Ahead of The Drum's new online festival, Digital Transformation Week, we look at how some of the world's best-known businesses have grappled with the physical challenges and how digital-first companies are flourishing.
Here are five examples of major brands such as BMW, Disney and Apple adopting the need for further digital transformation, based on examples from the World Economic Forum.
1) Create a seamless experience for consumers
In 2014, Disney launched multi-coloured RFID wristbands – Magic Bands – for guests visiting the Disney World resort that link to the company’s guest management system, MyMagic+.
MagicBands allow guests to manage their entire customer experience using the band; it enables them to make payments, manage reservations, access hotel rooms and enable staff to deliver a highly personalized experience.
The app allows guests to link their hotel reservations, credit cards, park tickets and personal details to their wristband.
2) Creating dedicated tools and website to explain privacy issues and protect consumer rights
Under GDPR, companies that violate the data protection rules could face fines of as much as €100m or 5% of their annual revenue.
Apple has a dedicated privacy website with advice on password strength, security questions and additional security measures when using Apple devices and digital products. It also has a clear and easy to navigate tools across all of its devices, to enable safe online behaviours and sharing of personal data.
The company will spend nearly $2 billion on building two new data centres in Europe; the move comes with a general trend for Europeans to be more concerned about data privacy, demanding stricter legislation.
3) Adapt to the sharing economy
BMW is an example of a traditional company adapting to the sharing economy.
DriveNow is the car-sharing service of BMW i, MINI and SIXT – users can rent cars very flexibly, when and where they need them. The mobility concept is based on the motto “pick up anywhere, drop off anywhere”. Billing is per-minute, fuel costs and parking charges in public car parks are included.
Promoting sustainable mobility, DriveNow is the first car-sharing service to extend access to an electric car such as the BMW i3. It is already a success in Germany, where they have around 2,350 cars in the fleet.
Free charging is available at DriveNow stations and car sharing is available even when abroad at other DriveNow city locations.
4) Meeting customers’ on-demand needs
In 2013, DHL launched a crowdsourcing platform for parcel delivery called 'MyWays' to help shippers seeking flexible delivery to be matched with individuals who are looking for extra earnings and willing to transport parcels on their daily routes.
It features flexible pricing by providing a recommended price for a parcel, but users have the ability to increase their offering price to expedite a match with a MyWayer delivery person.
MyWays allows multiple choices of places and time intervals when the parcel can be delivered.
Individuals wishing to deliver packages can search for parcels and pick them up from a DHL Service for delivery, guided by location services.
5) Enhancing customer engagement
WeChat is a platform spanning media sharing, messaging, gaming and payments, a depth of engagement that most other apps cannot match.
Customers can do their banking through the app, as more than two out of five WeChat users have used their mobile to make a payment or transfer money.
They can also purchase goods on the app, for example during a sale held exclusively on WeChat; Xiaomi, a large Chinese smartphone maker, is said to have sold 150,000 of its latest model in under 10 minutes.
WeChat also created a pioneering model of “apps within an app”; thousands of lightweight apps live inside WeChat, much like webpages live on the Internet.
The lightweight apps on WeChat are called “official accounts”; approved by WeChat after a brief application process, there are well over 10 million of these official accounts on the platform.
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