A recent “Digital Conference” I attended seemed like it would be right up my street – after all Ditto Digital, as a digital marketing company, falls fairly and squarely into the digital environment. We spend time working on improving websites to raise their online presence; auditing websites and making technical improvements to ensure search engines recognise them as authoritative assets; we check out competitors and big-brand companies to analyse their techniques and look for areas they are neglecting to exploit or leverage.
Yet at the Digital Conference I realised that the term “digital” covers a much broader range of fields than I had anticipated. Companies building medical implants with 3-D printers rubbed shoulders with education companies and the big guns from Microsoft, Google and Bosch.
It became clear that digitalisation covers all business functions from finance, legal, audit and strategy to customer service, human resources and R&D right through to, of course, communications, marketing and IT. Indeed Gartner provide a detailed report for C-suite executives on how to harness the power of digital across all business functions.
So, fortunately, there were also plenty of companies at the conference from what I would consider the more typical digital companies: other digital marketing and SEO companies, cyber security, intellectual property, communications, web development and e-commerce experts.
But do we need a clearer term for the digital world at the technical coal-face – those working directly with websites, IT systems, cyber security?
I asked Dave Tolson from the bespoke software and database developers Simply Digital for his thoughts on how he views his niche in the digital world, “After 20 years in business I am surprised that there are still people running their small businesses “on paper” and are bewildered by technological advances and unable to cope with the digital era. Many companies are struggling on with disparate applications, processes and products that simply don’t talk to each other. Making these businesses highly inefficient.
Simply Digital develop systems that integrate these disparate processes into one, allowing businesses to concentrate on making money instead of struggling with their systems.”
Andy Steer from Vividly Simple, who help owners and managers choose the right IT for their business works in a related digital niche. As he describes it: “Finding the right pieces for your IT jigsaw is difficult. Many small businesses start out with the technology the founders already have around them but as the business expands, and the team starts to grow, the limitations of those tools become apparent. When the jigsaw pieces you have aren’t fitting together, everyone gets frustrated and you spend too much time just trying to make things work. New data protection laws just add to the complexity, as does the increasing need to defend your business from cyber-attack.”
Much like the applications and processes Dave Tolson integrates, Vividly Simple helps small businesses to streamline their IT environment, to make the day to day things easier, keeping information safe and secure automatically.
Personally, I think it would be useful to have terminology that distinguishes companies involved in broad digital issues (which could/should be almost every company) from those in the more specific niches directly involved with the technology and websites.
If anyone has any ideas about what this term could be – feel free to let me know…