Cloud computing, virtual stores, outsourced business processes- the internet has irreversibly transformed business. From start-ups and entrepreneurs, to big multinationals and public services- everyone’s embracing digital business.
Digitisation has created countless opportunities in traditional industries like media and publishing, but it’s also produced new flourishing industries. We take a look at some digital innovations that are transforming business today.
On Cloud Nine
Cloud computing is streamlining small business IT processes. Benefits of moving to the cloud:
- Cloud computing is accessible and cost-effective; data processes and data storage are now more affordable for small businesses.
- Moving things to the cloud eliminates the need for costly server rooms and computers, increasing efficiency.
- Cloud computing challenges companies to think again about how they store data, and increases awareness of cyber security.
It’s important to be aware of data regulations, and to ensure that your data is backed up. Losing data or not protecting it properly is a costly mistake.
Virtual reality has been eagerly anticipated in countless Hollywood films, and now it seems like accessible VR is finally here! VR has already been embraced by medical researchers, engineers and manufacturers, and now B2B and B2C businesses are clamouring for their share. VR is set to take the design world by storm, opening up a world of possibilities for businesses to showcase their products and services in a new exciting medium. Designers and animators are fast adapting their skillset to meet the unique design challenges offered by VR. We predict there will be plenty of start-ups jumping on the VR bandwagon.
Digitisation also creates new economic groups. The money-earning potential of digital platforms means digital nomads are flooding the economic landscape. These nomads make money online, taking their business with them wherever they go in the world.
Digital nomads often earn passive online income, freeing them from all traditional job constraints. Digital nomads aren’t tied down by traditional economic structures, and the lack of job security and accountability can lead to economic instability and volatility.
Many business owners are outsourcing business processes online. Work is often outsourced either to the developing world, or to cheaper European countries. Though a fantastic opportunity, there are some ethical considerations to take into account in terms of employee benefits, salary, and rights.
Can a business retain the same sense of identity when it hires a team of virtual assistants in Bangladesh, than when it had an admin team based in a shared office? It’s key to consider the potential impact any outsourcing decision has on customers. Being upfront about outsourcing and explaining its benefits is always advisable; outsourcing processes can help you manage the transition painlessly.
The days of paper receipts and the dreaded balance book are fast fading. Digital banking has freed the business owner from traditional local banking constraints; now you can download your company finances at midnight if you need to. Additionally, key financial software like SAGE and Xero are now more portable, meaning that companies can benefit from affordable cloud bookkeeping services and easily outsource their payroll. Outsourcing financial procedures helps streamline business processes and decisions.
Digital opportunities create business, but digital disruptors also threaten traditional industries. It’s important to remember that competition is a two-way street- both healthy and destructive. An online selling platform may squeeze out traditional retailers, but it can also help create an exciting new selling platform for emerging artists.
The digital world has also helped jumpstart some struggling industries. Digital innovations have made luxury services more accessible, with people using the online voucher economy to experience new leisure activities, bringing in new business.
Digital technology has enabled user content creation like e-book self-publishing and citizen journalism to flourish. Scruples about professionalism have not stopped the onwards march of user-generated content, often celebrated for its immediacy and democracy. Expert writing and content is still valued, but now it has to operate within a framework of multiple voices.
Digital transformation has had huge operational benefits. Using software to manage processes like stock management means businesses can react to the market faster, no longer reliant on lengthy inventories. CRM systems and data capturing in service industries mean leads can be followed up quickly and accurately, and information is easily shared across teams and platforms.
What does digitisation mean?
Pros of digitisation in business:
- New markets.
Cons of digitisation:
- Loss of (some) jobs
- Decrease in personalised and local service
- Being ‘switched on’ all the time.