Digital businesses are at the forefront of innovation today, thanks to the competitive advantages that digital channels like social media, websites, email, etc., offer. But what is a digital business, and why has it become a thriving segment of the global economy? Here is an extensive guide to the key concepts of businesses and their role in a data-driven world.
What is Digital Business?
Such businesses are an extension of conventional business practices that use technological solutions to support business operations. It involves utilizing digital tools like websites, social media, Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc, to streamline a business’s internal and external operations, such as product development, marketing, production, manufacturing, and sales.
Types of Digital Businesses
Businesses in the digital space are transformative and can take many different forms. Each type harnesses the power of different technologies to create new value-added experiences for its target customers. These are four types of businesses based on online engagement levels:
Basic Digital Engagement Level
This includes businesses that depend on traditional marketing methods such as newspaper/magazine advertisements, radio ads, or direct mail. At this level, businesses hardly use (and may not be comfortable with) modern marketing tools or social media. They may have a business email address as their only digital tool.
Intermediate Digital Engagement Level
Businesses use simple digital marketing tools such as having a basic website without e-commerce features or being listed on third-party marketplaces.
High Digital Engagement Level
These businesses may have slightly more advanced websites with online booking and e-commerce facilities. They utilize social media tools and other digital marketing channels to enhance business efficiency.
Advanced Digital Engagement Level
Businesses use more sophisticated or advanced digital tools. This could be anything from developing a mobile application to using data analytics to understand customer preferences or sales-oriented details.
Importance of a Digital Business
Since we now have a better idea of what is digital business, it is time to understand why such businesses are important in the current economy. What role do they play in the global business world? Technology lies at the heart of most business strategies today and is typically used to develop, analyze, store, or create information that benefits companies. This helps get an edge over competitors and helps businesses grow. Apart from achieving a competitive edge, here are some reasons why businesses in the digital space are important:
- They generate new value-added opportunities for customers and higher revenue for companies
- Ensure enhanced focus on the customer journey and experience
- Account for improved business operations by being agile at adapting to global changes in technology
How do Digital Businesses Work
Digital technology is the foundation of every online business’s model and operations. Today, even traditional businesses use digital tools like social media to market products and improve customer experience. To better understand how such businesses work, here is a breakdown of the elements that contribute to a successful business:
- A business model that is customer-centric and offers value to the target audience
- Organizational agility to keep up with customer needs and rapidly change technological developments
- Decision-making that is backed by a strong data-driven culture
- A core focus on providing a great customer experience
Business Strategy for the Digital World
The best way to describe what is a business strategy for the digital medium is that it is a policy or approach devised to streamline internal processes and business activities using the right digital technologies. Additionally, this organizational strategy should align with business objectives to ensure maximum efficacy. Here, implementing ML applications, data analytics, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), etc, are a few examples of developing an optimum business strategy that works.
A good digital strategy essentially focuses on using the right technology to enhance business performance. Moreover, it is generally devised by combining the expertise of cross-functional teams across marketing, IT, and other executive leadership teams.
What is a Digital Business Model?
A business model for the digital ecosystem can be defined as using digital technologies to help a business create and capture a value proposition. Now, thanks to the availability of global digital infrastructure and ease of integrating technologies, implementing innovative digital models are within reach of most organizations today.
Some of the most popular types of business models that are digital include:
- E-commerce model
- Marketplace model
- Open digital model
- Revenue generation model
- Ecosystem model
- Free model
- On-demand model
- Sharing model
- Freemium model
- Subscription model
Advantages of a Digital Business
New technologies, such as 5G, AI, Internet of Things (IoT), etc., are already bringing about changes in online business processes. But how is this helping businesses? Since we have a clear picture of businesses that are digital, let us take a look at some of the top benefits of such enterprises:
- Increased agility
- Higher productivity levels
- Better effectiveness and output
- Lower operational costs
- Better use of resources
- Improved decision-making
- Refined reliability and governance
- Enhanced quality of service
How to Start a Digital Business
Since there are so many functional benefits of setting up an online business, you’re probably wondering how to create a successful business in the digital space. Whether you want to learn how to digitally transform a venture or start a new business from scratch, we have put together a detailed guide on everything you need to know to kickstart a new-age business.
Step 1: Create a Detailed Business Plan
An efficient business plan should outline important information like what the brand is all about, the vision, short-term and long-term goals, unique value propositions, details on the target audience, digital initiatives, etc.
Step 2: Choose the Right Business Model
The business model of choice will significantly impact all business operations, so it is important to choose wisely.
Step 3: Develop a Strong Digital Strategy
Identify the best choice of digital communication, digital workflow, and a budget that will be most effective for the brand or organization.
Step 4: Select the Right Digital Technology Channels
Identifying the right digital channels is a key factor that will directly impact business growth. Choose the right digital channels based on your target audience and create strategic content for maximum results.
Key Trends in Digital Business
Trends in the digital space are constantly evolving. Hence, it is important to regularly keep track of new tech tools and business practices. Here are some key trends to expect in the coming year:
Businesses in the digital space will focus on continuous improvement, greater productivity, and rapid problem-solving methodologies, all without wasting resources. Lean, Scrum, and other agile practices are all set to become a must-have organizational trait.
The popularity of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will account for deploying more complex services. Thus, there will be greater demand for more bandwidth across global online businesses.
Thanks to OpenAI and ChatGPT, AI finally has an equipped interface that businesses can use to streamline internal and external processes.
Businesses become more efficient, agile, and customer-centric by digitizing their operations. Due to the growing digital ecosystem, there has been a high demand for tech-savvy innovators who are well-equipped to improve business operations, processes, and services. Now, if you want to drive digital transformation at an organization, consider enrolling for an online business management course with Emeritus to take your career to the next level!
By Neha Menon
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