Lessons learned from 300+ meetings

In the last 24 months I’ve met with the top executives in 300+ leading brands and retailers - Unilever, Samsung, Adidas, and many more.

The good news is that nearly 81% of them believe that implementing a comprehensive digital strategy is vital to their survival over the next few years. 55% of them are already actively investing in intelligent, innovative technologies and reporting that Digital is 1 of their top 3 growing sectors in their business.

Top 3 challenges in digital transformation

When I asked them about what they found difficult in the digital transformation, 3 challenges came up repeatedly:

1. Organizational resistance to change

Who loves change? Change is frequently considered a headache and a pain. It means potentially working harder in an unknown environment. It means you might fail. Additionally, it requires teams to coordinate and collaborate like never before.

And yet, deep inside, we all know that failing to change and adapt to the era of digital transformation is a one way ticket out of the competitive market.

2. No existing business processes

In many organizations, there are no existing processes to effectively and quickly respond to valuable consumer data. Some of them even lack enterprise-wide digital strategy.

The key to success is to truly know your customer, and in today’s digital world it is about gathering valuable consumer insights when they are still relevant, sharing them across the shareholders in the organization and responding quickly.

Understanding the consumers, but even more importantly, responding quickly, was a core part of the success of leading companies like Amazon, Uber and Facebook.

And yet, till this day, many companies are struggling with this challenge. They have built large warehouses of internal information about clients and their purchases, they have some tools that contain a subset of the data about digital consumers, such as tools to monitor their social media or tools to monitor negative reviews. But 92% of them don’t have a unified platform to collect all the consumer information together and produce clear, relevant, and actionable insights that add value to consumers and can be used across every department - marketing, merchandising and digital - with known and shared business processes.

3. Lack of time and experience to lead digitisation initiatives

The digital departments are usually in charge of many business processes, such as digital marketing, website management, digital merchandising, content marketing, etc.

The diversity of their job is greater than any other department, rivaled only by the CEO. They need to understand both the business and the technology and it is truly hard to find experts in both fields.

Additionally, they are in charge of the ever-changing environment of the digital world, where things happen very quickly. Therefore, it is not surprising that they have limited time to gather consumer insights, analyze the consumer’s purchase journey, all while closely monitoring the digital landscape for any change.

However, when they have successfully cleared time to complete all of the aforementioned tasks, they report very impressive results.

Do you also experience some of these challenges?

In the next article we will address these concerns and examine real-life examples of these challenges and how leading companies have handled them accordingly.

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Galiya Simanovsky

Co-founder at Adapt, enjoys writing about retail & digital transformation.