Businesses are increasingly using digital and social to not only connect with their customers, but to drive internal transformational change.

Digital technology is transforming businesses across all sectors – from retail to finance, business services to manufacturing – according to a recent Deloitte Access Economics Report entitled The Connected Continent II.

The report finds that the digital economy is growing in significance, and is 50% larger than its 2011 report estimate. And not only is it growing, it’s changing how businesses and the Australian economy operate, with the internet and different technologies affording overall growth and productivity business benefits.

“[The internet] has connected us with the world, given us new opportunities to export our smarts, and now it’s helping our businesses transform to meet the needs of today’s consumers,” says Maile Carnegie, managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, in a recent media release.

“It’s getting harder and harder to separate the digital economy from the rest of our economy which can only be a positive, because it means technology is being embraced everywhere from healthcare to education, from agriculture to the delivery of government services.”

This insight can be vital for SME owners looking to stay abreast of new trends or new methods that could give them a potential lead over their competition. We look at the key takeaways from the report and how they can benefit your business.

Digital technologies support transformation 

The retail industry is facing intensified competition from online-only vendors and overseas vendors. The emergence of online shopping and the internet more broadly have changed what products and services consumers are buying and how they are buying them.

In the finance sector, digital innovation is playing a role in how major financial institutions compete, both in attracting customers and increasing productivity in their own internal operations. Banks are newly focused on building a digital culture, improving customer experiences and maintaining trust.

Increasing access to information and technologies is changing the role and value of business services with specialist knowledge. Digital technologies such as cloud-based computing systems (for example, the frequently adopted Xero software) means that business owners can use advanced systems to perform key business functions at a very low cost.

Businesses are more social than ever 

These days, there’s no excuse for a business not to have a social media presence – various platforms can be used for a range of purposes, for example to drive traffic to your site and create a conversation around your products and services.

In addition, businesses are increasingly using digital and social to not only connect with their customers, but to drive internal transformational change via the next wave of related technologies such as the cloud, data analytics and machine-to-machine technologies.

A mobile-friendly website is a successful website

The rise in mobile access to the internet and digital services through smartphones and connected devices has prompted new ways of thinking about presenting information to consumers on smaller screens and capitalising on usage trends.

Workplaces are increasingly flexible

Using digital technology in the workplace increases employee engagement and retention by facilitating collaboration and travel time savings.

Phone, email and video conferencing or other technologies, such as electronic document management systems, facilitate collaboration and provide an easy means of communication across teams and geographies.


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