As the millennial demographic grows more and more to take over today’s purchasing power dynamics, the reality is setting in for companies of all sizes that continuing to run their processes in the traditional way will no longer cut it. For big multinationals that have been established for a while, this might be a bigger challenge than for “born digital” companies, or those who are newer to the scene and have been leveraging technology, automation and digital landscapes from the get-go. Regardless of size, the point is that in the coming years, many companies will have to have some sort of compromise between how they make their services available to older customers who want to continue doing business as usual, while also innovating and providing avenues of communication that are appealing to millennials, Gen Z, and beyond.
In an effort to help all parties come to the table, we have gathered some initiatives that anyone can leverage and benefit from, as you transition into a new way of doing business while keeping the flame of the status quo alive. Here are some technology, strategy, or process suggestions that might start a conversation at your leadership meeting and get the ball rolling towards the future:
- Launch a separate, exclusive branch or line of business to deal exclusively with customers digitally: in the past decade or so, big companies have acquired smaller, new-to-the-scene companies to have an alternate branch to do business digitally. Allstate acquiring Esurance back in 2011 is a key example of this. The problem with this methodology is that acquiring a new company can become quite expensive, because an acquisition usually means the newer company is worth the takeover, so these transactions are very pricey. Instead, you can and should divert a group of employees, a department, a line of business, or whatever makes the most sense in your case towards a smaller initiative that is dedicated wholly to catering to the needs of your digital customers and prospects. Finance and insurance company Nationwide is doing just that right now, and they will launch a smaller, separate branded company later on in the year that will be completely digital and allow customers to complete policy purchases, manage claims, etc. all from an app, without having to deal with an agent at all if they don’t want to.
- Create connections wherever possible: if you keep your processes intact and don’t do the due diligence of auditing and figuring out whether or not they’re needed and how to improve/automate them, you’re going to miss out on a key opportunity to make your services available for integrations with third-parties, and with that, you’ll also lose potential customers. Currently, companies are leveraging APIs (Application Programming Interface) which is a tool to build and connect websites. It acts as a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other, or plugs your website into another. How does this play into your success? If you offer a service or product that makes your customer’s life easier in a specific area, it probably interacts with another software. By enabling as many of your features to communicate externally, your customers will have an easier, seamless experience using your services, and will come back for more.
- Shift your culture, transform now, live longer: we always make a point to talk about how technology is only as great as the people who use it, and enabling your employees to not only use it but to welcome transformation is key to your company’s success. As Terrance Williams, President of Emerging Businesses and CMO at Nationwide says, “existing models are not sustainable beyond the next decade.” As far as what he is personally working on for the company’s current transition phase, he believes that “the cultural change we make today will drive our growth for the next 100 years.” This is 100%, unequivocally true. Many companies are resisting digitization, but this is not the time to play coy or to procrastinate. Early adoption is one of the keys to longevity, and time is running out.
Startups and smaller companies will have the easiest journey to digitalization because they have less employees to worry about accepting the shift, and probably a much more hands-on-deck approach than bigger companies. How to make it even better? Choosing the right partner for this innovation can make this experience positive and effective from the start, and it’s hugely important to trust in a company that can deliver the project within the established timeline. At Lagash, we have over 20 years of experience helping companies across the globe embark on their digital transformation journeys, and we’re gearing up to continue doing so at an even bigger scale in these next few years. As more and more companies realize how important technology advances are for their success, you don’t want to be left behind. Contact us to start your path to digitization now.