Digital transformation, or DX, has been at the forefront of business conversations for several years as organizations search for the best ways to use the technology available today. At its core, digital transformation is defined by the use of the fastest, most effective technology to solve problems in your business; however, the application of DX strategy has changed and evolved as quickly as new business innovations are released.
This makes a digital transformation today vastly different than it was even a few years ago (and likely, quite different in the future as we head toward the new decade).
Once, digitally transforming your communication might have meant adopting an online chat platform or creating a mobile application for your customers. But on the cusp of 2020, the value of communication DX is no longer in migrating your business to these digital solutions but instead fully integrating these tools and leveraging their extensive capabilities.
Let’s look at some of the smartest tools and insights your business can implement, and how this technology can inform your digital strategies for success down the line.
Optimize with artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the driving force behind the trend toward creating data-driven businesses. Organizations have always had a horde of critical information at their disposal—from mapping out customer journeys on their websites or spotting patterns of inefficiency in employee workflows—but the sheer work of collecting, organizing and making sense of this information is often too daunting of a task to handle.
This is why artificial intelligence and machine learning have become central pillars or key support systems to any DX foundation your organization establishes. Artificial intelligence helps businesses track and develop informed decisions on their customers, which can streamline communication efforts between your teams and your buyers.
In fact, artificial intelligence is so important to the future of work that 61% of business leadership with innovation tactics say that they are harnessing AI technology to spot new opportunities in their data that would otherwise go unnoticed, which could potentially grow customer dialogue.
Digitally transforming your AI usage with workflow automation processes can help you complete high-volume, repetitive tasks like data acquisition in a fraction of the time these projects take to manually complete. Workflow AI takes your existing digital processes and finds solutions to execute them more quickly, more accurately and most importantly—without any human resources.
Data-mining with AI-powered tools helps businesses remove human bias when dealing with customer inquiries, detect faulty or skewed information and develop personalized insights on a customer-by-customer basis.
It’s important to note, however, that AI has other implications for your DX strategy outside of data collection. AI can help automate workflows across departments and job titles within your organization—from filing timesheets in HR to moving potential customers through the sales funnel. There are as many use-cases for machine learning as there are inefficiencies in your business.
That’s why it’s important to visualize artificial intelligence transformations as a continuous process rather than a singular event. By creating new automated solutions as inefficiencies are detected, you’ll ensure that your business continues to stretch the features of AI to the limits.
Consolidate your data
Even if all of your customer information is nested on a digital platform, practicing true digital transformation requires that this information is organized and readily accessible for those who need it. In reality, businesses that do not have a designated plan for filing customer information are contributing to several hidden costs every day: who will be responsible for following up on leads?
How will you develop new marketing campaigns based on customer data? How will you ensure that your newest customers are satisfied and will continue giving you their business?
Disorganized digital information can not only lead to inefficiencies in your work process, but it can also increase your chances of an information breach or an accidental data wipe. If your customer information is stored on a personal hard drive, as an example, you make it quite easy for unwanted team members to access this information and tamper with it—even if by accident.
If your business struggles to organize and update its digital information, streamline your approach to customer data with a secure Customer Relationship Management tool. Often abbreviated to CRM, these services provide businesses with a complete view of their most valuable asset: their customers. Think of your CRM as an online meeting place for your entire team—where you can arrange sales meetings, update customer contact information and assign tasks for you or your colleagues to complete.
As opposed to personal records on a spreadsheet, CRMs that connect through the internet allow multiple team members to view, share and edit data with all necessary parties. And because you can access all the tools and integrations you need to connect with your customers, CRMs have helped employees work from home, the office or wherever they feel most productive.
In the context of improving your communication, CRMs offer sales, marketing, and customer support teams the context they need to have meaningful conversations that drive conversion. Imagine that you are a customer and you have a question on a product you are considering purchasing. Nothing is more frustrating than being bounced around from person to person as the business’ teams try to find the person you previously spoke with and the information they gave you.
By leaving notes on the status of each customer and scheduling follow up calls, you can simplify your buyers’ journeys for better conversations and improved customer experience.
Connect through the cloud
Today’s businesses know the benefits that cloud technology can deliver. Recent increases in internet speeds, both through Wi-Fi and cellular connections, have sharply increased the capabilities, speed, and accessibility of the cloud across the board. With 96% of respondents in a 2018 poll saying that their business uses the cloud in some capacity, digitally transforming your cloud use is about simplifying your tools and more deeply integrating your workflows into internet-based solutions.
When it comes to cloud communication, specifically, many businesses face a similar problem during digital transformation. Between texting, video messaging, emailing, chatting and calling, the modern business landscape faces an oversaturation of digital communication solutions.
This dilemma is only further perturbed when you consider that each communication channel has multiple cloud-based tools and services to select. How can you possibly align company-wide dialogue when half the company uses Slack and the other half relies on Google Chat?
Start your efforts to digitally transform your cloud communication tools by performing an IT audit. Information technology audits help you get out the granular for a wide-lens understanding of how different departments and the business at large work with technology.
An informal audit that you conduct can be as simple as a series of questions, intended to guide you toward a simplified relationship with your digital tools. When evaluating your communication tech, this includes questions like:
- Is this tool actively being used?
- Does this tool offer the same features as other tools our company uses?
- Is there a faster, cheaper alternative on the market?
- Does this tool improve communication or muddy it?
- Can this tool easily integrate with other services we work with?
In order to complete your DX cloud revamp, you can remove tools that aren’t checking the right boxes and replace them with a simplified platform like unified communications.
Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS, offers the same communication tools you already use, but because they are enveloped through a single service, you can ensure your business has full control over the digital interfaces and priority tools you need to share ideas and information.
Synchronize your tech
Perhaps the most significant shift in DX strategy is the reliance of the internet to connect your digital devices. About 7 billion internet-connected devices exist today, with hundreds of millions being added every month. From outdoor thermostats to company vehicles, the trend toward greater internet compatibility has the potential to completely reshape both our personal and professional lives.
It’s already evident that this greater internet connectivity will give businesses new possibilities when communicating both internally and externally. With every device capable of transmitting data with one another, businesses can share information with their customers almost instantaneously.
As an example, let’s say you own a busy restaurant. By connecting buttons or sensors on your tables with your waitlist, customers who are waiting for a table could be contacted directly, as soon as there is an open spot.
Business leaders who have recognized the value that this technology will bring to their teams are looking to Internet of Things providers to help them synchronize both their existing technology and new digital solutions as they become available. The Internet of Things (often shortened to IoT) embodies the entire collection of devices that can access the internet, meaning that this technology will only become more powerful as your business uses tools that work online.
With capabilities like rapid improvements, instant notification and secure device management, IoT technology will push businesses into unmatched communication speeds. As such, it may become one of the many innovation drivers for organizations and a direct influence on the ways that both humans and their technology connect with one another.