Most of the enterprises established than a decade ago now face one common challenge of transforming their business completely for this modern digital age. Technology has drastically changed how we engage with our customers, provide services, do product development, and ultimately grow our economies. It is not just for one service sector or industry, but overall, how businesses used to operate until only a few years ago.
To lead and grow in this new digital age, it is critical for legacy enterprises operating in traditional ways to examine their processes, adapt to digitalization, leverage customer data more efficiently and not be afraid to change their value propositions and business models.
First thing first: Improve your strategic business thinking.
Strategic thinking is one of the essential digital transformation elements, as digitalisation is not just about upgrading your technology. The evolution of technology is creating new business opportunities, but it also demands discernment and unique skill sets that can inspire and infuriate a competitive landscape. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution is unfolding, organizations need to stay relevant in this rapidly shifting economy by changing from legacy to legendary businesses.
Here are four key areas where every legacy business must invest to lead in the digital age:
#1 – Two-way customer engagement.
Within years the business norms have changed, and just a few years back, business engagements still used to take place primarily over the face to face meetings or by socializing, and digital marketing was only a passive one-way channel to communicate with the customers.
Within time, social media has completely taken over the business world by becoming the core platform for customer engagements and an effective medium to influence the buying decisions that reflect positively or negatively on a brand. This shift requires organizations to redesign the business process by making the customer as a core part. Today, you cannot just push out products following the operational needs of your business. It is best to have meaningful engagements with your customer on every digital channel and as many touchpoints along the way as possible.
Traditionally, legacy organizations consider customer engagement as a one-way path where they sell their customers the products. But transformed businesses aiming to be future leaders understand customer engagement is a pre-cursor to their sales and look for two-way engagements that can improve customer loyalty.
#2 – Analysis and utilization of big data into the business process.
The digitalization of nearly all aspects and the related data collection processes have created an era of big data. Organizations traditionally track countless business metrics, which improves overall results and aligns people and processes with the organizational objectives. Those business metrics are now turning into big data which is transforming the way organizations analyze the success and failure of their products, marketing, sales, PR, and other business initiatives.
The challenge of pulling data from existing CRM and ERP systems and then merging it with the newer types of enterprise data sources can be solved by building a data bridge in between. There are two key dimensions of the legacy systems. Data itself is the first dimension and typically relational in legacy systems from ERP, CRM, and other business applications. The second dimension after data itself is the infrastructure. Legacy systems tend to possess a bounded and constrained infrastructure. Few steps to bridge the old with new data:
- Move your on-premise and off-premise data completely to the cloud or hybrid infrastructure.
- Embrace social and mobile data to blend the old data with newer sources.
- Follow the 3 Vs of the modern data structures, Volume, Velocity, and Variety.
- Use data virtualization to pull several sources together into a new system.
- Use business intelligence systems to manage your data transition for example, TIBCO Analytics.
- Incorporate capabilities like predictive analytics.
The implementation of Big data requires selecting suitable tools and solid structure to ensure the data’s safety and security to avoid any vulnerabilities. Another big challenge of legacy organizations is to rely on technology or data without humanizing the experience heavily. It is crucial for organizations to know how to rely on data and apply it where it can be most useful. The kind of human connection which helps in driving lasting value is exactly what the technology and data are best suitable to deliver.
#3. Fully integrated marketing.
The number one reason to focus on integrated marketing for an organization is to have consistency in its communication strategy and reach. To survive and thrive in the digital age, legacy companies need to have a functionally integrated marketing and have to understand the points of intersection between each of the silos. In marketing, legacy organizations can start to test and develop their capabilities to integrate different cross-departmental functions and generate more value along the customer’s buying lifecycle.
When we look at the marketing channels today, the usual marketing mix tends to appear as a combination of pay-per-click ads, content sponsorships, influencer marketing, and social media. These are mostly the methods that place your content in front and center to your preferred audiences to attract customers across many demographics.
Traditional companies need to heavily invest in advanced analytics and attribution models for both advertising and PR-driven content so marketers understand which marketing campaigns drive real conversions. To achieve this, enterprises must invest in experts with significant data skills to put the “science” around their advertising, PR, and other marketing campaigns.
The indicator for you to see if you are still running a legacy organization or not is to see if your marketing department works closely with sales and coordinating with advertising, analytics, PR, and utilizing all the data points for better decision marking in an integrated approach.
#4. Customer-centric value proposition.
In today’s business world, the organization’s value proposition needs to be consistently aligned and re-aligned to match business solutions being sought by modern, information-rich and empowered customers.
There is a critical difference between a traditional business vs. a digitally transformed company. The conventional business focuses on crafting the appropriate messaging to its customers. In contrast, the transformed business focuses on behaving dynamically to break the silos, creating the ‘value ecosystem’ centered around the customers and clear messaging based on the organization’s behavior.
We can learn this from two industry category leaders: Amazon, before the digital revolution, used to ship books, and Netflix before embracing new avenues used to send out DVDs by mail. Both have evolved their business models, channels, and processes as technology have evolved. Both firms created new products matching the evolving customer needs yet stayed aligned to their core values. The main reason these tech giants became successful because they continually re-examined their value proposition and shifted accordingly, instead of being stuck in their legacy silo.
Stop moving slowly or refusing to listen to your customers.
This one is the most important lesson of this digital age. Technology is evolving way faster than even tech-savvy people can’t predict. Moving forward from the age of smartphones, the next evolution we are experiencing is our day-to-day smart appliances, smart cities, and vehicles, all of these in a well-connected ecosystem.
The digital (r)evolution is creating two main elements, a constant flow of data and increasing integration and connectivity of every type of consumer product, which are opening the doors to create new value propositions across all industries.
Businesses that move too slowly or refuse to listen to their customer’s voices and demands or the changing marketing indicators, chances are that they will quickly lose the market share. It can even get worse as to sustain in the business, and organizations could be forced to spend an extraordinary amount on re-work on their legacy business process, channels, and products to stay as a relevant player.
To change into a future leader from being a legacy business, you must fully engage, deeply analyze, integrate with your customers by putting them first, and embrace all the steps required to get there.