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Using digital to drive growth in your business

Alexia McClure — 04/12/2017
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You’ll have noticed that Jersey, London and many other cities are putting considerable effort into building a digital sector in order to create new high value jobs and sustainable economic growth.

But growing a digital sector is not just about encouraging new digital businesses to set up and evolve. It is also about how digital technology can revolutionise established businesses by transforming the way they develop and deliver the products and services we continue to need.

Don’t think that digital solutions are just for the large companies because when used well, technology can level the playing field between large and small businesses. Selective implementation of tech that can streamline back-office processes, help manage costs and improve internal and external communication can create massive advantages for smaller businesses enabling them to be nimbler and more customer centric.

Recently, I was fascinated to hear from a budding local entrepreneur who was discussing how introducing contactless payment solutions had resulted in shorter queues in their shop. This technology had made the payment process faster and simpler with the knock-on effect of freeing up staff resources to spend more time with customers. For the business, this simple piece of kit had improved the customer experience at the same time as increasing their profits.

As a business leader, have you considered and developed your own digital strategy? Do you know how technology will impact your sector, your suppliers, your workforce, your working practices and of course your profitability?

Perhaps you think that your business doesn’t need to introduce new systems or that your customers don’t want it. If so, be careful! There are numerous examples of businesses that got caught out very quickly by the impact that technology had on their market. Blockbuster, Jessops and Kodak were all companies that failed because they didn’t review their business and stuck with the traditional when the market had moved to digital. Compare those businesses with Amazon, for example, which continually embraces digital and other tech advancements to drive customer satisfaction, engagement and ultimately profits.

OK, you might not be the size of Amazon but the principle still holds that digital technology is already changing the expectations and behaviour of your customers and clients so don’t put your head in the sand and think that it won’t affect your business. Even though Jersey Business is a very small business we are continuously reviewing how our various IT systems work together, how we use these systems and what we need to add or change. As a result, we have better functionality, material savings in staff operating time and much better data.

So, my message to all businesses is take technology seriously and give you senior team the time to review or develop your own technology plan. This will help you adapt and develop your own business model to take advantage of how your customers and markets will move.

Finally remember, we are all part of the ‘digital economy’ even though we may not always realise it!

If you need an independent, confidential talk about your business, operations or markets give us a call or visit our website www.jerseybusiness.je.

Alexia McClure - Head of Operations
Alexia is a member of the Senior Management Team responsible for the operation of Jersey Business.