Gaining Competitive Advantage with Digital Tools

Technology can help companies gain a competitive advantage by giving them new ways to outperform rivals. Digital tools can help organisations reduce costs, increase speed to market and provide robust information and seamless customer and employee experiences. These are all essential facets of gaining a competitive advantage. A survey by Ernst & Young conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic suggests that companies investing more in new technology make more money. The survey identified digital transformation leaders that are 45% more likely than laggards to unlock annual revenue growth of more than 10%. Ernst & Young said, “New technologies are destroying traditional business models as quickly as they are creating new ones, giving rise to the phrase ‘digital transformation’.” The emergence of newer technology such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and autonomous business is already disrupting how business works and how societies operate. To remain competitive, organisations will need to remove manual and outdated processes. So which digital tools can help you gain a competitive advantage and how?

Customer-centric approach

Digital leaders implement digital tools that help to drive better customer experiences and engagement. Customers today expect personalisation and the convenience of being able to transact anywhere at any time and for every product and service to be delivered as a seamless experience. To stay competitive, you need to be able to keep up with customers’ increasingly high expectations and advanced requirements, which can change from one day to the next. 

Digital leaders are using UX-based tools to track customer interaction online like Hotjar and Figma, and other tools that make it easier for customers to transact with your organisation like CRM tools from Salesforce and Zoho. A CRM can help companies understand and address the needs of customers and automate tasks.  Electronic signature software like Docusign eSignature allows customers to sign new contracts on a mobile from anywhere which has provided many benefits including shortening the sales cycle and increasing retention for organisations across several sectors like finance, retail and more.

Reduce costs for increased profitability

Some of the most significant impacts of digital tools are driven by making internal operations more efficient. Automating all internal functions across legal, finance, procurement, HR, sales, and IT can make workflows better, faster and cheaper. Research from McKinsey suggests that implementing digital tools for internal functions is critical to success in digital transformation projects. 

Automating back-office functions with cloud-based technology is a popular approach for those running successful transformation projects. Manual and paper-based processes can impact the competitiveness of any organisation as they can cause increased costs, lack of efficiency and time delays. In a Forrester State of Systems of Agreement Survey commissioned by Docusign in 2021. 51% of responders said manual agreement processes cause inefficiency, and 42% said delays are caused due to errors and missing information. In contrast, for customers using Docusign CLM for their contracts, the average turnaround time is 4 hours. 

Integration with third-party digital tools

Third-party technology integrations can improve effectiveness and shorten the time to value. Investing in third-party tools that integrate with tools you already use can help to mitigate risk, save money and accelerate digital transformation projects. As a digital tool example, Salesforce CRM has native integrations with the two most prominent ERP vendors, SAP and Oracle. They all also have integrations with Docusign to provide a seamless contract workflow, this type of integration will increase efficiency and ensure your organisation benefits from regular software updates.

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Provide better employee experiences

Digital tools can help facilitate a culture of innovation and continuous learning and help your team manage projects. For example; well-known project solutions like Jira, Trello, Monday and Asana.  Providing digital tools for employees can also help improve the whole employee lifecycle, helping with everything from a better onboarding process to creating a more flexible and mobile workforce. Cloud-based solutions are transforming the way we work, including cloud-based collaborative suites like Google’s G Suite and Microsoft 365. Tools like Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams can help employees create dedicated work groups so everyone stays updated with communication. As a physical office no longer constrains the workforce and many are working from home or even based across the globe, staying connected is more important than ever. Digital tools are helping leading organisations adapt to new ways of working and become increasingly agile. 

Leveraging data and analysis for agility

Using digital tools to advance data analysis can help companies understand and reduce risk, react quickly to changing markets and identify opportunities to outperform competitors. Gathering data and simply viewing insights from that information can help drive a company forward. Often digital leaders are accelerating their use of AI (artificial intelligence) tools to identify risk, recognise trends and suggest potential actions. 

For example, in the banking industry, AI is now used to provide customer support and detect credit card fraud. The types of digital tools that use artificial intelligence include Tableau, which visualises data to present it in an actionable way, and Salesforce Einstein, which helps sort customer data to deliver insight. Docusign Insight uses a proven combination of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies—including natural language processing, machine learning and rules-based logic to help find, filter and analyse agreements across your enterprise and manage risk. Data analysis helps businesses plan for the future and react quickly.

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Daisy O'Malley Glynn
Marketing Communications Specialist