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Digital Integration in business

History and experience are great teachers, they lay out things so clearly that really you have to be pretty stupid to not see a pattern or trend. Some time back I recall how I.T. was kinda the left out area of businesses. In a world where making money is everything, spending large amounts of cash on I.T. infrastructure seemed far from everyones mind. That believe was short lived and in today’s world, I.T. is crucial for a business to run well.

Businesses realized that if they want to be competitive, they needed to adapt quickly to the changing environment and put in place measures to ensure that as the technology advanced so did their business.

Easy to see and easy to understand – yet here we are living in the “Digital Age” and we somehow cannot apply the simple principle to digital. Now don’t be confused Digital is not I.T. and I.T. is not digital – the two may overlap because of software or technology being used but in business they are uniquely different.

Digital can be described as the glue of business, it fits in everywhere – emails, instant messaging, LCD screens, holograms, touch screens, web, mobi, bluetooth, USSD and really the list could go on – these are digitals channels in use that all sit on Digital as a platform.

I.T. may have to physically setup the touch screen, but it is the digital team that will look to create an experience for a user or consumer. But wait, you are probably thinking, isn’t that marketing’s job – not exactly.

This is then why I say that Digital needs to be the glue in business, Digital ties in with everyone, making sure I.T. get the right hardware software to create the purpose and ensuring that the marketing aspects are carried out correctly.

The example leads to to this: “If you are a business you need to integrate departments to create an effective product or solution”

While at TEDx I used the example about Checkers and Woollies – You could go to Checkers and buy a can of beans, they would be pretty cheap and that’s great. But then you have to get home, open the beans, wash them, cook them, add in salad and whatever else you like to have with your beans. Its interesting to note that you could also get the beans in Spar or Pick n Pay at about the same price, not much between the three.

You could also go to Woollies in which case you can buy the bean salad already prepared. Yes it would cost more, but thats because it has more value. Woollies has already washed the beans, cooked it added in the salad and so forth. All you have to do is open and enjoy.

This is so true in business – it’s does not matter what industry you’re in, there are always competitors and of you are not integrating your departments, then really you have no edge over your competitors. Don’t wait until its too late to realize that Digital needs to be in every piece of your business because at that point you’ll have very little chance of recovering.


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