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Why Digital Acceleration Is the Narrative to Adopt

digital visibility acceleration

Why Digital Acceleration Is the Narrative to Adopt

Digital transformation has become vital for any business in this digital era. Businesses that have adopted digital technology have by far transformed their organizations and how they do business. This transformation is evident in different business areas such as business processes, customer experience, business model, and strategy among other areas. However, circumstances and technologies are changing at a rapid rate. This calls for a need to increase the speed at which businesses adopt new technologies and digitize their processes if they are to keep up. This is where digital acceleration comes in.

Digital acceleration brings speed and continuity to digital transformation. The strategy ensures that businesses continually adopt new technologies into their business procedures as soon as the organization proves them useful. So, how important is digital acceleration and why should organizations adopt the narrative?

Enhancing scalability

Outdated technology often inhibits scalability as a business grows. This is especially where the technology can’t scale or its scalability doesn’t match the speed of the business growth. Digital acceleration increases business adaptability to rapidly changing circumstances by enabling businesses to adjust or update their technologies as and when needed. In addition, digital acceleration brings in the latest technologies such as cloud computing services. Such technologies eliminate unnecessary delays as well as installation and migration challenges. This enables organizations to scale up efficiently.

Enabling data-driven decision-making

Decisions based on data are always factual, resulting in decisions that empower business growth in all areas. However, data-driven decision-making can result in not too well-informed decisions if the data available is incomplete or inaccurate. Unfortunately, this can lead to mistakes that can be costly down the line.

Digital acceleration enhances data collection and analysis through automation, centralizing data, and information integration. With real-time data and a single source of truth, organizations get access to valuable insights that empower well-informed business decisions.

Optimizing customer experience

The modern consumer is very keen on the experience. In fact, a bigger percentage of customers can pay more for a better experience. So, if any business is to retain its customers longer and acquire new ones, enhancing customer experience is vital.

Digital acceleration allows organizations to adopt technologies that help understand their customers better and what their needs are through improved customer interactions. In addition, adopting mobile technology and optimizing website speed improves customer experience significantly. SEO can help greatly in this area by improving website load speed for both mobile and desktop. Furthermore, SEO can help identify user intent, enabling a personalized experience. And, with a good content strategy, SEO can ensure that you offer answers to customer questions at the right time.

Besides this, working with an SEO company can help your business succeed in the digital acceleration strategy. Digital transformation starts with having a website for your business. However, the efforts would be futile if your target customers don’t know about it. SEO helps your website rank higher in the search engines, which helps in digital acceleration. Through digital marketing strategies such as link building, social media marketing, quality content, keyword usage, and more, you can benefit from increased organic traffic to your website.

Improving competency

As said earlier, digital transformation is a continuous process that requires organizations to continually adopt new technologies as they emerge and as they become necessary. For this reason, members are continually learning different new skills to equip them with the ability to use and even explore the possibilities of these new technologies. This improves digital competency across the organization. What’s more, the skills learned can be utilized in other areas of the organization, increasing innovation across the team.

Increasing business resilience

By definition, business resilience is an organization’s ability to bounce back and ensure business continuity in times of uncertainty. This entails being able to adapt to disruptions quickly and in a way that important business processes aren’t halted.

Digital acceleration enhances digital maturity and enables businesses to adopt new technologies easily and quickly. This prepares businesses to respond quickly to changing circumstances in a crisis, which helps them thrive in unprecedented environments.

Conclusion

In a business environment that changes rapidly, digital transformation isn’t just enough. Digital acceleration has become a strategic necessity for forward-thinking enterprises. Increasing the speed at which businesses adopt useful technologies comes with various business benefits. Businesses are able to build and enhance resilience, improve customer experience, enable data-driven decision-making, empower scalability and ensure competence across the entire organization among other benefits.

digital tax

THE GLOBAL DIGITAL TAX MAN IS COMING

The fast-paced shift to digital products and services as well as online purchases is fundamentally changing the traditional basis for taxing commercial transactions. It’s no longer as “simple” as conducting a physical sale in one tax jurisdiction.

