As I mentioned in the market research show a few weeks ago, technology trends are something you absolutely must keep your eye on. Keeping up can seem impossible, especially for a busy CEO, like you. Resources aren’t endless, and the world moves fast. How can you make sure you don’t follow in the steps of Kodak, and miss the digital photography of your industry?
I’m excited to welcome this week’s guests, Colleen Jones, CEO of Content Science, along with one of her mentors, Toni Pashley, SVP of Product at Sharecare here in Atlanta. Content Science is a content intelligence + strategy company empowering enterprises for the content era. Sharecare is a digital health company that consolidates patient healthcare information into one place. We talk about how a middle-market business can prepare for all of the amazing changes that are happening with technology, artificial intelligence, virtual-reality, and the amazing level of disruption that’s happening in the market.
Be Aware of Digital Business Transformation
Digital business transformation, quite simply, is about changing your business in response to digital capabilities. That includes the switch to online shopping, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s happening across industries at a rapid pace. Says Jones, “I think it’s starting to catch people who didn’t see the signs, because they’re busy with other things. They haven’t really been as aware of it, and a lot of people are realizing, this really could affect me.”
Technology is touching every aspect of business. In addition to online shopping, jobs are automating (even in landscaping), sales are involving more virtual reality (check out Dragon Army) and technology is finding uses in business that border on science fiction (here’s 12 tech trends). It can be a lot to follow and understand. What’s coming next that might blindside your business? IDC predicts over $2 trillion in spending on digital transformation technologies before the end of 2019. About half of that will be spent on changing user and customer experience, including the content in that experience.
Map Your Customer’s Journey
Stepping into the world of technology, at its core, has little to do with the technology. Like everything else in business, it’s all about the customer. Knowing what technology to add is fundamentally about knowing what your customer wants and needs (even before they know it). Jones talks of mapping out the customer journey. She sites her experience with Burn Studios. Listen to the show for the details, but what Burn did was to use technology to create magical moments for their cyclists. At every touchpoint, they skillfully made the experience faster, more intuitive, and more convenient.
How can you do the same thing in your business? As you continue to think of ways you can better serve your customers, it’s likely, at the pace of today’s world, that there is a technology out there somewhere that can assist you in creating that experience.
Says Jones, “To me, a digitally transformed business is putting the customer first, thinking about how all the digital touch points come together to support that experience in a really great way, and even create some ‘Wow!’ moments as part of that experience.”
Create “Wow!” Moments
For Jones, the final email at the end of the Burns Studio experience clinched it for her. In creating these experiences, Jones suggests starting with the customer in mind, and brainstorming the following questions:
- What is the customer journey?
- Where do we fit now in the journey?
- Where can we fit into that journey in the future with the help of technology?
From there, you can create some short-term plans, as well as plans to carry you into the future. Knowing what “Wow!” moments you want to create for your customer will serve to focus the great wide world of technology advances to those that will fill the needs of your customer.
Avoid Being Disrupted – Stay Ahead of the Curve
There has been disruption afoot of late. Industries are being transformed, and businesses are being left behind. I interview CEOs every week, and it’s really clear that technology is on everyone’s mind. How do you become the disruptor, and not the disrupted?
It’s not as hard as it seems, but it takes a willingness to change. Find what works in today’s world, but be looking, always, for how to improve that experience for your customers. The important thing is not to remain stagnant. Research technologies on a regular basis to get an idea of what’s out there –it doesn’t have to take up significant resources. Make sure someone on your team is tracking the trends, and spend 15 minutes a few days a week reviewing them. From there, the customer journey is key. Know your customer, be aware of how their needs and desires change, and you will be the one who disrupts.