We live in a fast-paced society. Our world is constantly changing, new markets are developing, economies are in a state of continued uncertainty, and technology is evolving. Likewise, as companies work to stay competitive, it is more important than ever that they keep up with, and move at the speed of the connected consumer. To do this, it is vital that brands embrace innovation andtechnology and adopt a "digital first mindset."
Digital efforts will be instrumental to how companies innovate and expand. Accenture Interactive believes that every company is now a digital company. There is a higher order of thinking-a digital mindset-that will separate tomorrow's most able organizations from their lesser rivals.
Companies have to challenge themselves not only to meet the demands of newly empowered consumers looking for relevant and connected experiences but all of the interdependencies within an organization from technology to business process and from organization models to supply chain and innovation to make it happen. Companies need to ask themselves the question, "What does it mean to be a digital company?" and be bold about setting a transformational agenda to that end.
Digital is no longer simply a channel of communication, but an engine to drive the dialog with consumers at all touch points. Today's consumers are connected and feel empowered by mobile devices and digital content, while reveling in the freedom to consume on their own terms.
To be effective in this digital world, brands must create relevant, engaging, and personalized experiences, and follow their customers at every moment of their journeys. Many companies are already doing this, and are experiencing tremendous success and ROI. Brands seeking to become a digital enterprise can reap similar rewards, and should consider the following factors when working to make their organization one of a digital first mindset.
Embrace innovation excellence as a business discipline
Companies should look to create a platform for effective innovation which is integrated throughout all key business functions. This platform must balance creativity and risk-taking with process and discipline. A strong emphasis on innovation and customer experience will ultimately determine business success. Therefore brands should strive to manage their innovation as they would manage any other core function-with rigor, intent, and accountability. Additionally, performance should be measured throughout the creative process. Companies that take this first crucial step to drive innovation will not only save time, money, and energy by avoiding re-invention of processes but they will be able to deliver maximum return and have the capabilities to effectively estimate where the next opportunity and future potential lies.
The willingness to deliver customized offerings at scale and without the made-to-order cost or operational impact will be a critical factor. Today's connected customer is often on the hunt for discounts, coupons, and is even willing to compromise a little privacy for a relevant and personalized experience. Knowing this, brands should work to offer their audiences a customized experience, which can be achieved at little to no added cost, and result in substantial ROI.
Innovation efforts will need to be focused on developing new and enhanced offerings, but even more importantly, on attempting to redefine entire markets. By looking for the opportunities to create markets rather than just contributing to existing ones, companies stand to position themselves as a leader within these new and emerging markets, and will develop a brand identity that customers view as truly unique and innovative. Netflix, for example, has revolutionized the way we plan our movie nights, and Apple has changed the way we listen to music. As new markets develop, companies should look to develop specific solutions that replicate the existing mature market offerings.
Convergence - competition and partnerships
Market convergence has shaken up traditional notions of market competition. The legacy view of a market competitor is not relevant to the consumer; consumers are only interested in which products are most needed, convenient, and ultimately, desirable. New partnerships need to be formed and assessed much more rapidly by collaborating with traditional partners and suppliers as well as competitors, in order to offer the consumer truly innovative and relevant products and services.
Driven analytic insight
Finally, in this age of analytics, achieving a digital mindset is not possible unless companies are willing to harness customer data to inform the innovation processes and investment decisions. Data and analytics must play a central role in how companies make decisions and develop business goals.
In our information overloaded world, consumers are interacting across multiple digital and traditional channels. If brands want to attract these consumers, it is imperative that they connect with them across all touchpoints and provide a compelling and tailored experience. Digital must play a fundamental role in day-to-day business operations, and become an interaction engine with the consumers.