Digital disruption in the equipment industry, part 3: getting started

September 13, 2017

Digital transformation begins with the customer

Digital disruption occurs when new digital technologies and business models alter the value of existing products and services. The current market is disrupted and customer expectations change. Digital disruption is happening all around you.

It’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN. Sooner or later your company will have to embrace a digital future. “It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in,” says business futurist and digital transformation authority Greg Verdino. “In every industry, there is somebody embracing digital while everyone else falls further behind.”

You’re ready to respond to the disruption. You are committed to support and take an active part in the digital transformation, a critical first step in the process, and you’ve assembled a transformation team consisting of individuals from a variety of departments and roles in the organization. Now what?

The response to digital disruption is digital transformation. In How To Guide Your Company’s Digital Transformation, digital analyst and award-winning author Brian Solis defines digital transformation as “the realignment of or new investment in technology, business models, and processes to create new value for customers and employees and more effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.”

To create a strategy that delivers that new value for customers, you have to know your customers. “Equipment dealers and rental companies need to take a hard look at who their customer is, who that customer is becoming, and what that customer will expect from them in the very near future,” says Verdino. “Then develop a strategy to provide that.”

Solis recommends customer journey mapping (customer experience mapping) to get a thorough knowledge of your customers.

Creating a customer journey map

Customer journey or customer experience mapping, if you’re not familiar with it, is a diagram or drawing that illustrates every way your customers engage with your company, whether it be product, online, retail, service or whatever. With it, you identify all the touchpoints between your customer and your organization, both major (those that are customer-facing) and minor (the operations that support the relationship.)

The simple act of journey mapping will provide important insights into your customers’ experiences. Critically evaluate each touchpoint (major first and then minor), and develop a strategy for how you can improve the customer’s experience and meet their changing needs. “Then every technology or change should be viewed through the lens of how it helps achieve that strategy,” says Verdino.

Go for a quick win

Verdino recommends you start by identifying a couple of quick wins where you can achieve fast results. “Think about digital transformation as a way to get better at something you already do well,” he says. “If you already deliver a great customer experience, how can you apply digital thinking and technology to deliver an even better customer experience? Or improve response times? Or predict problems and proactively solve them?”

Alternatively, he says, you can look at areas of your business that are already being impacted by digital disruption. “Take on the hard questions,” Verdino says. “Where is your business most likely to face its disruption point? How do you create a new role for your dealership in a world where you aren’t selling equipment anymore? If your pricing isn’t competitive how can you use digital to drive down your costs?”

Look for wins that play to your strengths or prevent disruption and it becomes a step-by-step process. Execute in one place, get a win, and continue onto the next, he says.

“Digital transformation is not a single event,” says Verdino. “Technology is only going to continue to change and that change is only going to accelerate. Transformation is a journey and you need to commit to it for the long haul.”


  • Equipment Dealers Rental & Service
  • CloudSuite Equipment
  • M3
  • Worldwide
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