Businesses must become digital-first to understand the emerging realm of the metaverse and develop the innovations that will drive success there.
By Jaime McMahon, CDO, LineZero
The metaverse is open for business. A growing number of companies are shifting their strategies (albeit slowly) to include engaging with consumers in the evolving virtual world, and a growing number of consumers — more than half according to a recent survey — say they are ready to connect in the metaverse as well.
For businesses preparing to enter the metaverse, developing a strong digital culture is a critical step. The metaverse is more than simply a new digital venue where businesses can deploy traditional methods of promotion, sales, and customer support. It is a new world of digital-first engagement that requires a digital-first mindset.
What to expect in the metaverse
The metaverse is often described as revolutionary. Some experts, however, refer to it as an evolution rather than a revolution, citing that the metaverse is still an emerging technology. There is a long list of promises about what the metaverse can become, but the vast majority of those promises have yet to be realized.
As long as the metaverse remains an emerging technology, identifying effective business models will be challenging. It remains to be seen whether strategies that succeed in e-commerce will be applicable in the metaverse, as achieving profitability with emerging technologies can take years — if not decades.
Businesses should also expect that metaverse success will require the development of new skills. Brands that want to establish a metaverse presence will need to navigate the world of virtual design, blockchain, AI, and spatial computing. In addition, the social component of the metaverse will require businesses to be ready to excel at community management and other human-centered skills.
Even in its emergent state, the metaverse has already been labeled a high risk for fraud and cybersecurity attacks. Metaverse scams could target digital identities — stealing avatars or online profiles to use for malicious purposes — and intellectual property such as music or 3D models developed by businesses. Cyberattacks could target user data or metaverse assets such as cryptocurrency or non-fungible tokens. Ransomware attacks that seek to gain control of metaverse operations are another threat.
How to engage in the metaverse
Building the type of strong digital culture needed for metaverse exploration starts with becoming a digital-first business. IT can no longer be strictly a department within a business, but instead must be at the core of the business, driving the worldview of the workplace.
Businesses must also prioritize innovation to effectively explore the metaverse. Users expect an immersive experience, which means businesses will need to develop innovative approaches to engagement and interaction. Businesses will also need to develop innovative approaches to connecting the metaverse to other business channels to drive mainstream consumer adoption.
Curiosity is key to innovating, so businesses should explore the metaverse with a desire to learn, an open mind, and a willingness to listen to those they encounter there. Resilience is also key to innovating, and the metaverse’s digital landscape is the perfect laboratory for experimenting, failing fast, learning from mistakes, and trying again.
Prioritizing data-driven decision-making is another key to building a strong digital culture. The metaverse will provide businesses with data-rich consumer interactions, but until strong patterns of behavior emerge, businesses will need to engage in an ongoing process of data analysis and experimentation to identify insights that can drive effective decision-making.
Businesses should also plan to invest heavily in cybersecurity as they set up shop in the metaverse. Multi-factor authentication and digital rights management will be critical for protecting the digital identities and assets used to populate the metaverse. Vulnerability testing and patch management should also be prioritized due to the emerging nature of metaverse technologies.
Essentially, a strong digital culture evolves as businesses and their employees begin to see “digital” as a value instead of a format. Building a metaverse-ready workforce requires moving in that direction. As businesses become more comfortable in the metaverse environment, they will be better equipped to identify and take advantage of the opportunities it will bring to the business world.
About the Author
Jaime McMahon, Chief Digital Officer of LineZero, has a passion for helping organizations unlock their digital potential. He has extensive experience in the technology industry, working with businesses of all sizes to drive growth through digital transformation. Jaime is a sought-after speaker on a range of technology solutions, delivering talks hosted by industry leaders throughout North America. He is committed to democratizing technology and shifting its role in business from a cost-centric focus to a strategic enabler of positive outcomes. At LineZero, Jaime leverages his expertise to help businesses achieve their goals and optimize their operations.