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The Top 5 Trends for Digital Transformation in 2018

Customer benefit has the highest relevance.

Digital transformation initiatives should offer a real benefit for customers

The digital transformation of companies and their business models is moving along, and it will continue to progress in 2018. For companies operating in the global competitive environment, digital transformation is even an absolute MUST this year.

For many of these organizations, digital transformation programs are on top of their priority list.

A look at the study by the Harvard Business School (HBS) demonstrates clearly why. According to Professor Marco Iansiti and Keystone Strategy, companies belonging to the “Digital Leader” category achieve better sales revenues and higher gross margins, among other things.

Considering that this study is already a year old, organizations looking to boost their efficiency and drive digital growth have no time to waste.

The following are five key trends for 2018 at a glance:

  • Companies are approaching digital transformation more holistically. Far too often, digital transformation is still considered to be a pure technology subject. These people are clearly missing the point. Companies that realize efficiency and productivity gains and, additionally, implement digital growth, embrace the task holistically. Stand-alone solutions definitely no longer stand a chance.
  • The technology revolution continues. Artificial intelligence, IoT, Augmented Reality (AR) and Blockchain technologies will continue to develop at breakneck speeds in 2018. Organizations that are intensively exploring all the possibilities of the technology revolution and assessing the potential for their current or future business models have the best chance to use it to generate growth. The upcoming introduction of 5G and the further development of IoT edge computing will provide exciting new business opportunities.
  • The rise of “Optimized Intelligence”. To “just” understand the customer and his or her consumer behavior is far from sufficient in this day and age, not least because of the manifold possibilities offered by artificial intelligence. For best business practice, it is important to link customer interactions across multiple channels and platforms and respond appropriately and promptly.
  • This is about more than simply an excellent customer experience. Digital transformation is an all-encompassing term. It combines many aspects of digitalization projects under one roof. Companies that successfully implement their digital transformation already know that. In addition to an excellent customer experience, they know how to manage the entire spectrum – for example, how to integrate agile processes and adapt the corporate culture step-by-step.
  • The corporate culture decides on success or failure. Organizations that fail to “synchronize” their corporate culture with the advancement of digital transformation will have a much harder time in 2018. An agile culture is and remains the essential prerequisite for a successful digital transformation. Antiquated thinking and work patterns not only lower motivation and productivity, but also increase the likeliness that employees will look for a change.

Customer benefit has the highest relevance

In 2018, new technologies will provide companies with the opportunity to enter markets at unprecedented speeds. Furthermore, there will also be completely new business opportunities for organizations. But despite all the euphoria, digital transformation initiatives should NOT ignore the most important goal: to offer a real benefit for (potential) customers.

As simple as that may sound in theory, putting this into practice is especially difficult for traditionally-grown companies. Organizations that are able to strike a new path, and thus free themselves from “old” thinking and work patterns, will have the best chance of succeeding in the digital world in 2018.

Cover image: vectorfusionart/

Mike Flache
Insights into digital growth

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