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Wed 22 Jul 2020 03:51 PM

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The cost of not going digital in the UAE

Businesses need to ride the wave of digital transformation to ensure their continuity, writes Thierry Delvaux, CEO of JLL MEA

The cost of not going digital in the UAE

Thierry Delvaux is the CEO of JLL-MEA.

New ‘digital geographies’ are emerging globally as technology and digitalisation change the nature of how and where we work and live.

Nowhere are these changes more apparent than in the UAE, which has developed a reputation for the rapid adoption of new technologies and radically different approaches to city building. With the government actively working towards achieving its digitalization and innovation goals, as part of the national agenda, it is imperative for companies and entities to follow suit.

Technology is at work in almost every aspect of the office. How we work has been fundamentally reshaped by the technologies that emerged since the explosive growth of the Internet in the first wave back in 1996. For some companies, digital transformation may seem like an unnecessary and costly burden. However, the opportunities it brings are plenty.

Competitive advantage

Going digital ensures a company’s resilience and maintains its agility. Using creative digital solutions gives you a competitive edge in your business world and a proper digitalization plan can help reinvent processes, improve quality and promote consistency.

Digital transformation also allows for business functions to move away from manual processes, and automate various processes and procedures, thus ensuring time and effort is spent on more crucial tasks. Whereas without a robust digital presence, businesses can lose their visibility and also lose market share.

In this new era of change, forward-looking companies should create new products, services and business models that leverage the capabilities of a growing digital ecosystem of devices, connectivity and data. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, augmented reality and other technologies can greatly enable companies to reinvent their business models and unlock new sources of growth.

Leveraging data and analytics

Big data is big news, no matter what industry you’re in. Over the past decade, it has exploded on to the scene and can be used for everything from getting a better idea of meeting customer needs to analyzing how well space is being used in an office at real time to help maximize space and minimize energy consumption. And while collecting this data is hugely important, it’s what you do with it that really matters.

Businesses are having to work harder to know their clients and customers, who are far less brand loyal than they used to be. It is imperative to reach them with targeted campaigns that answer their pain points and present solutions to their direct needs – this is exactly what data helps with.

Particularly within the real estate industry, whether you are an investor, developer, or corporate, using data and analytics to understand your building’s performance is key. As retailers or mall operators for example, understanding your customers will allow you to tailor and strategically push products. As investors, data helps you assess the building or development’s performance to make investment decisions. For building owners or asset managers, data from sensors can point out any malfunctions in the building and help manage it more efficiently.

Attracting and retaining top talent

The largest demographic currently in the workforce are millennials, with Gen Z following soon. Both of these generations grew up in a digital world and are tech savvy. The next generation of workers as well will be digital dependents — individuals who have grown up playing games on the family iPad and relying on smartphones.

Attracting talent from this pool of workers will push workplace user experience up the priority list for organizations. With this demographic, digital transformation and innovation are an expectation, not just ‘nice to haves’. As such, it is likely that these groups will work for companies that embrace digital transformation.

Rapid technology adoption means companies have to be light on their feet. The pressure to innovate amid unrelenting technological progress poses an opportunity for all of us to rethink the work we do and the way we do it.  It is the businesses that adapt and adopt this transformation that reap the rewards in the long run, particularly in today’s challenging landscape.

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