In 1960, brothers Tom and James Monaghan bought DomiNick’s pizza place in Ypsilanti, Michigan for a reported $1,400. Less than a year later, James, growing tired of the strain the new venture was putting on him, sold his half of the business to his brother for a VW beetle. A few franchises and many years later, that small pizza spot has grown into a $4 billion tech company. You probably know it by Domino’s.

Now for those of you who may have just chuckled at my referring to Domino’s as a tech company should know those are their words, not mine. No, Domino’s is not going to offer an ERP license with purchase of a large pepperoni. They still only sell pizzas, but that’s the point: every business, every industry — even pizza — needs to embrace the digital age in order to remain competitive. 

In the case of the Monaghan brothers, foresight made all the difference. The best business owners are the ones who run two companies at once: the company they oversee today, and the version of that company that will exist in 5 years’ time.

The Digital Overhaul

This past year changed a lot. In fact, in 2020, 97% of technologists said their company went through some kind of digital transformation. That trend is set to carry through 2021 as well. Many companies were not only forced to alter how they worked with their colleagues, but also how they interacted with their customers, and in some cases, how their entire business model functioned. 

For most, if not all of us, this shift towards digitalization was always coming; it was only a matter of time. So maybe it’s more apt to say that the pandemic didn’t necessarily change the business world, so much as it sped up its trajectory. 

Companies who had already embraced digital transformation saw the least resistance and weathered the storm better than the slow adopters. And it’s no surprise that this was the case, either. A study by Deloitte found that companies farther along in their digital transformation journey significantly outperformed their industry average on key financial metrics. 

You can draw any number of conclusions from the past year in relation to digitalization, but one undeniable component is that technology does not stop at the IT department’s door. In the same way that no industry exists beyond technology’s reach, no job function does either. 

From analytics that can teach us how to effectively target prospective clients to more user friendly applications to digital sales platforms that streamline the buying process, the use cases are boundless. Digitalization provides us the opportunity to better attract and serve our clients, to add new revenue streams, to quite plainly do what we do better. Your digital strategy could, and should, be your biggest competitive advantage. 

Looking Forward

In order to succeed, it really comes down to a change in perception. Most projects fail because people fail to buy in. The technology we invest in rarely fails us — much more often we fail it. Taking the time at the onset of the project to align technology with business objectives, focus on supporting your differentiation to define your competitive advantage, develop a concrete roadmap that increases speed to market — allowing you to learn and iterate, and select the right partner who has a deep understanding of the transformation landscape make all the difference.

Whatever the case for your business, the good news is that today we know more about how technology can help to improve your business functions, add revenue streams, and deliver a better experience for your customer more than ever. At your disposal are countless case studies, subject matter experts, and processes to ensure that whatever your digital aspirations, you will never feel like you’re going in dark. 

In the case of Domino’s, they’ve seamlessly transitioned so well, and are enjoying such success, because their organization bought into what they were doing. The decision was not to invest in technology just for technology’s sake, it was to harness it as a competitive advantage. It hasn’t just been their pizza keeping them at the forefront of their industry for this long; it’s their relentless pursuit of innovation. They have a vision for the future that outpaces that of their competitors. 

Regardless of our attitude towards it, technology has solidified its place in the world of business and with a huge upside for everyone involved. Not embracing it in your business could mean missing out on opportunity. Step one is identifying how technology can best support your business’s value proposition. The second is sharing the importance of the opportunity to your team and cultivating buy-in. That may sound like a large undertaking, but the good thing is that you don’t have to do it alone.