In response, discussions have heated up internationally, primarily in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), on how global tax systems can keep up with the digitization of the global economy, including where taxes should be paid and what portion of profits should be taxed, given that companies can achieve global sales without opening a storefront, can earn a profit on data moving across borders, and sell products that are not physical (like a video game or an app). Any digital tax would affect sellers and buyers – but also the platforms that enable digital sales, like Amazon.

A digital tax for a digital world

Digitization is dramatically reshaping what we do and how we do it. Many of us are now daily users of social media, e-commerce, and cloud-based services. Lawmakers around the world struggle to keep up with the break-neck speed of this digital revolution. One key aspect under global discussion is taxation in this new digital world. In particular, member countries of the OECD have engaged in a broad “international collaboration to end tax avoidance,” which includes an agenda focused on the tax challenges arising from digitization of the global economy.

Digital taxation is a tricky issue, not only because digital transactions are less well defined, but because they often involve the collection and use of customer data, which itself has value. Proponents of digital taxes argue that the data generated by users of social media platforms or other services has financial value, even if the service is free, since the platform provider is generating profit from user data. They believe the tech giants making huge sums of money trading digital services and products avoid billions of dollars in taxes by making use of legal loopholes around trade in digital products and services.

Can’t put the genie back in the digital bottle

How big is the “digital economy”? It’s not clear because the term is broad and not clearly defined, but one proxy is the measure of exports in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) services sector. Between 2006 and 2019, worldwide exports in the ICT sector more than tripled, from around $204 billion to over $635 billion.

Global ICT Services Exports

Amid a global pandemic when many small businesses are suffering, the global tech giants have prospered. Public pressure on governments has increased to ensure today’s massive, global digital businesses pay more under a clear and internationally agreed set of tax rules. In a recent statement, participants in an OECD meeting on an inclusive tax framework stressed that digital taxes are needed now more than ever to put governments back on stable financial footing after months of unprecedented coronavirus-related public spending.

The pillars on which a digital tax plan can stand

Back in the summer of 2019, the 129 members of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) adopted a Programme of Work, based on two main pillars, to resolve the tax challenges of the growing digitized economy. Pillar One tackles the question of where taxes should be paid and on what basis. Pillar Two encompasses solutions to “ensure Multinational Corporations (MNCs) pay a minimum level of tax”.

Two Pillars

More specifically, the first pillar explores what portion of transactions and profits can or should be taxed in the jurisdiction where the consumer of digital products and services reside, rather than where the producer of the product or service is located. The second pillar is concerned with developing tools that allow countries to require MNCs to pay a minimum level of tax to minimize the ability of MNCs to shift profits to low and no-tax jurisdictions.

Where to next?

Given the level of disagreement among governments and stakeholders on these thorny questions, the original end-of-2020 deadline has been extended to mid-2021. Nonetheless, October saw the release of OECD reports on the Pillar One and Pillar Two blueprints, demonstrating emerging agreement on a number of important issues.

Under Pillar One, participants established a set of building blocks for new rules to permit taxation in a foreign country in the absence of a company’s physical presence. Market jurisdictions would obtain a new taxing right to a share of the profit generated by a business as well as a fixed rate of return for certain marketing and distribution activities taking place in that market jurisdiction. Participants would also establish effective dispute prevention and resolution mechanisms in the name of offering greater tax certainty to businesses. Once the basis of taxation can be agreed upon, participants will also need to tackle the difficult subject of scope and amount of profit to be reallocated.

Pillar Two must cope with the differences between national and subnational systems of taxation and business operating models. Whatever approach is agreed to ensuring minimum levels of MNC taxation, it much be transparent, non-discriminatory and not overly burdensome to administer and comply with. Participants have discussed applying a set of interlocking rules. They include:

-Income inclusion rule (IIR), allowing the income of a foreign entity to be taxed if that foreign income is taxed below a minimum rate.

