April 01, 2021 | Mark Winer

6 best practices to conquer digitization in 2021 and beyond

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Mark Winer, Senior Director of Digital Experience

Mark Winer

Mark J. Winer is Senior Director of Digital Experience at Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions for consumers, small businesses, enterprise organizations and carrier partners across the U.S.
Summary: It’s shaping up as a year of feverish digitization across the business landscape. Staying competitive in this new business and economic environment requires modern strategies. Follow these tips to guide your enterprise network and digital transformation decisions in 2021 and beyond.

Digital transformation initiatives have been underway for decades, fueled by the desire of organizations to leverage new technologies to improve their products, services and processes. But unlike the years of digital transformation cemented in history, last year we saw something pretty remarkable. We witnessed businesses of all sectors finally pushed over a technology tipping point of historic proportions as a response to massive economic and human changes stirred by the global pandemic.

6 best practices to conquer digitization in 2021 and beyond

According to a global executive survey, McKinsey found that businesses were accelerating the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years.1 An era of change happened seemingly overnight.

Digitization is gaining strategic importance as a critical business component. It makes way for the new way of working—recognizing a disparate workforce and the urgent need for extraordinary digital experiences. Check out these six best practices to help guide the planning and strategizing around your organization’s digital roadmap.

6 tips to master digitization

  1. Refine your DX to define your CX. Customer experience (CX) is one aspect of a company’s digital transformation, made up of all customer interactions, touchpoints and exchanges. Digital experience (DX) refers to the experience customers have with an organization on digital platforms. Seamless omnichannel experiences act as a key differentiator that gives an organization a competitive edge in attracting prospects and pleasing existing customers at all points of the buyer’s journey.
  2. Achieve 360-degree network visibility. We are actively navigating the effects from the surge in remote work. While the lasting impacts are not set in stone, enterprises and IT decision makers are now fully aware of the value that unified communications (UC) platforms can provide. Admin users rely on unified communications as a service (UCaaS) to gain full control at all times; they want the ability to monitor and manage applications, user access, bandwidth and the overall network experience—anytime via any device.
  3. Prioritize solutions that merge network and security. We will continue to see more pressure put on technology companies to deliver secure network monitoring and management solutions that offer competitive differentiation through their DX. Part of that has to do with the realization that managing network settings and business policies independently—separate from security applications—not only is inefficient, but also invites serious security risk, especially as we rely more on remote work. Look for solutions with integrated security that allow you to easily monitor and manage networks through a single interface.
  4. Show appreciation for automation. Acceleration helps to capture new efficiencies within the business. Network automation tools reduce instances of human error by moving repetitive functions and processes out of human hands. This act of automation frees employees from activities like rerouting traffic or intelligent call handling for higher-value pursuits. Choosing a service provider that offers automation to better detect network failures, dispatch technicians and speed disaster recovery within minutes can greatly reduce or even eliminate the impact of any issue.
  5. Recognize the future is predictive. Along the same note as automation, there is a growing reliance on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools for your network as they become more accessible. A recent study found that the machine learning market is expected to grow by $11.16 billion between 2020 and 2024.2 Predictive tools use data to identify potential network issues in real time before they escalate—and, even better, they advise on how to fix those issues. For example, these tools can predict a budding bandwidth issue with a high degree of accuracy and suggest the best alternative route in order to preserve bandwidth when experiencing connectivity issues. Predictive tools can also identify potential hiccups in the customer journey—making the organization and its employees work smarter, not harder.
  6. Future-proof your communications. With technology moving at the speed it is today, it’s easy for any organization’s IT decision makers to live in fear that the digital communication tools and approaches they use are outdated. Managed communication services provide confidence via current-generation solutions, coupled with reliability and quality of service. A trusted service provider eliminates worries of technology obsolescence by staying ahead of the latest emerging digital trends and tools. And, when appropriate, they will proactively implement them on behalf of customers, leaving IT teams with more free time to focus on strategic, revenue-generation opportunities.

Finding the right partner

It’s a critical year for businesses to plan ahead as they make decisions around digital technology. Now is the time to think through how these decisions will impact the future of your network and communications. While there is a lot to consider, remember you’re not alone in this process. Turning to a trusted service provider like Windstream Enterprise will help your business stay ahead. Windstream Enterprise offers next-gen SD-WAN and network security solutions, a suite of UC and collaboration tools, and a customizable portal to access all information about your services in one place. These solutions are thoughtfully designed to help you fully address the need for an effective digital transformation. To learn more about how to future-proof your organization, visit our website for cloud-optimized solutions that can help accelerate your business.

References

  1. How COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed business forever,” McKinsey, October 5, 2020. Accessed March 4, 2021.
  2. “Global Machine Learning Market,” Technavio, March 27, 2020. Accessed March 4, 2021.

Key takeaway: A growing need for embedded security, 360-degree management and acceptance of innovative technology will drive organizational success while tackling this latest wave of digitization.
Senior Director of Digital Experience

Mark Winer

Mark J. Winer is Senior Director of Digital Experience at Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions for consumers, small businesses, enterprise organizations and carrier partners across the U.S.