It's easy to talk about why digital transformations are valuable, thanks to the sheer number of generalized benefits the concept comes with. Yet for those in specific market verticals, the benefits to that particular industry may not seem so clear-cut. It's one thing to say that it “cuts costs” or it “improves efficiency,” but some businesses aren't so concerned about improving efficiency so much as they are about, say, protecting lives. With that in mind, we can examine some specific market verticals to note where the benefits for these firms lie.
How Healthcare Benefits from Digital TransformationWhile healthcare may be interested in improving efficiency and cutting costs, it also has specific concerns that generally come before these factors.
Working better with regulators. Healthcare is a heavily regulated industry. It requires a wide range of points that must be met in order to satisfy regulatory concerns and prevent the assessment of hefty fines and penalties. Thus, healthcare providers that engage in digital transformation — videoconferencing tools for telemedicine, networks for wearable devices, facilities for electronic medical records (EMRs) — are seen as more effective and as a better use of customers' healthcare dollars.
A compliance management software as a service (SaaS) solution – such as UTG's program – can create efficiencies for healthcare organizations that help administrators stay on top of compliance needs and goals in real time. A managed service provider like UTG helps organizations set up and manage such solutions as well.
Improving patient outcomes. The ability to gather and interpret data that comes with a digital transformation means that patients can have better outcomes. It becomes possible for healthcare providers to not only gather information about patients — via wearable devices as noted previously or by direct physician observation or other means — but also process that information to more effectively determine patterns. While counting on patients to properly self-report can be a process of uncertain quality, physicians and devices can be detached and more impartial.
Engaging the patient. During an era in which hospitals are losing bed space, the notion of sending a patient to his or her own home for recovery is an attractive option. Yet here, it's also an issue of less-than-reliable patient reporting that may impede recovery. With wearable devices and a more robust — and less manipulable — reporting system, the patient can better report on outcomes and actively work toward his or her own recovery.
In all of the above points, security concerns are paramount. Healthcare organizations need to match security plans against their business objectives in order to have both mirror each other for mutual goal achievement. By aligning security plans with overall strategy, data and analytics will be both easier and more secure in internal and external processes.
How Does Retail Benefit from Digital Transformation?
The generic benefits work well for low-margin retail operations, for whom every cost saved is a boost to profits. The benefits go beyond the standard, though, to encompass specific values.
Omnichannel connection. Retail customers are prone to using mobile devices while they shop. Whether it's just a price comparison or a specific impetus to interact with a product at a retail location before making a buying decision — a process known as “showrooming” — the end result is the same. Customers will go online before they buy, and for the business that's prepared for them, the likelihood of a purchase increases.
Personalization. Customers increasingly crave a personalized experience, commonly provided on e-commerce sites, which not only greet the shopper personally but can immediately tell what's already been purchased and what might be a worthwhile purchase going forward. Retail stores have a difficult time just getting to the “personalized greeting” front. With a digital transformation, stores can offer up access to custom-tailored deals, including coupons based on previous purchases or discounts based on a shopper's location in the store.
Self-service. One of the greatest changes in the retail space is the ability to function as your own checkout stand. Instead of waiting in line for a cashier to scan your barcodes, you can use your own smartphone to scan those same barcodes and process your payment accordingly. This means cost savings — fewer cashiers— but also improved service as customers have to spend less time waiting for access to a cashier if they don't want to scan their own purchases.
What Digital Transformation Can Do for Manufacturing
It all starts with manufacturing, and manufacturing can realize some important benefits from digital transformation.
Supply chain management. This might sound broad, but it's true. Virtually every part of the supply chain can experience direct benefit from a digital transformation. Whether it's raw materials, work-in-process, or finished goods inventory, digital transformation can provide real-time updates of exactly what's on hand and where it is in the supply chain. Identify at a glance if there's a production issue, a slowdown in certain departments, or shortages anywhere in the system to be addressed accordingly.
Dispersed facility communication. Many manufacturing operations have dispersed operations; one part of the process is in one building, another part is elsewhere in that same building, and another part is in a different building altogether, sometimes even in a different city. Keeping all of these processes managed requires the best in communications, and digital transformation can provide that. No more running from one building or even town to another; connect via a video conference and take care of issues without leaving the plant.
Addressing market uncertainty. Manufacturing operations are not agile, as a rule. They make large quantities of materials and are not often able to pivot reliably as changes in market trends emerge. Political environments, market forces, and even changing customer tastes can impact a manufacturing operation. However, with a digital transformation, improved agility is one of the leading outcomes thanks to streamlined communication, access to analytics functions, and real-time updates of the supply chain's status. Even a massive manufacturing operation can make changes quickly and effectively, adapting more readily to the changes a market experiences.
Take advantage of the internet of things. The use of IoT sensors in manufacturing equipment enables all sorts of new advancements for the vertical. According to a research by Business Insider, global manufacturers will invest $70 billion in IoT solutions in 2020. That's up from $29 billion from 2015. Many critical machine tools are improved with internet connectivity, and digital transformation is the key for manufacturing enterprises to take advantage of this rapidly evolving emerging technology. This technology evolution comes with security risks, though. The more endpoints a manufacturing business has, the more vulnerable it is to cyber threats. Manufacturing companies should look to security experts and partners in managed IT to help them integrate technologies such as the internet of things while maintaining cyber security.
How to Get Started Building a Digital Transformation
Between the inherent benefits of a digital transformation and the vertical-specific benefits, it's a safe bet that digital transformation looks like a tool worth having in your business' toolbox. Getting started, however, can look like a task entirely too difficult to engage in. For those feeling that way, having the right partner on your side, who understands the issues of digital transformation and how best to avoid them, can be a help whose value is beyond measure. Just reach out to us at UTG, and take advantage of our extensive array of digital services to help make your digital transformation both complete and tailored to your market.