Technology has always been seen as a reinventor and a disrupter of the way we do things. Digital technology is no different. Used in businesses, it changes everything from the way we raise money for funding out initiatives, to how we create products and services, to how we engage our customers. Social media helps amplify and move things along when it comes to these changes.
Of course, there are challenges as businesses are pressed to come up with great ideas quickly, and even make sound business decisions in a matter of minutes or hours. Contrast that to the months or weeks organizations used to spend just to decide on something. Indeed, everything is moving faster now, and it’s not just the business decisions and sound ideas that are being affected. Even hiring the right talents, spotting opportunities and trends ahead of the competition, and keeping up with customers.
With digital transformation, IT executives and CIOs are once again faced with the opportunity to help their organization grow and win.
What is digital transformation?
CIO.com’s Bill Schmarzo defines digital transformation as the coming together of real-time and granular data from a variety of sources with modern technologies, such as big data, cloud apps, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and hyperconvergence. This is to gain insights into your own operations, products, and customers. Digital transformation can improve product quality, business decision-making, and processes, as well as manage risk and discover new ways to make money.
Schmarzo also details how a digital business differs from a traditional business. One of the examples he used is that of two grocery chains – one traditional and the other one “digitally transformed”.
The old way of doing things is to gather customer data using loyalty cards. They try to improve shopping experience by cutting long lines at the checkout counter, and coming up with mass marketing programs to beef up sales. A digital grocery would instead combine the customer’s behavior while inside the store, along with their online purchases, social media activity, and even reviews on third-party sites to come up with insights for that particular customer. They improve customer experience by launching web apps and online shopping. With marketing, they get all the data they can get to give customers personalized recommendations.
The differences between these two grocers would extend to operations, inventory, delivery, supply chain, pricing, and partner ecosystems. Which one do you think would have better insights into their customer’s behavior? And which one is in a better position to come up with great customer experiences?
Digital transformation, however, is not just a way to drive your competitors out of business. In some instances, digital transformation can disrupt an entire industry, or two. For instance, iPhones are the reason why flashlights, CDs, cameras, alarm clocks, and other products are steadily losing sales year after year. Airbnb and Uber are also being credited for using digital transformation to change the way people ride or find accommodations.
Digital transformation has the potential to benefit businesses in different ways.
- Getting to know your customer. Getting information about your customers from different sources can help your marketing department offer stuff to them that they are most likely going to like and buy. Customers can usually get personalized offers at the right time.
- Interacting with your customers. If you want to learn more about your customers, then you might have come across social listening. Social listening is monitoring what is being said about your company, products, and services online – allowing you to act promptly.
- Growing the bottom line. Did you know that most consumers are now researching about the products online and they are more than halfway decided on which product to purchase even before they step into your store? This is the reason why it is important to makes sure that your selling process starts online. Also, business buyers are more likely to turn to social media for help when they are making business decisions.
- Improve your processes. Customers want seamless experiences, and they want your products to get to their doorsteps fast. This is only possible when you digitize your processes, allowing you to fulfill customer wants and needs fast.
- Get and retain the best employees. When you digitize your HR, you can deliver personalized, insightful, and social services to your employees, allowing you to find and then retain the top minds in the industry. This helps in increasing workforce productivity and operational efficiency, and foster collaboration.
- Gain insights about your business. The Internet of Things (IoT) can give you a lot of information about your operations that you can use to start a new business, create new products, and improve your operations.
The thing with digital transformation is that you simply cannot digitize your business using old technologies. This is because these technologies will not enable your enterprise to connect and engage your customers. An IT executive who is currently looking into digital transformation would need to prioritize it and other related technologies such as big data, cloud services, and information and infrastructure security.
And this is where MySQL helps.
MySQL is the most popular open source database in the world right now and it is positioned to help IT executives and CIOs achieve their digital transformation goals. In fact, many of the companies that are currently recognized as being the leaders when it comes to digital transformation such as Twitter, Booking.com, YouTube, and Facebook all use MySQL for their infrastructures.
Facebook uses MySQL to handle activities of more than one billion users, maintaining tens of thousands of MySQL servers. Their director of engineering, Venkat Venkataramani says that they have not seen anything better than MySQL. Twitter also uses MySQL to process 5,700 tweets per second, while YouTube processes 300 hours of video every minute with it. Meanwhile, Booking.com has been using MySQL since 2003. Booking.com handles reservation of more than 700,000 room nights on MySQL databases.
This is because MySQL was designed to work with Web-based applications, which is the reason why it quickly became the platform of choice for Web developers. MySQL has also proven to be reliable and scalable, and very few can top MySQL’s performance.
Stay tuned for the second part of this article. It will talk about MySQL for security, cloud services, cost control, and big data insights.
Photo courtesy of beachmobjellies (Flickr).