What is a digital company?
Think that you have to work in a ‘high-tech’ Silicon Valley start-up to work in tech product? Think again! A digital company is simply a company that interacts, transacts and enacts its business through digital channels. If you don’t think that’s you, you’re almost certainly mistaken.
Let’s take small grocery store. Do you take electronic payments? How about stock checking, is that done with a wireless hand-held terminal? Ordering more stock from a supplier – done online or on a phone even? Do you have a mailing list, delivery service or electronic loyalty card? Does your POS device or cash-register log transactions, export to excel or product a chart for you? If you do any of those things or more, then you’re a digital business.
Many people still argue they’re not a digital business. Take, for example a supermarket that runs its own logistics. You would be correct in thinking that this is a part of the business that runs as a service. However, the schedule for the drivers will be done electronically, the tachograph will exist in the form of digital telematics which will also send a GPS signal to HQ. What about slots and routing? This is all just in the tractor unit so let’s think about the trailer, what’s in the trailer, what temperature it’s at, where it is, how heavy it is, how long it’s been on the road, all digitally logged and communicated. Added to this, we need to add compliance and legislation about tax, maintenance… the list is eye-wateringly long!
The point is, nearly every business is a business run through digital channels. There will be a lot of manual, analogue, service tasks that surround it, but digital it is. This is the same for every sector. Some like banking have been running like this for years, some like construction appear to not realise it’s happened to them.
What relevance does this have for Tech Product? Well, all of these digitally channels are tech products, one way or the other. Someone needs to understand the problems they have to solve and work out the relative value and return on investment to solving them… and that’s the role of the Chief Product Officer and her trusty product team.