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Three ways your business can stay ahead of digital transformation

By Dirk Hahn, Chief Operating Officer, Hays Germany

As a business leader, you know that staying on top of the digital transformations in your industry is a fundamental part of how well you retain your customers and maintain your prominence within the market.

As our CEO, Alistair Cox, outlines in one of his public speeches, digital transformation “gives you an opportunity to evolve your own business and adapt to new and modern ways of working, in effect, it can be a way of leapfrogging competitors who are maybe slower to anticipate and adapt.”

However, if you fail to anticipate change in the behaviour of your target market and their use in technology, you risk losing your standing within the industry and your appeal to your customers. So how can you tell if your business is able to stay ahead of the latest digital transformations? I encourage you to ask yourself the three questions below.

1. Do you constantly engage with your customers?

There is a correlation between digital transformation and consumer behaviour. Do you understand what your customers want – both now, and in the future?

Let’s use Nike as an example. Nike is a reputable sports brand with a range of globally popular running trainers. They successfully identified how their target market enjoyed running with their smart phones in their hand, with multiple apps open to track their distance, listen to music and monitor their time. As a result, Nike decided to go one step further and develop the Nike+ Run Club app. The app integrates, Apple Music, Google Maps and various social media platforms allowing you to track the distance, calories and time of all your runs which you can share with your friends.

The way your target market behaves will constantly evolve alongside changing technology, so make sure you can keep up and aim to stay ahead of the game.

2. How do you react to digital disruptors on the horizon?

Do you embrace change or bury your head in the sand when an industry disruptor rears its head? By choosing to keep on top of digital disruptors in your market, you are able to welcome change easier and identify how to use these transformations to enhance your own standing in the market. Below are two examples of how companies reacted to digital disruptors in their market.

A. Hays Recruitment: In a recent blog Alistair Cox describes how “five years or so ago, the advent of professional social networks, the likes of LinkedIn, were seen as the ultimate disintermediator of our business. Yet today we are still here – looking forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary as a business in 2018 and growing quickly around the world. I put that down partly to how we have engaged with the disrupters in our industry”

B. Kodak: The organisation failed to identify digital disruptors in time, and find ways to work with them. The leading photo-film company, who were once seen as pioneers in their field, were famously ousted by the advent of smartphone technology, eventually going bankrupt in 2012. Ask yourself, do you want to let your business go downhill, all thanks to a Kodak moment?

3. How innovative is your workforce?

An organisation is only as ready for a change as its workforce. Your organisation needs people who exhibit soft skills such as curiosity and problem-solving. These are the people who will spot a disruption ahead of time and suggest solutions enabling the business to stay ahead of digital transformations.

It’s important to encourage an innovative mindset amongst your existing workforce through leading by example. Circulate your ideas and insights, encourage those of others and create a knowledge-sharing culture.

What about the more senior people in your business? According to previous research, “62% of staff feel the biggest barrier to digital transformation is not having a leadership mandate”. If this is evident in your organisation, then you need to set an example and encourage leaders to buy into the importance of digital transformation.

It is clear, digital transformations are relentless and inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be a burden. By asking yourself these questions, you will at least ensure you are aware of digital disruption in your industry, and furthermore, how you can embrace and use these changes to your advantage.

To find out more, or to discuss your recruitment needs, please contact your local consultant

About this author

After receiving the degree of Diplom-Kaufmann (graduate in Business Administration), Dirk Hahn began his career with Hays in 1997. Initially working as a department head, Dirk progressed to Divisional Manager and then Director of Sales. In January 2008, Dirk was appointed Chief Operating Officer and joined the Management Board of Hays AG.

Dirk is responsible for the Engineering, Construction & Property, Life Sciences and Healthcare sales specialisms in Hays Germany, as well as the company’s recruitment management division and subsidiaries in Switzerland and Austria. He has been a member of Hays Global Management Board since 2017.

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