It doesn’t matter what kind of company you own or what type of industry you’re in – it’s highly likely you’ve already heard about the need to embark on a digital transformation. Tech enthusiasts, business leaders, and so-called gurus all insist that, to succeed in today’s day and age, companies need to embrace the digitalization of their entire operations. That’s because doing things the old-fashioned way doesn’t cut it anymore.
Brands are faced with the challenge of using digital technologies to reinvent themselves or risk being left behind. That’s so true that, even if you haven’t heard about digital transformation, chances are you are already taking digital steps intuitively. It makes sense. Anyone that’s paying attention knows that adopting digital technologies to create (or modify) business processes and customer experiences is the best way to remain at the top of the market.
That reimagining of an entire company through the digital lens is what we call digital transformation. Now, as you might imagine, there are countless ways of doing that. There are companies that are worrying about improving internal processes while there are brands that think it’s all about the customer experience. That’s basically because there’s no formula on how to tackle a successful digital transformation. The strategy has to make sense for the company’s vision, strategy, goals, and unique context.
However, that doesn’t mean that everyone is left to their own devices. Quite the contrary! Given how challenging digital transformation is proving to be for numerous companies, it’s important to note that there are ways to increase the success rate of any digital transformation. The most notable one? Using Artificial Intelligence (AI). This cutting-edge tech is already showing that it can provide valuable insights that allow companies to identify weak points in business processes, inefficacies in daily tasks, and pain points in the customer experience.
Let’s dive a little deeper into how AI can help you in your digital transformation.
An Informed Transformation
One of the biggest advantages all companies have today is widespread access to vast amounts of readily-available data. Today, you can use different tech tools to gather information about your business, your markets, your employees, and your target audience. When used right, that information can give you a very detailed understanding of where your company is standing while informing every future decision you may need to make.
Naturally, getting the most out of the collected data depends mostly on how you analyze all that information. That’s where AI comes in. Through potent algorithms, you can detect patterns hidden in plain sight and access a clearer picture of your entire business. At least that’s what you can aspire to, as AI isn’t a magical tool you can just apply and expect the best results. You’ll need good, clean data and well-trained AI tools to get the most useful outcomes.
We won’t get into that in this article, though. It’s enough for you to know that AI can be a potent ally but that will need some work on your part to offer peak performance. It might take some work to get there but, believe us, it’s totally worth it, as AI can help you lead an informed digital transformation in the following ways:
1. AI Helps You Understand Customer’ Preferences and Needs
Though a true digital transformation is the one that takes your entire business into account, no success is possible if you ignore your biggest asset – your customers. That’s why using AI to better understand your client base is a key benefit of using this technology during the digital transformation process – and beyond.
AI can sift through your customer data to better understand your clients’ preferences and needs, thus letting you organize your strategy from the get-go. That’s because you can use AI to more accurately define your buyers’ personas which, in turn, will inform your next moves. How so? Because knowing who your target audience is will allow you to laser-focus your digital efforts to better reach it and to generate more engaging communication instances.
This will translate into the development of new channels, improved offers, internal process adjustments to meet upcoming demands, and even cultural shifts that can fuel your entire business growth.
2. AI Can Improve Your Business’ Flexibility
Modern markets are more fluid than ever before, as customers are imprinting an agile pace to their demands. Since you can’t succeed without clients, the need to adopt a customer-centric approach ends up being the need to be more flexible to accommodate those shifting demands. Fortunately, an AI-driven digital transformation can help you with that.
Through the use of AI-based solutions across your entire business operations, you can collect data that can be later analyzed to anticipate the changes you’ll need to make to go with the market’s flow. At the very beginning of your digital journey, that can mean the discovery of weak points in your IT infrastructure that you’ll need to strengthen to address your audience’s needs.
