Digital business in every stage of the business life-cycle

08.03.21 08:46 AM By Matt Koopmans

Is your business ready for a Digital Business? Is it bad if you are not? Is it for every business, no matter the size or stage in the life-cycle? And is a digital business the same for every business? The answers are yes, no, yes, and no... Clear? No? Well, then I invite you to read on...

A digital business?

Let's first summarise what a digital business is in this particular context - and the best way to do that is to first establish what it is not. It is not a business based on social media marketing, although social media marketing may be part of the business. A digital business is not an online store, although the business may sell through online channels. A digital business is not a digital business implementer or reseller, although that may be the market they operate in. In short, the term digital business does not reflect on the market presence, sales channels, or product of the business. 


A digital business is reflected in the business infrastructure.


Away with the printers, manilla folders, and unending email trails to casts of thousands where only a handful have the time and interest to attach their grievance to it. A digital business infrastructure is designed with one thing in mind - get the information right the first time, and to the right people at the time they need it, on a device that is convenient to them - regardless of location.


So, it is apps? Yes and no. Just like a pile of bricks does not make a house, a collection of applications does not make a digital business. It is how the apps are put together to help your business in the process, and how they are maintained when your business changes.

Startup or Solopreneur

Just started your business, or a Solopreneur by design? You'll probably think of a million reasons why your business would not be suitable for a Digital Business Platform, or even Digital Business Services. Nothing is further form the truth. A startup with a growth objective will find that having a digital business platform that is well maintained removes the operational barriers for growth. And a Solopreneur can simply do more business with less administration.

  • Infrastructure that is set up to scale with your growth
  • Infrastructure that allows you to spend more time with your customers, less on your business administration

Lifestyle business

Not all businesses have a growth objective. There are plenty of examples of businesses where the owner has established a form of "self-managed" operation - where the owner can reduce the time spent on or in the business, and the business keeps performing according to the demands of the clients and established financial metrics. There is no growth objective, rather a keep it going and enjoy the life-style it brings. Of course, the business still serves customers with the same passion, and even employs people.

A digital business allows the owner to be on top of the business when needed, or desired, wherever and whenever. A quick overview here, and an approval there - as long as there is a connection to the internet, the business owner can take control at any time. With a digital business platform the business insights are fresh and actionable - and for the business owner giving the single page insight into the day to day (or week to week, month to month - as desired) developments in the business.

  • Increase productivity - get more done in less time
  • Increase insight, peace of mind when your business performs with transparency

Breakthrough

During the business life-cycle, there are a few stages that are demarcated by "walls" you have to break through - a breakthrough that is a watershed moment, sparking significant growth, often after a period of frustrating stagnation. Sometimes the growth is enabled by the operational efficiency a digital business can bring. Whether the growth was sparked by the digital business or not, it is without fail that a well configured digital business platform is a catalyst enabling such growth.

  • Improve process efficiency by interconnected applications on the digital business platform
  • Gain new insights in the correlation between business development, logistics and profitability via comprehensive business analysis dashboards

Owner's exit

Planning an exit from the business? The valuation of the business is in a not insubstantial degree determined by the business operating platform. While there are other factors that determine the value, most of these are performance (i.e, revenue and profit), or business model (marketable intellectual property, distribution channel) driven. In a well configured digital business, the new owner's team can step in, and with minimal "in-reading" start driving the business. Compare this to driving a new car - you may need to consult the owner's manual for instructions to use the infotainment system, but you can drive away immediately.

  • Reduce buyer's risk by providing transparent and auditable high resolution business and operational results
  • Increase business value with an efficient operating model, process, and platform

Digital business services for your business?

A digital business is for businesses in any of these phases in the business life-cycle. But what is a digital business services plan? Just like a pile of bricks does not make a house, a digital business platform with applications does not make a digital business. Digital business services is a managed services plan, where you not only gain access to the applications, but  to the implementation (make it work for you), support, maintenance, and enhancement of these applications - forming a comprehensive digital operating model for your business. In the analogy of the bricks and the house - you get the bricks, timber, mortar, architect, builder, plumber, electrician, to design, construct, and maintain the house. In essence, you subscribe to the applications, an IT department, and a CIO, as well as your implementation and support vendor, for a fraction of the cost. Is a digital business services plan for you? Check the practical scenarios below.

Practical scenarios