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Navigating the digital landscape: How traditional organisations can compete with digital natives

Research from The CEO Magazine suggests that by next year, three-quarters of the workforce will be comprised of millennials. Furthermore, a McKinsey study has found that digitally native brands (DNBs) are growing three times as fast as e-commerce as a whole and are rapidly growing their investment potential as market disruptors. This may explain why our ILX 2024 research report found that 38% of organisations agree that keeping up with digital natives is a challenge this year.

With a digital-first workforce of predominantly millennials and a highly competitive market with disruptive DNBs, it can be challenging for traditional organisations to not only keep pace but excel.

Digital natives, with their agile structures, innovative cultures, and digital-first strategies, often set the pace in customer experience and operational efficiency. However, traditional organisations are not without their strengths, including extensive industry experience, brand recognition, and customer loyalty.

The key to competing effectively lies in leveraging these strengths while strategically embracing digital transformation. So, how can traditional organisations bridge the gap and compete successfully with digital natives?

Six steps your organisation can take to compete with digital natives

Here are our top tips on how traditional organisations can navigate change and digital transformation while maintaining their existing strengths:

Embrace digital transformation

The first step in competing with digital natives is to embrace digital transformation not just as a project but as a core business strategy. This involves more than updating IT systems or launching a mobile app; it requires reimagining business models, processes, and customer interactions for the digital age.

Organisations can start by developing a clear digital transformation strategy that outlines how technology can enhance customer value, streamline operations, and create new revenue streams. This strategy should be driven from the top down, with leadership actively championing the digital cause.

Foster a culture of innovation

Digital natives thrive on innovation and agility, rapidly adapting to market changes and customer needs. To compete, traditional organisations must cultivate a similar culture. This means encouraging experimentation, embracing failure as a learning opportunity, and adopting agile methodologies across the business, not just in IT departments.

By creating an environment where new ideas are welcomed and quickly executed, organisations can accelerate their innovation cycles and improve their responsiveness to market demands.

Find out how our ITIL® 4 training can forge a culture of continuous improvement in your organisation.

Focus on UX

Digital natives often outperform traditional organisations in user experience, leveraging data analytics and digital technologies to offer personalised, seamless interactions across multiple channels.

To level the playing field, traditional organisations must become user obsessed. This means using data to gain insights into customer preferences and behaviours. It also involves investing in customer relationship management (CRM) systems, analytics, and digital marketing tools to enhance customer engagement and satisfaction.

Additionally, organisations should streamline customer journeys, removing friction points and making it as easy as possible for users to interact with their brand.

Boost your digital marketing skills with our courses covering SEO, PPC and much more.

Leverage data for decision-making

Data is a critical asset in the digital economy, offering insights that can drive strategic decision-making and competitive advantage. Traditional organisations often have vast amounts of data but struggle to harness its full potential.

By investing in data analytics capabilities, organisations can uncover valuable insights into market trends, operational efficiencies, and customer needs. This requires both technology and skills, such as building a team of data scientists and analysts who can translate data into actionable intelligence.

Strengthen your team’s knowledge with our big data and analytics courses.

Collaborate strategically

Competing with digital natives doesn’t mean going it alone. Traditional organisations can leverage partnerships and collaborations to access new technologies, markets, and expertise. This could involve working with startups, technology providers, or even competitors to co-create solutions that enhance customer value.

Through strategic collaborations, organisations can quickly acquire digital capabilities and innovation without the need to build everything in-house.

Prioritise cybersecurity

In the rush to digitalise, it’s crucial not to overlook cybersecurity and data privacy. Customers trust digital natives to protect their data; traditional organisations must meet or exceed these expectations.

Investing in robust cybersecurity measures and transparent data practices can differentiate an organisation as a trusted brand in a digital world fraught with security breaches and privacy concerns.

Bolster your cybersecurity know-how with our latest course offerings.

Getting up to (digital native) speed

With the benefits of sustained competitiveness, improved efficiency, and enhanced customer value, it is no surprise that Zippia research shows that 70% of organisations are prioritising their digital transformation strategy.

By embracing digital transformation, fostering a culture of innovation, focusing on customer and user experience, leveraging data analytics, collaborating strategically, and prioritising cybersecurity, traditional organisations can not only survive but thrive in the digital age.

Contact our customer service team to find out how our training courses could improve your employees’ skills and help your organisation thrive in today’s digital landscape.