After that, you can estimate where your clients might want to go next and turn directions as needed. This can mean adding new products, scaling up your tech platforms, or focusing on a specific service. The best thing about this is that you can apply AI to every area in your business, from the supply chain to the retailers, and orchestrate significant changes without extra effort.
3. AI can Increase Security in any IT Infrastructure
It’s funny how even when security is perceived as one of the biggest challenges for all businesses, it’s not taken into serious consideration during a digital transformation process. Yet, given how much going digital implies the use of sensitive data (from your customers, your business, your competitors, and your entire industry), then ensuring that the process is robust enough to keep that information secure is a must.
Luckily, artificial intelligence can come to your aid here as well. Using AI tools, you can analyze all the digital instances that the transformation is adding to your business operations. Thus, you can have a detailed look at your entire IT infrastructure’s security as it grows, which can force your security efforts into a more proactive stance.
What’s more – you can also include zero trust networks to ensure your entire digital perimeter. Through this framework, the AI-based network won’t assume that everyone in the network has to be automatically trusted. Rather, it’ll seek to authenticate everything that finds connected to it, which will automate the process of ensuring that your growing infrastructure is secure at all times.
4. AI Can Identify Weaknesses in Marketing
As we discussed above, it’s highly likely that you’re embarking on a digital transformation journey mainly to keep being competitive. For that to happen, it’s not enough to be digital – you have to use that digital technology to your ends. And what better way to do so than using digital tools to boost your marketing efforts? AI can help you digitize your marketing processes and get better results with the campaigns you launch.
Marketing is already an analytically-driven discipline, so using AI to boost it is a no brainer. Beyond the obvious automation tasks you can embrace to streamline your marketing efforts, there’s also the possibility to use AI to track everything about your campaigns to better understand their performance. It’s not just a matter of metrics – it’s about identifying the weak points that might be costing you some serious money.
Thus, AI can help you see that you might want to automate your social media marketing, that your email marketing needs a more human touch, that you can expand your reach through a channel you haven’t thought about, and many more. Using AI on CRM systems can give you a better understanding of your entire marketing strategy and see where you can improve through digital means.
5. AI Gives You A Transparent Look Into Business Processes
Digital transformations are all about changing the entirety of your business, not just a part. Naturally, you might feel uneasy when tackling such a massive modification, especially if you’ve been in business for some time. That’s why you should trust AI to help you in the process. Apart from all the aspects mentioned before, AI can increase the transparency of all the activities in your company, detecting inefficiencies and suggesting improvements.
Thus, for instance, you can use AI to check your supply chain performance and identify potentially digitizable points that can improve your time-to-market performance. You can also use AI to boost the traceability of the entire chain which, in turn, will let you reduce costs, eliminate redundancies, and improve your overall customer experience.
Reduction costs don’t just happen by limiting the inefficacies along the chain. You can also use AI to analyze your manufacturing process to learn where you can strategically add digital assets that can positively impact your workforce’s productivity. During that process, you can even find some new business opportunities that you might be missing, maybe stemming from by-products or by employees now being able to work on new tasks.
The Smart Way For Digital Transformation
If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us something is that everything can change at a moment’s notice. The only way to be prepared for whatever comes our way in the future is to be flexible enough to accommodate different needs and demands we might not even imagine yet. How can we achieve that flexibility, though? Through the use of digital technologies in all of your core activities.
A successful digital transformation can provide you with a considerable competitive advantage over other businesses because technology can improve every aspect of your brand. As enticing as that sounds, the journey to being a digital company isn’t easy, because it’s not a matter of just adding digital tools here and there and hope for the best. The digital transformation has to be strategic and follow specific objectives framed in a bigger vision.
Fortunately, AI is proving to be a strong ally for business transformation. It can lead to a better understanding of a company, anticipate future scenarios and challenges with greater accuracy, identify internal growth opportunities, and boost a customer experience along the way. You can get all of those benefits if you make smart use of AI, this won’t be easy but its dividends are so significant that you can’t afford to ignore it.