virtual way, bridging the gap between two worlds, by being creative.
For any business aspiring towards growth, now is the time to see this for the opportunity that it is: a chance to create a compelling, personalised and seamless online experience that can help your vision and objectives by being able to reach and engage the right audiences, directly.
Your website is your window to your world, but your digital footprint should not stop there.
Your website is the primary entry point for many people to connect with your products or services. It’s your digital shop window and your opportunity to stand out, to tell your story and to engage with your audience - both now and in the future. For that reason, It should be truly integrated as part of an ecosystem, working hard for you and your purpose as part of a clear digital strategy.
Your brand (and purpose) matters
Each organisation is unique: missions, goals, audiences and offerings differ vastly. Yet all businesses are united by one common thread: the fundamental need for a strong, relatable and distinctive brand identity, grounded in purpose.
It’s easy to argue that brand identity and purpose is more important for commercially-focused businesses: it’s absolutely imperative to make an emotional link with audiences, enticing them to your offer, and ensuring they understand their emotional connection to your brand.
Some of the biggest brands in the world today, from multinationals such as Apple and Nike through to ethically-run B Corp pioneers such as Patagonia and TenTree, are well known for the time and energy they invest in technology and delivering a 360 degree user experience – one that takes the customer on a journey from beginning to end.
Your audience expect, and deserve, the same seamless, integrated and enjoyable experience from your business as they receive from these global names. And many sectors are now reaping the benefits as they have started the digital exploration
This is both possible and completely achievable; a 360-degree experience is every bit as viable and relevant for smaller organisations as it is for multinationals. All that’s needed is a nimble and curious mindset, and a willingness to embrace change.
The user experience always comes first
The audiences’ wants, needs, motivations and interests are paramount. The online experience that you offer must match and align with their online behaviours and expectations in order to reap the long-term benefits.
An empowering user experience should always lie at the heart of your website - it can do so much more than tell your brand’s incredible story. Experience-driven digital platforms make a difference.
By thinking customer service-first and taking a curious approach to technology, powerful and memorable digital experiences can be forged. Simple integration of a user-friendly payment gateway, for example, can open the doors to essential (and instant) sales, while a connected CRM system allows you to keep in touch with customers and build a truly valuable two-way relationship, grounded in rich insight.
Many forward-thinking companies are taking an approach to add features through API’s to applications which can support their customers’ needs - innovating with tech to realise their purpose digitally. Simply put, a truly integrated website can, and should, help people to help themselves. This is achieved by knowing and understanding your audience – and meeting their needs. Ask: What’s our purpose, and how can we use technology to help us achieve this?
Keeping in touch with your customers
A website or app is also a portal to draw audiences into vital engagement funnels and directly facilitate desired actions on both sides. Crucially, your online experience should look to turn users into advocates.; It should provide such an engaging, unified experience that truly brings audiences into your brand and purpose, as well as your offering so they want to come back time and time again.
The biggest challenge in the many sectors is making change happen, at the right time. This is where digital has a powerful role to play. A creative digital-first experience can provide an invaluable entry point into your unique offering.
There’s great power if you are able to understand and attract your target audience, to stay in touch with your customers, and work with their online "journey" to interact with them in a way which is engaging for them and their needs - now is exactly the time to reinvent and go further.
With so many of the UK’s population continuing to work from home, the timing’s never been better to embrace digital possibilities, engage with your audience and tell your story virtually.
A digital-first strategy opens up many exciting avenues. It’s the chance to think: how can digital allow us to do things that were possible in the ‘real world’? How can we do things differently and, perhaps, better? How can we adapt for virtual audiences?
As less than a third of organisations say that their digital activity currently supports their overall business strategy, the opportunity is there for the taking.
The future relies on firm digital foundations - as part of your strategy
Three building blocks underpin any organisation’s digital ambitions: people, process and technology. These are the essential steps to reaching digital maturity - and this must be the strategic goal for all businesses right now.
To make change happen, people are crucial, and communication is paramount. The current climate provides the perfect opportunity to review internal capability and resources throughout the organisation. It’s imperative to be clear on where your future growth is coming from and the role that digital can, and should, play in bringing your culture to life. To truly transform digitally, it always pays to first take a step back and look at your business as whole. Adopting and embedding technology within the way that you work can make a radical difference if you take an integrated approach.
This past year has made one thing clear to many organisations;: there’s a glaring gap between efficient and effective automated processes that genuinely add value replacing paper-based admin tasks, and technology being used for the sake of having it to electronically push paper around. The future isn’t a world in which people are replaced by robots; it’s one where work and life is enhanced by technology, with the mundane, unnecessary tasks removed.
Identifying the right technology for your organisation is crucial; to avoid “tech debt” the correct technology should deliver a three- or four-fold sustainable return on your investment. A robust digital audit of your current technology and infrastructure is an essential step to take to identity the right systems and tools for your charity - both now and for the future.
Technology, in a silo, is not the answer
To truly ‘join the dots’ within an organisation, technology must be firmly integrated into all of the company’s ways of working, encompassing data, security and key strategic considerations and delivery.
The embodiment of a digital-first strategy should be your technological eco-system which often starts with a website - but should never be left stranded as an island in the ocean that is the world wide web.
See new digital possibilities for your business, and bring them to life with beautifully crafted technology which delivers your vision.
Ready to go on a wonderlab journey to discovery? Get in touch today.