Four Priorities for Digital Leaders Right Now

It may feel counterintuitive for businesses to continue spending during these uncertain times, but when it comes to modernizing workflows, they can’t afford not to.

Although updating technologies can be a big ask mid-year or during tighter spending cycles, companies must muster the optimism and pragmatism necessary to invest in optimizing their workflows, security and data collection to further support growth.

Our goal is to help keep your digital initiatives on track so that you can continue contributing top-line and bottom line growth by modernizing core business processes, reducing costs and eliminating manual tasks.

Here are four ways businesses can remain agile, maintain growth and improve the customer and employee experience amid a possible economic downturn.

1. Start with the customer experience

Business leaders recognize the value in creating a positive customer experience, with 97 percent of chief executive officers agreeing that customer satisfaction is critical. Another 90 percent said customers have the greatest impact on their business strategy. Forward thinking CEOs are using—and will continue to utilize—digital tools to improve existing relationships while curating new ones.

It’s because they recognize that modern technologies are necessary to remain competitive during a time when customer expectations are sharply rising. If you haven’t done so already, consider offering mobile apps and utilizing technologies that can improve authentication and identity. The adoption of emerging technologies is critical to creating a secure and seamless identity verification experience. According to the Forrester/Docusign study, 82% of financial services decision makers agree they would greatly benefit from emerging verification tech such as biometric data or eIDs.

CRMs are just one of many ways you should be using technologies to nurture relationships with customers, who are likely to reward your efforts through increased spending, referrals and brand loyalty. 

2. Improve productivity

Economists have placed their bets on the odds of an economic downturn, with Citigroup forecasting a 50 percent chance of a global recession. It means many companies should be implementing technologies that make it possible to do more with less.

A possible downswing has only underscored the importance of digital transformation for executives such as Christiane Jauch, chief operating officer at the German digital consultancy firm OMMAX. During an interview with Raconteur she called for ongoing investment in digitalization to help drive efficiencies, automation, planning and more.

“We have always been a growth-focused company but are now also focusing more on costs and efficiency of processes with cost development,” she told the outlet.

She’s not the only one calling out the efficiencies brought about by modern tools. A separate PTC digital transformation report found digital technologies could improve operating efficiencies by 40 percent. Recent Docusign research found contract management software can help reduce manual work in the contract process by as much as 43%.

3. Boost cybersecurity 

Nearly 60 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) plan to spend more money on digital technologies year-over-year because they believe the spend will yield a multitude of benefits. Increasing cyber security was top-of-mind for 65 percent of the execs polled—and for good reason.

Cybersecurity attacks are on the rise and becoming more sophisticated and costly. (Costs related to cybercrime are expected to hit $10.5 trillion—per year—by 2025.) The right technologies play a critical role in protecting both company and customer data by:

  • Utilizing artificial intelligence to protect data from malicious attacks
  • Incorporating more robust forms of authentication, such as two-factor systems
  • Using machine learning to analyze threats in real time
  • Building in blockchain to protect data from hackers
  • Providing identity verification at the point of customer interaction

4. Prioritize being agile

In today’s hyper-competitive and complex market, businesses must have the capacity to respond to shifting dynamics in real time. This is another area where technology must be utilized to drive workflows, calculate risks and quickly react to industry changes. A Harvard Business Review study found that companies that embrace an agile culture experience 60 percent growth in revenue and profits.

Ricoh USA’s senior vice president of technology Bob Lamendola recently spoke about how technology can help businesses become more agile.“Implementing smart automation of processes increases the quality of outcomes, makes the organization nimble and quick to reach to changing business dynamics,” Nardecchia told CEO.

Ronan Copeland, Docusign’s group vice president and general manager of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, recently shared a similar sentiment. “The speed with which the world is moving now and the way that business moves now means that you can be left behind very quickly,” Copeland said.

Economic downturns are no time to bury your head in the sand. Rather, they’re an opportunity to reevaluate your operations and identify ways your business can do more with less, improve customer relationships and remain profitable. The right technologies can go a long way in weathering this—or any other storm.

Here are some additional resources for your digital transformation journey: 

Driving productivity 

Digitizing forms and contracts 

Automating workflow

If you’re interested in learning more about how Docusign’s suite of e-signature tools can help your business prosper, sign up for a free trial.

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