Innovate and integrate, by Prism digital’s Lovetto Nazareth

Prism digital’s Lovetto Nazareth examines the digital transformation of traditional businesses

By Lovetto Nazareth, director, Prism Digital

Digital transformation is one of the hottest topics in today’s business world and executives across almost all industries are paying increased attention to it. However, the concept is not new. It is a term that has been around for several years now, maybe even more than a decade. But it is still a term that many people feel they don’t really understand.

Digital transformation (DT) is a multi-faceted and multi-dimensional phenomenon, which makes it hard to pin down. To put it simply, digital transformation is the integration of digital technologies into business processes.

Gone are the days when digital transformation was only about big data, mobile and social trends. Today, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are increasingly essential for every business. In most industry verticals, the adoption of DT to drive new business models, operational capabilities and to solve complex and diverse problems is accelerating.

As mentioned earlier, digital transformation is a multifaceted term with various aspects but one of its primary drivers in this day and age is artificial intelligence. We are going through a technological revolution where AI is playing a key role in shaping the future of how we work and interact with technology.

AI is no longer a niche; it’s now mainstream. It is being researched and adopted across a whole spectrum of industries including healthcare, finance, retail, manufacturing and even hospitality. Several emerging technologies are being woven into AI. While this may seem somewhat futuristic right now, it is pretty apparent that AI is here to stay and offers the possibility to transform your company’s business processes and performance for the better.

One of the industries rapidly transforming is retail. Especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, which has reshaped not only consumer behaviour but also how the retail industry does business. In the pre-digital world, teams of buyers and executives travelled the world to visit far-flung accounts, but such practices have become a relic of the past.

Digital transformation is the only way forward for traditional retailers in order to stay relevant. It has been understood by executives, which has given rise to newer models such as peer-to-peer sales, self-serve kiosks, contextual advertising and business-to-home, to name a few.

As more and more people use e-commerce to shop, some predict the eventual death of physical storefronts. However, experts believe that the solution is not in closing physical stores, but rather in turning these stores into ‘smart’ outlets.

That includes having smart fitting rooms, self-serving kiosks, RFID-enabled tags, etc. Many retailers have already incorporated these into their physical stores and are leveraging technology and data to provide elevated omnichannel customer experiences. In a world of overt competition and promises in excess, it
is essential that retailers understand the value of transformation and take steps to make it a concrete reality.

Pigeon Arabia, a traditional brick-and-mortar store in the Middle East, opted to reach a greater audience with an e-commerce website and to complement its physical presence in the region, understanding the need of the hour that demands retailers go hybrid. We created a React Javascript and Laravel website that provides a seamless buying experience. Moreover, it connects with other known e-commerce platforms to ease the customer journey and increase sales.

Another industry that has welcomed digital transformation with open arms is the hospitality industry. Hotels are investing in technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and business intelligence to improve efficiency and provide superior client satisfaction.

The concept of smart rooms is becoming increasingly popular. It involves supplying air conditioners, media sets, lights, window shades and other amenities via compact internet of things (IoT) hardware and software with the ability to communicate through an app.

Hotel chains are opting for property management systems such as Oracle Opera that also include accommodation management tools. The platforms allow scheduling bookings, cleaning of rooms, and keeping track of inventory as well.

Many hotel chains are using new technologies that allow for things like digital check-ins, automated concierge services, voice-activated ordering from in-room smart devices, and chatbots. The reason is that more and more people are moving towards using apps to book travel and for getting personalised interactions. And this is going to be the case for a long time. One recent example is a hotel chain in Seychelles, Fishermans Cove. We built a progressive web application website for the hotel. It provides a seamless integration with mobile to reduce the hotel’s dependency on online travel agents and increase on-site bookings.

Digital transformation can help hotels increase revenue, reduce operational costs and improve service quality. However, the process needs to be broken down into small steps, all heading towards achieving the objective.

We can safely say that we will see an increase in the implementation of digital transformational strategies. However, companies will have to overcome numerous challenges like altering organisational structures, budget allocation and regulatory issues in order to make the most of this transition.