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When you think about business processes, words like “established”, “efficient”, or “lean” come to mind. And rightly so, for all those attributes aim to run (or keep) a business smoothly. But what if a major aspect gets lost on the way of momentarily running a successful business?

As revealed in our 2019 E-Commerce Report “Speed beats Perfection”, organizations at all stages of digital maturity agree that they must innovate (and digitize) or they will die. In fact, almost eight in 10 state that if organizations don’t start to digitize now, they will be going out of business in five years’ time.

That's an impressive number, but mind you: lines seem to blur here between innovation, and digitization. Because often, it is said that innovation is the major driver of digitization. But maybe it’s the other way around: Today, digitization keeps the promises of innovation.

Innovation as such isn’t all about creating new products. Specifically in online commerce it also relates to services, business models, process and functions. Quite simply, it’s about finding new, and hopefully better, ways of doing things. Innovative products are important, but innovative processes around that is what makes them a business asset. They grow in complexity and need to adapt to changes. This the only constant of today's business life: Digitization of processes is critical to enterprise success.

Using the right innovative techniques, as part of a coherent digitization strategy, can help save precious time and money, and give you a competitive lead in expanding your business. One aspect such a strategy should evolve around is that of customer experience.

In fact, the E-Commerce Report states that improving the customer experience is the major driver for a digitization strategy, no matter how digitally mature the company already is. If customers demand a great digital experience and their satisfaction is a major driver for innovation, innovation becomes one of the greatest motivators for digitizing your business!

Innovators tend to reap greater efficiencies, resolve issues quicker, find affordable solutions and return on investment, develop and open up new markets and use their culture of innovation to ease growth.

When Alan Turing imagined the benefits of a universal computer in 1936, we claim today that this was innovative. But it wasn’t. At that time, it was just an idea. A brilliant idea might trigger innovation, but what is needed to become one is the subsequent engineering of a solution and then, due to its impact, the transformation of an industry or field. The first Turing Machine was built 10 years after the idea came up, and it took until the 1990’s that computers began to impact productivity statistics - Innovation is a motor, but it can take time.

More so, innovation is almost never achieved by a single person. It needs the motivation by leaders, the ideas from innovators and the whole organization to make it real.

So, how about you redefine “established business processes” to ones that still run with low maintenance and reduced manual error, but with a yearly reflection of “Could a (new) digital technology make this smarter?”

Read more about factors influencing digitization, the time and people needed to get strategies going and the benefits already leveraged by your competitors:

Download the E-Commerce Report 2019