-Under-taxed payments rule (UTPR), acting as a backstop to the IIR, enabling countries to disallow deductions or apply a withholding tax to untaxed or under-taxed payments.

-Switch-over rule (SOR), allowing the changing of tax treaty implications for profits of entities taxed below a minimum rate.

-Subject to tax rule (STTR), where treaty benefits may be changed for items of income where payments are under-taxed relative to a minimum rate.

TradeVistas | interlocking digital tax rules

A Taxing Road Ahead

Much remains to be hammered out, but the plans have already received criticism from those who believe they will not do enough to bring MNCs to account.

2019 report by the Tax Justice Network found the proposed OECD rules could worsen global inequality, leading to a three percent reduction in the tax bases of lower-middle-income countries while benefitting rich countries where the MNCs are headquartered. The authors claim that 80 percent of the tax recovered from corporate tax havens would accrue to the wealthiest countries, even though the tax abuses the OECD rules are meant to address disproportionately disadvantage poorer countries, a claim the OECD says ignores vital features of the framework.

The OECD proposals must also clear the hurdle of what is likely to be a long and drawn-out political process. The United States in particular has long resisted a global tax regime, butting heads with France over how such rules might be implemented.

With the blueprints released and a public consultation period initiated, multinational companies and advocacy groups alike will have their chance to be heard and influence future action. Whatever is decided will likely have a significant impact on how tech companies choose to operate and how we interact with them, too.

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Alice Calder

Alice Calder received her MA in Applied Economics at GMU. Originally from the UK, where she received her BA in Philosophy and Political Economy from the University of Exeter, living and working internationally sparked her interest in trade issues as well as the intersection of economics and culture.

logistics

Technological Advancement in the Logistics Industry

In the last ten years, the rise of over 3.5 billion registered users participating in global e-commerce has occurred. The ease and openness of the e-commerce industry allow individuals and businesses to participate in domestic and international e-commerce trade platform, giving each country the opportunity to scale up its workforce and revenue collection. With the help of technological advances, products are now being introduced by the Internet through social media, live streaming, and many more avenues, rather than the traditional sales marketing and advertising methods. The growth of e-commerce has also affected the logistics infrastructure requirements and needs.

Logistics company owners are left with a variety of problems due to the ever-changing e-commerce world, including proper storage, competitive pricing, quick delivery, and fluctuating quantities and unpredictable changes. Though most are eager to find a solution, many have yet to realize that the solution requires full technology integration. Consistent system maintenance and development, integrating sales, operations, administration, and financial functions, connecting and configuring a variety of endpoints, protection from cyber-attacks, and many other functions are essential to creating a cost-effective and productive company during the internet era. With a complexity of technology system operations, it is best for companies to partner with a trusted technology company in developing a logistics platform that will deliver multiple benefits and develop long-term commercial ties.

The availability of a technology platform that works without geographical boundaries will have a huge impact on e-commerce and logistics users because they will be able to collaborate and cooperate with each other under one platform on every computer and smartphone device. Each user in real-time is able to list detailed logistics requirements and services to include pricing schemes, transportation schedules, warehouse spaces, detailed information operations, and others. Additionally, a working relationship with only particular companies and owning branch offices, warehouses, and vehicles in other countries should be transitioned into more transparent cooperation with local companies. Being able to share resources with trusted local companies will give advantages in speeding up operation processes and minimize cost while reducing investment risks.

Internet commerce trade will reach global sales of 17.5 percent in 2021 with a compound annual rate of 15 percent. As a result, many countries have introduced new regulations for e-commerce items that have created confusion and problems for many companies. These e-commerce regulations are overlapping with non-e-commerce items, resulting in a delay in clearance. In addition, when the pandemic lockdown period is lifted, we will see an increase of international and regional trades with the rise of conflict as a result of slow information distribution, causing delays and missed delivery dates.

