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Stanchart's take


How can traditional businesses leverage technology and digitalisation without losing their heritage?

There are often misconceptions that traditional businesses will lose their heritage by leveraging technology and digitalisation. This is however a false dichotomy. In fact, we have seen many traditional businesses strengthen their heritage story through the effective use of digital. There are a couple of areas useful for traditional businesses to think about as they seek to do this:

1. Look for areas of your core business that you can digitise to achieve efficiencies - This has nothing necessarily to do with changing your business model or market positioning.

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It is focused on using digital to transform your business to become leaner, more agile and more cost effective. It is important to consider how digital efforts can help drive performance and customer value, and this goes beyond marketing to operations and the back office.

2. Create value from data - The data businesses have is a powerful resource, and businesses should always look for ways to better use internal and external data. This can be facilitated by technology and companies that use big data effectively tend to generate higher revenues and develop more innovative initiatives.

At times, the data reveals insights which can help businesses further strengthen their brand heritage, and can lead to the creation of new revenue streams and business units.

3. Identify employees who can be intrapreneurs - Intrapreneurs are colleagues within a company who promote innovative product development and marketing, bringing an entrepreneurial approach to looking at challenges and opportunities.

Raising a team of intrapreneurs who understand the company's DNA and heritage can help drive digital innovation within boundaries that senior management is comfortable with. This team should comprise colleagues who are experts in software and data analytics alongside people who know the specifics of the business, consumers and heritage of the business.

Across a wide range of industries, technology is creating positive disruption. It is no longer limited to industries such as retail, travel or media but more traditional industries such as agriculture, energy, health care and manufacturing. Leveraging digital technologies is more than just good business - it's crucial to staying relevant and profitable and companies who fall behind in this risk losing their competitive edge.

  • The writer is market head, South and South-east Asia, Standard Chartered Private Bank

The information in this article does not constitute legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult a lawyer or relevant professional should you have any questions in relation to the topics raised in this article.