Recently, one of our prospect clients discussed the idea of "Digitization" of their existing business. They are having a strong presence in the offline transaction of their products and wanted to identify on the prospect of (1) setting up on existing e-commerce platform services or (2) develop their custom setup (Going Bespoke).
Similar questions often come when I visit a lot of interested people. Hence, I would take this opportunity to write down on Digitization and options both.
In a plain definition, Digitization is the conversion of text, pictures, or sound into a digital form that can be processed by a computer.
Instead, it's used as an umbrella term now for all process and implementation required to build internet and software-based systems which facilitates business in either solution implementation or creating an online presence.
Due to its very wide coverage, it's not easy to implement a solution without going deep into the organization's actual requirement and perceived digital implementation. The digital implementation itself seeks a certain level of intent, clarity, and readiness from the business. And then, of course, there is a need for a very good Subject Matter Expert to guide and interrogate ideas. Thereafter, implement and maintain the solution.
As quoted by Bill Gates, "The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. "
You have been struggling with a lot of manual processes and paperwork and you see a serious decrease in efficiency.
Too many common and recurring problems that need to be fixed daily. It's becoming difficult for you to reach your customers and manage them. It's becoming difficult for customers to reach you.
And most importantly, you need your brand to be known and create a presence so that more people can get connected more easily.
Every day 207 billion emails are sent, 8.8 billion YouTube videos are watched, 4.2 billion Google searches are conducted, and 152 million Skype calls are made . There are more mediums to connect and realize opportunities now.
There are ~7.6 Billion users of internet in 2019 which is ~56% of the world population. More users are adding each year at the rate of ~1% per year . Imagine the reach we can get for our services and products.
When an organization goes into the Digitization process, it's important to look into the vision of the organization. There is often no lookback once you start this process and there is no opt-out if you have not started yet. To sustain in an ever-growing market, all businesses need to embrace this change. Here, the vision of top management plays a very vital role. A visionary leader may look farther than peers. They make decisions that can be less understood till they start materializing and start making a widespread impact.
To go with bespoke or SAAS/Pre-built software or Hybrid depends on the vision of the leader.
Though, to a certain degree, it depends on the ability to spend to decide between two options but proper feature and milestone planning can mitigate this dependency. If current spending is less then the business might go slow. Further, pull up socks when there is enough visibility and opportunity to scale.
For example, a business can start with an online presence only. Once footfalls and lead start converting then plan to go for building solutions that can increase lead conversion, sales, orders, and customer satisfaction.
It's often difficult for a business to plan, strategize, estimate time, estimate cost and prioritize when it's very first time that they are donning the hat of Digitization. It becomes overwhelming initially.
Such business needs to have expert consultancy initially where they can be explained about the process involved. Evaluate the processes, list out the objectives, flesh out the requirements and hire yourself a professional technical team that will help you develop a custom software that will provide an ROI of many times the investment in terms of time-saving, cost-effectiveness and risk reduction through a structured, scalable and comprehensive custom software solution.
It's important to understand that, ROI on digitization is very similar to any other business. It takes some time to deliver its benefit. Meanwhile, it's important to keep the wheel rolling and keep planning based on whatever market validation we receive. Businesses who have just started the process may become impatient. They need to trust their planning, execution, and instinct. Rome wasn't built in a day
Perseverance is high among businesses that have already established a good infrastructure and have been through all situations. Such businesses must work on improving their existing infrastructure, modernizing their applications and adopting new paradigms and technologies. Solution providers need to respect the fact that every business has different ideas, perspectives, and positioning. They need to research and identify the current state of business and then support them accordingly.
There are no hard and fast rules to identify which fits best. A lot of organizations prefer SAAS/Pre-built software depending on their vision and spending capability.
Higher Management who have broader vision may go for custom solutions where they have complete control over data (availability, integrity, and correctness), customization, personalization, safety, and flexibility too. Amazon, Netflix, Uber, Oyo, Airbnb have spun off a paradigm shift where the primary business is non-technical but have done massive works on technology and services.
Besides, many other companies that want complete control of data or establish new "As a Service" opportunities are going for custom solutions.
An innovate company would not like to get hard-wired with the pre-built solution where the option of doing RnD and innovate is lost on the decision of the third party.
Historically, it has been seen that how difficult is to manage complete services stack if they are completely built in house. A new nature of development has been seen in the last decade. Here, the core solution is custom while other services are plugged in via "As a service" methodology. For example, payment is handled by external services like Stripe, PayPal; analytics are handled by external services like Google Analytics, HubSpot. Infrastructure is handled by companies providing Platform as a Service (PAAS).
This helps in reducing Time to Market. Also, ensures your data belong to you completely.
Fastcurve has recently solutions for Boxxport and Limpkin. They can be seen at www.boxxport.com and www.limpkin.in respectively
Vision and support from both businesses have been exemplary. This helped the team to bring out such a mature and quality product in a defined timeline.