We are at a point that it is almost impossible for companies to function properly without technological help in recalling HS code numbers, custom tax code, restriction and document requirements, operation notification and monitoring, and many others. With the availability of a real-time crowd sharing platform that is accessible for users, business and logistics transactions are a click away to finalize. Companies should prepare to meet unprecedented regional and international unexpected trades challenge in the internet era, nothing has ever flourished entirely alone: the logistics industry needs an advanced technological integration platform to flourish in the e-commerce era.

 

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Eddy Syaifulah is the head of Mahyu LLC.

fulfillment ecommerce B2B international e-commerce global trade

How to Manage a Sustainable eCommerce Strategy After the Pandemic

DK Hardware, online home improvement retail company, presents six reasons why it is essential to professionally manage an eCommerce platform, so that your business or entrepreneurship is consolidated according to the unwritten rules of the digital economy.

Understanding that the digital economy will continue to be one of the main economic engines in the post-COVID-19 stage, it is essential to ensure our business opportunities in the medium term. However, to achieve the previous, the development of skills to capitalize on it, as well as to face the challenges it entails, is key.

In the last quarter of 2020, the growth of eCommerce globally has been more than exponential. According to Statista, retail platforms have undergone a six percent global traffic increase between January and March 2020. Overall, retail websites generated 14.34 billion visits in March 2020, up from 12.81 billion global visits in January 2020. This is of course due to the global coronavirus pandemic which has forced millions of people to stay at home in order to stop the spread of the virus. How to continue with that sustainable success? DK Hardware shares six key thoughts.

1. Maximize investment. Digital commerce will be the area that will receive the most investment in the coming months (and therefore the most competitive), and these resources should be managed in an efficient and optimized way, since the sales process will be impacted from the pre-sale, the transaction, the after-sales, as well as the service and the customer experience.

2. The relationship with the client evolves. Customer consumption habits have changed and during the process e-commerce has won thousands of new consumers, so the evolution of online commerce management should represent an opportunity to resume direct relationships with consumers. Direct to consumer (D2C) solutions, such as CRMs, applications, custom quotes based on customer needs in regards to volume or project, and communication APIs will be unstoppable in the coming months, and you must understand what they are, how they work and what advantages they can bring to your project.

During the contingency, empathy and transparency played a leading role in customer service, and service was prioritized over sales. Learning to keep our commitments and manage the true needs of consumers in our favor will position us positively, and digitization will be a perfect ally to strengthen these new parameters and deliver true added value to our business or entrepreneurship.

3. New technologies in support of a contact-less society: Concepts such as voice assistants, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, mobile communication applications, omnichannel platforms, the Internet of Things, robotics and big data in real time, will be variables that must be included in the eCommerce strategy, and we must learn what are the advantages of each of these technologies to capitalize them according to our market segment, since it is intuited that the newly acquired habits will detonate in new needs and demands.

4. A new dimension of social commerce. Social networks are part of the daily life of consumers, and the growth in the use of these platforms during the pandemic has increased the relevance of the exchange of opinions, preferences, and recommendations, around brands, products, and services. The implementation of data analysis tools in real time, for example, that allow measuring customer sentiment, will be very suitable for the development of communication strategies and efficiency of digital campaigns, as well as an adequate conversion of sales interactions.

5. Logistics efficiency. Although the growth of eCommerce has become a great advantage, it also has challenges that are transforming the established foundations. If online sales have suffered from anything during this contingency, it is the lack of infrastructure and logistics to speed up the arrival of the product in the hands of the customer. Learning to digitize and automate delivery and delivery routes in the most efficient way for the good performance of our business is something that greater investment in digital training allows.

6. Care of personal data. The greater the demand, the greater the security gaps. Understanding the relevance, design and management of robust cybersecurity systems, authentication, and protection of personal data will transform in consumer trust and loyalty.

