Just about every week consumers receive monotonous emails from various merchants boasting about a new mobile app or digital service – the ‘unsubscribe’ button hidden amongst the fine print.
Consumers demand digital front-end offerings. Because of this, we are beginning to see a trend where companies are hurriedly pumping investment into digitalization. However, some are not able to stay competitive, likely due to lack of preplanning and consideration for long-term gain.
For startups to truly thrive, there needs to be synergy between digitized front and back ends, innovative developments to satisfy actual consumer demand and scalable systems that act as foundation for any future endeavors. This entails thorough preplanning and strategizing to ensure IT budget is accurately spent.
Questions To Ask
As with any business decision, there are risks involved with taking the digitization. How complex is the shift? How costly is the endeavor? What preparation and maintenance does it require?
In a report by Fujitsu, 70% of businesses said digital projects were a gamble and 33% claimed they had overspent on digitalization. Without specialists, it comes as no surprise that many businesses have avoided the shift. Why change what has worked for years? Is a digital back-end even necessary? 33% of businesses feel too great a focus is placed on digital innovation; it appears companies may have a fear of moving on.
According to the report 56% of businesses have unified IT and digital departments. Joint departments account for a joint budget – leaving little room for development after day-to-day IT management and support. These developments are associated with an opportunity cost too and unfortunately only one-in-three businesses surveyed agree that priorities are fully aligned with that of their organization. Scared by the rate at which technology is developing, companies are continuing to defer investment.
Uber Benefited by ‘Digital First’
Uber is covering all bases – offering customers the most up to date digital services, with fresh IT infrastructure. Benefiting from starting with a blank canvas, start-ups like Uber can design their businesses based on a ‘digital first’ foundation. In contrast heritage companies fear that a digital front-end is simply ‘lipstick on a pig’ and see a refresh to both the front and back ends a slow, costly and inefficient process.
Indeed, there are a handful of companies who have made digitization work thus far. In fact, the Financial Services industry has excelled in supplying to consumers’ digital demands. According to Fujitsu research, investment in digital has catapulted Financial Services as the people’s hero in digital offerings.
Despite the management qualms surrounding digitization, if done correctly, it can be a profitable investment. Not only does keeping up-to-date with consumer demand attract and retain customers, it also creates opportunity – allowing for future marketing developments such as personalized and intelligent advertising.
Before businesses begin to take the leap of faith however, they should stop to plan and build a strategy to ensure their budget is spent correctly. Alignment with business goals should always be at the forefront of any initiative.
source: Simon Carter, Executive Director of Marketing in UK & Ireland at Fujitsu.