Digital business: The way to competitiveness

 

 

Digital business has been experiencing tremendous success lately. Innovation is at the core of this swift transformation allowing organizations to improve their offerings and expand their horizons. In this exclusive interview, Alexander Rauser, CEO, Prototype helps us get more insight into this evolution.

 

 

What is the importance of digital business nowadays?

Businesses of all kinds are going through some sort of digital transformation in order to stay competitive and counter digital disruption. This change is driven by digital innovation and transformation across all industries. It also means businesses have to stay ahead of the curve to meet the demands of customers and create digital channels that enable users to consume products and services easier and more efficiently. In today’s world we conduct, market and sustain business through digital offerings. In fact, most businesses have already converted into fully digitally driven operations. The question is not the importance of digital business, but the importance of further improving and innovating digitally to stay competitive. This is one of the key challenges many large and medium enterprises have these days, dealing with this transformation and turning their offering into 100% digital solutions. It is not only a question of new technologies, but also a change in customer behavior. If we think about what customers want and how they interact with media, we can see a big shift and much higher expectation for digitally enabled services. For example, mobile phones, from feature phones to smartphones or social media, Internet connectivity, other means of communication has changed the demand, and way customers want to interact with brands. Therefore, businesses need to continuously improve and enhance their digital footprint in order to stay competitive.

 

 

How is it changing the way of doing business?

There are the obvious ways of how business is done digitally; however, there is a whole new wave of change coming our way. For example, decentralization and business agent models as well as crowd companies. An example for the first scenario, the agent model, are services like http://paynearme.com. This service enables customers to pay bills using cash through local agents that are part of the network. What is special about this is that Pay Near Me is tapping into existing infrastructure and has created a large network of payment stations without the need to physically own any outlets. Aramex ExpressBox and application we developed that allows customers to self-serve and send parcels through various outlets across the Middle East is another example of an agent model that works really well. The application allows users to send parcels from a variety of partner locations without the need for the company to setup post offices. There are many examples of these models, but they show that there is a new layer of companies appearing that sit on top of existing business models and these new companies are taking control of the market and entire industries in some cases.

 

How is Prototype helping clients develop their business digitally?

As a service provider, we have developed a framework that enables business to succeed digitally and it all starts with the creation of a digital strategy. This process of creating a strategy is very important and what it means is to apply a program that fosters innovation and continuous improvement for companies that will lead to digital excellence. Of course, we have to cater to different types of businesses with different requirements and therefore companies can start the journey at specific points depending on their current need. Some may need a full strategy, some may need user experience, and some may need web design or digital marketing. Depending on where they are in their digital journey, we can bring on a team that can fill the gap and deliver the needed results.

 

 

How do you measure improvements?

Part of our strategy offering is the creation of KPIs and targets for all digital assets. Many digital programs stop at measuring marketing success, but we go one-step further and actually measure any digital touch point, internally and externally. For example, let us look at your companies CRM system, how does it contribute to your day-to-day operations or actual bottom line? What is the measurement that can take place to validate the performance? These questions need to be asked and a measurement plan needs to be put in place in order to measure and handle any change in performance fast and effectively. Further, by measuring various touch points and systems in detail the company can start to practice continuous improvement by trying to improve the performance of each system component. This is a great approach, because it will also tackle any user or customer experience issues over time, since once a system runs perfectly from a technical perspective the only way to improve it further is through improving the UX. Digital goes far beyond technology, digital needs to be a core concern of any business as it is entrenched across all departments, all tools and services we operate.

 

 

How do you differentiate yourself from competition in the local market?

We are pushing on a couple of fronts in order to create a competitive edge for Prototype. One is for sure our local production capability of all design and development, which gives us a great level of confidence and control over the quality that leaves our studio. Also, from a service perspective we have created a round service offering that allows us to manage our clients digital needs starting from strategy, creative to development and marketing. We can give you the full solution or parts of it as and when needed. Moreover, in terms of operations we adopted a model of process driven agency, which allows us to scale seamlessly.

 

 

According to you, what is the added value an application can bring to a startup?

Everyone is on a mobile phone these days smartphone or feature phone, and if they are not, they are most likely not going to be your customer either way. Any startup that goes into market these days needs to have a mobile first strategy. It does not need to be an app, but it needs to be mobile. Customers expect this from the services they use and they expect a great experience too. This is where a lot of money goes to waste by creating half-decent solutions that come through budget constraints and an uncommitted approach of entering the mobile app market. Paying 100,000USD for a mobile application is the norm these days. Mobile apps are a completely different beast than websites as they are compiled, released and distributed as individual applications. The testing effort is much higher due to this distribution model as well as the vast amount of available devices and platforms. On top of that, companies need to think about their backend infrastructure and their app marketing. Mobile is one of the most expensive channels to invest in, but also one of the most lucrative in terms of ROI when done well. It enables brands to build a far stronger bond than any other channel and it provides a lot more data and insights than most.

 

 

Where do you see traditional organizations heading in the next few years amid this digital buzz?

Companies will continue to transform digitally and some companies may even run out of business because of this digital disruption that is taking place. Take the taxi industry and what measures had to be taken to stop Uber in some countries from ruining an entire industry. Now, this sounds dramatic, but in reality, it happened ever since. Companies of all sizes come and go. New companies come along and create a more innovative solution that takes over an entire market or companies transform their business model altogether. Look at companies like Nokia, deeply rooted producing rubber boots in 1898 getting into cabling, telecommunications, producing the world’s best phones for a while… companies have always transformed to adapt and tackle change. We are neither in the beginning nor at the end, things just move a little faster.

 

 

 

 

About Prototype:

Prototype (http://prototype-interactive.com/) – a digital agency based in Dubai Media City specialized in designing and developing interactive solutions. Since 2010 Prototype has continuously worked with leading brands from various industries across the region and contributed to shaping their digital presence. Their expertise includes Web Design / Mobile Apps / Social Media / Digital Strategy / Content Management. With dedicated departments specializing in online marketing, Sitefinity consulting, online user experience and mobile solutions, Prototype caters to medium to large businesses that are planning to digitally transform and innovate.

 

 

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