After the rapid evolution of eCommerce, we are obliged to evolve. Only change is guaranteed, and we must demand a perfect rhythm to do it. Training will always be the most important ally for adaptation and the creation of firm, robust, viable and disruptive projects. We do not see a better time than this to add true professionalism to eCommerce strategies, acquire leadership of transformation and thus achieve a new generation of businesses that face the demanding and competitive future.

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Featured in the Best Online Shops 2020 – Newsweek, DK Hardware is one of the largest online home improvement retailers for a variety of hardware manufacturers all over the United States and Canada.

digital

Digital Collaboration: Get ahead, fast.

Recently at a conference for freight forwarders everyone jointly agreed: if you’re the fastest to quote, you win the customer. What astonished me was what I heard in a conversation afterwards! “We are working in shifts now, 16 hours per day, to make sure we can quote fast and win new deals,” said one of the present forwarders. I was surprised that putting in more hours to send emails back and forth is a better solution for shipping companies than digitizing collaboration and automating tasks. The banking system solved this issue years ago with the introduction of the SWIFT system: a standardized banking system that enables companies which had never worked with each other before to transfer money on a global scale at no risk. 

In shipping, we’re still way behind the curve. The newly formed Digital Container Shipping Association has taken the first timid steps to promote data standards in shipping because they believe in close collaboration between the different stakeholders. The underlying rationale for this collaboration is typically 2-fold: (a) Margins are still depressed due to overcapacity and (b) customers demand more and more streamlined services. Although costs for technology are consistently decreasing, our industry is generally considered to have been slow to adopt digital approaches. Of course, companies collaborate across company borders, mostly through emails and networks; but isn’t it extremely inefficient and unscalable, especially in times where this could be automated to be done within seconds instead of days? 

What holds SMEs back from digital collaboration? 

We have noticed that especially small and medium-sized companies are either stuck in their traditional mindset or simply don’t know how to start with digital collaboration. Why is that so and how do companies overcome this conundrum? 

Companies are afraid to share their data 

People have to overcome their traditional industry mindset first, as a highly competitive attitude makes collaboration with competitors exceedingly difficult. Most companies don’t want to share their data because they think it’s their secret and crucial for their business – but most “data” is non-sensitive. Consider container movements, position updates forecasts and contact information of local agents. Of course, crucial information about e.g., my commercial terms with my vendors should not be openly shared! However, sharing operational data means exchanging information that you can leverage to increase service offerings, internal processes and ultimately create quotations in less time. 

Even if companies are willing to collaborate, they don’t know how to get started 

Lack of existing data standards, limited capacity or scary data security questions – the list of potential challenges of data sharing is long (as for every new project!) and only a limited number of people in logistics have “been there, done that”. 

However, in the end, it comes down to what you want to achieve/solve in the first place: How do you get your customers love working with you? How do you create quotations in less time to win more business? We suggest defining your most important targets and metrics first, and reverse engineer a good solution from there. 

Now: How can you get started? 

To get started with data sharing, finding out what you want in the first place is only the beginning of a long journey. To make it a little bit easier for you, try to answer the questions below for your own business (take a screenshot or copy into a word doc): 

-What are my main pain points?

-What is particularly crucial for my customers?  

-What data describes the problem the best? 

-How well is my data organized? 

-What data is non-sensitive? 

-What additional data do I need? 

-Who has it? How can I get that data? 

-Who (of my partners) would need my data to become better? 

-Does it make sense to work with them? 

-What integrations and/or technology would that require? 

There is no one-size-fits all solution as you can see! It’s about you and your specific business model. Only after you’re able to answer these questions you can think about the next steps: design use-cases/MVPs (Minimum Viable Products), and test setups and data integrations. 

With missing IT capabilities or resources, building integrations can oftentimes be hard because you need to manage numerous data standards and interfaces. In most cases, a 3rd party technology provider can help you as a connector in the industry. Such technology companies can not only translate different data formats into one language, but they also anonymize data to increase trust and reduce perceived risks for you: You still own your data and it is 100% up to you what part of your data you want to share to reach a certain goal. Moreover, working with 3rd party technology providers has another advantage for you: they help you develop a proof of concept at low costs! 

