If digitization is an inside-out process of the company, then it must start with company’s internal functions. Here are the trends of 2018 in digitization considering the main 5 internal functions of the company:
Trend 1 – Marketing –> Video content
Today, most customer interactions take place via email, phone and online chat. However, the embedded video is easier to use than ever. According to Hubspot, 43% of people want more video content and 52% of marketing experts classify the video as the highest-performing tool. Video content of less than 90 seconds results in a 53% user retention rate. This means that multiple short videos included in marketing emails and chat windows might be a great opportunity. The popularity of video content will put video content at the center of marketing and sales campaigns in 2018.
Trend 2 – Sales –>Automatic data collection
Automatic data collection has allowed companies to create highly detailed customer profiles for client relationship management. Using new data collection, companies can re-prospect old accounts and meet their needs in a customized manner. Hubspot reports that 69% of customers want sales teams to know their needs very well, and 61% of customers want sales representatives to provide relevant information. Customer accounts can become incredibly dense in information, and a improved customer profiles could lead to an increase in sales due to capitalizing on those information.
Trend 3 – Financial -> Digital invoicing
In 2018, standardization and automation will help finance departments by making billing processes fully automated. Universal Business Language (UBL) is an open library of XML standards for documents such as purchase orders, invoices and transport logistics. Although it has been used for a decade, UBL was expected to be mandated by European directives in 2018. Now it seems that 2019 will be the deadline for European firms to be obliged to receive and process electronic bills using UBL. One of the largest benefits of adopting UBL is that bills are instantly making reservation proposals that customers can then process in their financial or ERP systems. Financial professionals will save a lot of time and effort by not having to recreate the invoice data. UBL eliminates the potential for human error related to copying data.
Trend 4 – IT –> Cloud migration
Cloud migration is another trend present in 2017 that better structures in 2018. Cloud computing helps organizations take care of centralized processes, such as allowing organizations to store data in a location accessible from anywhere. Cloud migration is relevant from a financial perspective because it reduces the hardware and staff costs associated with hosting and internal servers. It is also relevant from a productivity perspective, as employees can communicate and access files from anywhere and not just in the office. Still, cloud migration brings challenges in cyber security. So, the motto is „let’s cloud migrate to a provider with resources and experience in the figthing against malware and data breaches”
Trend 5 – Human resources –> Shrinking teams
According to the HR Trend Institute, the number of jobs in human resources departments will decrease as the level of automation increases. For example, the selection of candidates that many recruiters make with their experts, is quickly taken up by intelligent machines. HR advisors, assistants and business partners will become less needed. Top HR staff will be needed in HR services, and a high-level HR Architect can (and should) play an important role in transforming organizations.
General Data Protection Regulation
GDPR will have a cross-cutting impact on sales, marketing and HR departments. The focus will be on working with the new rules around key terminology - "consent", "right to be forgotten", "opt-in", "sensitive personal data". This will be the main effort for sales departments, but also for marketing research and human resources in 2018.
In conclusion, 2018 will be the year when many companies will realize that digital transformation is not a fad, a fashion accessory, or something just useful for big technology companies. It is an imperative in today's business landscape if companies aim for competitive advantage. The disruptive effect of digital transformation across all industries will threaten traditional business models.