There is a common misconception that digital transformation involves nothing more than acquiring, configuring, and installing new technologies. You just roll out the systems and the customer experience is miraculously transformed. You just flip a switch and all of your people line up to flawlessly execute your strategy and deliver on the promises of your brand story with ruthless consistency.

Of course, it’s important to add the best tech investments possible to activate your brand strategy. However, if you don’t have the foundational elements of digital transformation in place, you may end up making a series of unforced errors. Real transformation requires far more than chasing bright shiny objects—it requires a fundamental change in the way you do business.

To make sure that the conditions for success are in place, consider investing in these four enabling elements to put your business on the right path:

1. Conversational User Interfaces

In 2017, Maruti Techlabs at Chatbots Magazine shared that developers will soon prioritize a conversational user interface (UI) using AI over cloud-native and mobile-first projects in terms of importance. With a conversational UI, your team can interact with their computer on human terms versus traditionally computer-based terms that involved using syntax-specific commands or clicking icons. This gives your team the power to tell the computer what to do in natural, human language.

But the real reason heads are turning is that UI is not only being taken up by major brands (Apple, Facebook, Mattel), but is increasingly lowering costs and bolstering profits on the customer side. With UI, fielding customer complaints or consumer orders no longer has to be a cost center. 1-800-FLOWERS, for example, saw an incredible 70% increase in orders from new customers after it introduced its UI chatbots. This makes UI a major strategic element that can be factored into customer-facing campaigns. Such strategic tech will, I suspect, be ever more common in the near future.

2. IoT-Enabled Customer Experiences

You’ve probably heard about the Internet of Things (IoT) for several years and wondered what it’s about and how it can help your business. In March 2020, a SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey found that 44% of small business owners say they plan to invest in IoT-related resources. While only 20% of those stating they plan to invest in this vital technology are also planning to invest in cybersecurity, it’s an invaluable tool to consider. However, don’t neglect to ramp up your cybersecurity to keep your multiple gadgets safe from hackers. IoT devices are transforming customer experiences across so many industries today that it’s hard to keep up with the pace of change. Here are just some of the new gadgets that can be (and have been) used as part of a strategic push:

  • Elderly Care Monitoring and Wearable Health Monitors
  • Smart Locks for Enhanced Building Access and Security
  • Bike Helmet Crash Sensors
  • Smart Tennis Rackets
  • Smart Smoke Detectors and Air Quality Sensors
  • Smart lighting systems to increase security and save energy

3. Cybersecurity Infrastructure

You can never invest too much in cybersecurity, an ever-evolving industry. Of course, it’s important to follow the trends, especially with everything that has changed in response to the remote-based business landscape amid COVID-19 issues. Forbes noted in March 2021 that cybercriminals are acting like nation-states and have been expanding due to the pandemic. That means your cyber vigilance is more crucial than ever before.

On any size project, cuber security is quickly becoming a central piece of the strategic puzzle. And cyber security doesn’t just mean new digital platforms and software! It means maintaining a comprehensive range of resources: a crisis response plan at the ready, the best tech people lined up to deal with emergencies, and data backups (such as in cloud storage) to offer an out in the event of a ransomware attack. All of this isn’t just important for a “break glass in case of emergency” moment, but is increasingly important for conducting effective digital strategy from altogether.

4. CRM Platform

A customer relationship management (CRM) software system is an invaluable piece of technology that can help businesses thrive amid chaos, maintaining strong ties with customers while employees worked remotely. CRM systems make it easy for you and your employees to conduct business remotely while improving the customer experience. Search for a CRM system that readily adapts to the changing demands of your business, featuring a modern and user-friendly interface, and you have the foundation for success in any conditions.

The Takeaway

Digital transformation is a strategic consideration for top business leaders, especially if disruptive technologies drive value and align with your overall business strategy. If you’re looking for technology investments to do all that and more, a CRM system that fosters strong customer relationships, ironclad cybersecurity, IoT-enabled customer experiences and conversational UI are all great bets. They are the enabling elements of of a winning digital strategy. If you can find the right tech investments and execute with ruthless consistency, your customers will listen, engage, buy and most importantly, stay with you.