Of course, it requires a certain level of commitment, but working with a connector lets you test with a well-defined problem and a limited group of stakeholders to develop a workable solution. For freight forwarders, it could be the integration with a selected list of carriers to enable instant online quotes/ bookings for their customers. For equipment managers it could be integrating their equipment management system with a tracking provider to automatically receive container status updates such as pickups, drop-offs, delay warnings and ETAs. 

Once the proof of concept has been demonstrated, the collaboration could then be expanded by bringing in additional stakeholders or addressing related problems with similar approaches. Being able to create quotations faster is only one challenge – several other topics including internal organization, equipment management or communication with external stakeholders can also be targeted with an open mindset and the courage to test new things. We encourage you to start right now! 

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Christian Roeloffs is the founder and CEO of Container xChange – an online platform that creates transparency on supply and demand in container logistics. More than 300 container users and owners such as Seaco and Kuehne+Nagel use the neutral online platform to find SOC containers in 2500 locations and identify partners to avoid empty container repositioning. 

digital

3 Guiding Principles for Digital Transformation Success

Many companies have adopted digital technology to transform their business. But the transition can be a challenging process, and studies show that digital transformation projects often fail to reach company expectations.
This happens for a variety of reasons, says J. Eduardo Campos, co-founder with his wife, Erica, of Embedded-Knowledge Inc. (www.embedded-knowledge.com) and co-author with her of From Problem Solving to Solution Design: Turning Ideas into Actions.
“It’s often due to ineffective communication between the IT department and business teams,” Campos says. “But overall it really comes down to an inability to problem-solve and a tendency to lose sight of teamwork and the big-picture business plan.
“To have a successful digital transformation depends greatly on employees working together, but too many organizations are siloed, thus hampering the communication and creating obstacles in the process.”
Campos offers three ways company leaders can deal with problems in digital transformation:
Define the essential problem. Campos says digital transformational programs fail when company leaders don’t grasp the root of the problem they hope digital transformation will solve. “Beware of solving the symptoms instead of the problem,” Campos says. “To define the essential problem, you first need to step back, reflect, and clearly define what you are trying to address. Detaching yourself from a problem and trying to see it from a different perspective, you then will have a better view of how things interact with each other. There are often multiple layers to why a problem exists, so ask a series of whys that drill down to the answer.”
Design solutions. Once the problem is identified, setting goals and assessing options come next. ”It’s not unusual to find yourself in a situation where the problems you identified are part of a dynamic environment, affected by constant changes that require you to revisit your goals and options regularly,” Campos says. “This is where technology and software can be very helpful in making sure everything is being tracked appropriately without any information getting lost. in addition to technology, using risk management concepts can be a very effective way to help keep consistency throughout the solution design process.”
Engage stakeholders. Digital transformation often represents a massive change for personnel. Campos says it’s vital for the decision-makers to craft a stakeholder engagement plan that addresses all aspects of a recommended solution. “Clearly identify whom will be impacted by the solution, either positively or negatively, and how to handle stakeholder reactions,” Campos says. “You want them to be willing to commit to your recommendation because they indeed want it, not because you are selling it to them. And when you are influencing the decision-making process, be sure to show your stakeholders your appreciation of varying opinions.”
“Achieving success in digital transformation brings together people, process, and technology,” Campos says. “Many businesses never get far past the launch point of their digital transformation because that triad of people, process and technology isn’t in sync, and problems that could have been solved were not.”
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J. Eduardo Campos is co-author with his wife, Erica, of From Problem Solving to Solution Design: Turning Ideas into Actions. Campos spent 13 years at Microsoft, first as a cybersecurity advisor, then leading innovative projects at the highest levels of government in the U.S. and abroad.  His consulting firm, Embedded Knowledge Inc. (www.embedded-knowledge.com), works with organizations and entrepreneurs developing customized business strategies and forming partnerships focused on designing creative solutions to complex problems.