Dennis H. Goodhart
Dennis Goodhart is the Managing Director of the New York Metro office of Abilita, a full-service firm helping clients across...
Read Full Bio >>

Dennis H. Goodhart | May 11, 2016 |


Growing Your Business Digitally

Growing Your Business Digitally Embracing digital business and developing a digital strategy can usher in new levels of competitiveness and success. Here's how.

Embracing digital business and developing a digital strategy can usher in new levels of competitiveness and success. Here's how.


The business world is moving to digital. This can be observed in the new mobile apps, omnichannel contact centers, the Internet of Things, the act of moving your first application to the cloud, or simply finally replacing that old analog PBX with a digital phone system. Today, there are more cell phones and mobile devices than desktops and people.

Recently, the GSMA Intelligence real-time tracker put the number of mobile devices at 7.79 billion. The U.S. Census Bureau puts the number of people somewhere between 7.19 and 7.2 billion. One of my own prognostications is that as wearables become more the norm, they will become the device of choice, incorporating and possibly replacing all of today's PCs and mobile devices.


Why Is This Important to Your Business?

Digital offers unparalleled potential for rapid, constant change. It offers the promise of being able to quickly implement new technologies and solutions such as collaboration both inside and outside the internal enterprise network, as well as new levels of interoperability between existing legacy and new digital systems.

Companies like Zapier have the potential to allow average PC users to instantly create their own apps (See related post, RingCentral Brings UCaaS to Zapier). Platforms like AWS and companies like Equinix give the user control over those apps and help a business employ them to their fullest potential. The old established hierarchy of carriers, application providers, IT, and end users blurs to the point of not being recognizable to those who live in the structured communications world. It is virtually non-existent to a generation raised on interactive technology.

Understanding how to incorporate this technology into your business is a key element in ensuring your future success. It is critical for your company to forge its own digital identity, distinguish itself from the competition, and define its digital business success strategy.

Whether you are a traditional brick and mortar mom and pop shop, a retail chain, an Internet e-tailer, or a B2B service business; whether you subscribe to the ideology that technology drives the business, the business drives the technology, the consumer drives the business, or the business becomes more consumer oriented, to succeed in business today you must have the technical infrastructure to ensure that excellent customer experience journey. With the advanced capabilities of the Internet and mobile devices, consumers are empowered with both technology and knowledge. The need for speed and information is foremost in almost every buyer's decision process.

Accenture Strategy research from 2015 found that the digital economy, which involves some form of digital skills and capital, accounted for 22.5 percent of the world economy. Due to the growing importance of digital, the global professional services company expects that by 2020, that will increase to 25%.

The Deloitte Consumer Review Digital Predictions 2015 made the following observations on the enterprise usage of digital devices:

  • Every experience is becoming a digital experience
  • As consumers become more comfortable with the use of smart, connected devices, there is a noticeable gap materializing between consumer expectations and the ability of businesses to meet them
  • Businesses not engaging and investing in connected devices (IoT) risk becoming disconnected from their customers

The research showed that the accelerated rate of technology change can be overwhelming, and many businesses are challenged to keep up with rapidly evolving consumer demands. It suggests that moving forward, we should expect to see the emergence of more startups and new business alliances as companies work to meet changing customer demands with new solutions. As companies realize the value of customer information databases, the battle to win consumer loyalty by providing exceptional customer service has never been more competitive.

Defining Your Digital Business Technology Strategy

You may not fully realize it, but you are already using digital technology. Existing technologies your business likely already has in place are based on digital technology. At the very least, your business communications network should be using VoIP for its phone system, SIP trunking for its voice network, high-capacity Ethernet fiber for data connections, and possibly MPLS in efforts to lower monthly recurring charges and improve reliability and flexibility.

The question for the business owner is how do you determine what is the right strategy and digital technology for you?

If you want your business to stay relevant, you will have to embrace digital. You are being driven by your customers, suppliers, creditors, competitors, and the industry to ante up or perish.

On the other hand, you may recognize that digital business provides unlimited opportunities. Now might be the ideal time to expand your business, implement some of those new and creative ideas you've been mulling over, and get out of old service and equipment contracts that are dragging your business and profits down.

Are you ready to move forward into this brave new world? In almost any business segment you can think of, it holds true that those who do not adapt have little to no chance of survival.

Factors to Consider

You need to go into the process of developing your digital business strategy with a solid plan. You should have key performance indicators identified as well as a solid initial understanding of the technologies and vendors best suited for your business so that you are able to craft a constructive methodology that identifies and defines critical decision paths, milestones, and progress for lines of business, operations, and IT. Business goals and a comprehensive transition plan should be taken into account when devising the methodology for digital upgrades.

Of course, it is vital that senior management is on board with your digital strategy, but all stake holders should be in agreement on the business's path forward. It's always a good idea to have a fallback strategy, or plan B, and remember that training may be a necessary component of any digital transition so should be taken into account alongside other budgetary concerns such as new technology costs, capital investment, on-going business operations expenses, the cost related to internal and external resources use, and the expected ROI, of course.

A good place to start is with a resource assessment. You'll want to be sure to form a dedicated project team so that the project gets done properly rather than becoming a "when we have the time" initiative. When forming your team, don't be afraid to re-assign staff or even bring in additional knowledgeable personnel. A consultant or other subject matter expert could be a valuable asset to assist with project development, management, implementation, and training.

You should also begin with an assessment of your technology and current infrastructure to determine if your setup is capable of handling new technology. Is your network and network equipment up to date? Can it be expanded in its current state? Has it reached maximum capacity, or end of life? Further, will it cost more to upgrade and maintain than to put in a new system? These are all essential questions to answer at the on-set.

Take a deeper look at the role that communications plays in your current business environment. Is your business dependent on your phone system staying up and running? How about the Internet or your data network? What about your security concerns? How do these factor into your business communications strategy? Consider how you might be able to leverage advanced analytics to improve business management, increase profitability, deliver exceptional customer service, and drive customer loyalty.

When your organization is ready to make the necessary adjustments to implement a digital strategy, there are some additional points to consider:

  • Be prepared to continually refine and adjust your digital strategy based on feedback and success shown by key performance indicators
  • Are your HR and IT departments prepared to support a changing, multi-generational workforce?
  • Do you feel that your information is protected as best as possible against cybersecurity breaches and hacking on premises or in the cloud?
  • Does your organization have a comprehensive analytics strategy?
  • Does your organization enforce archiving, governance, and records management regulations and procedures effectively and consistently, both on premises and in the cloud?
  • Does your organization understand that the collection, management, and analysis of information is a strategic imperative for success?
  • Do global business users have easy access to analytics insight, dashboards, and reports to make informed decisions?

Users will continue to benefit from technology innovations that can result in meaningful reductions in the business process workstream, lower-cost application development, and significant productivity gains from improved communication between workers and customers This can add to overall savings and translate to direct bottom line profitability.

Successful companies are already equipping employees, partners and consumers with new technology capabilities that allow an unmatched ability to create fresh ideas, develop cutting-edge products and services, and disrupt the status quo.

"SCTC Perspectives" is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.


April 25, 2018

Yesterdays simple phone call to a contact center or business location is rapidly becoming todays interactive session, spanning multiple channels and devices. If you need to know how Omnichannel can

March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.