Digital transformation seems to be a catchword these days, but what does it actually mean? Digital transformation, using digital technology to solve traditional problems – could give your business a much-needed boost. A digital transformation occurs when a business overhauls its processes, strategies, competencies, and activities to incorporate a mix of the newest technological opportunities into the organization to achieve desirable business outcomes. Those who have begun their digital business transformation journey are already benefiting from a more competitive, agile, collaborative, scalable and secure working environment.
In the digital era, companies must take advantage of data to remain competitive in the marketplace. Streamlining business processes, getting a more comprehensive view of the business and gaining new insights to achieve better outcomes is what digital transformation is all about.
There is more to a digital business transformation than simply purchasing and implementing new technology. To succeed, a company’s employees must “buy in” to the transformation, and remain willing to adopt new practices. Regardless of IT and executive leadership, without business-wide support for implemented technological advancements, businesses will remain unable to maximize their return on investment.
Does Your Business Need a Digital Makeover?
If you’re relying on older, disconnected point solutions, entry-level software and spreadsheets to run your business, chances are good that you need to take a hard look at whether the technology you’re using is helping or hindering business growth.
Some of the cons your current technology approach is dragging down the business include:
It’s hard to get the information you need, when you need it. Maybe it takes too long to create or customize reports for things like billing, payments, budget rollups or sales forecasts because people have to re-enter and reconcile information from different systems and spreadsheets—which also increases the risk of errors.
When businesses depend on a mix of different data sources, spreadsheets and reports, you can’t see how the different aspects of your business work together. It’s likely that different people will have very different views of what’s happening in the business, and find it difficult to reach consensus on key decisions.
Without the ability to readily reconfigure business software to tackle new initiatives, your business will be slow—or miss out entirely—on new opportunities. For example, if you have an opportunity to do business in another country, you’ll need to be able to track exchange rates, convert currencies and consolidate financials.
If you identify with any of these situations, the risk of getting out-maneuvered by more agile competitors will only grow if you don’t take action.
Six Steps to Get Started on the Digital Transformation Path
Technology is certainly essential to digital transformation. But digital transformation encompasses much more than technology, it requires a shift in how you think about, manage and operate the business. Business strategy should be at the core of digital transformation strategy, the right technology solutions help to enable it.
While there is no one-size-fits-all path to develop a successful digital transformation strategy, here are some tips to help you to carve a successful path.
Take a fresh look at what’s happening in the business environment. What’s changing in your business, with competitors, and with customers? Maybe revenues and profits are stagnant, or you’re finding it tough to recruit and retain employees. Perhaps a competitor has introduced a new business model or product that it is negatively impacting your company. Or you want to enter a new market, but you’d have to put so many workarounds in place to facilitate the move that you’re stalling. Zeroing in on specific issues and problem areas can help you set goals to sustain and grow in your market.
Get input early and often from relevant stakeholders so that you’re not missing a key piece of the puzzle. Executive buy-in is critical, but it’s also crucial to involve employees who will need to adapt to new business practices and technology solutions. Remember to get feedback from your customers and partners too. Find out what they think you’re doing right, where improvement is needed, how their expectations are changing, and how you can better serve them.
Will the technology solutions you use today help you achieve your business goals, or will they hold you back? Look for solutions that automate repetitive processes and readily provide you the information and analysis tools you need to make better decisions. Consult with trusted technology advisors who can provide clarity about how different solutions will help you meet your business objectives, and supply realistic details about the resources, costs and timeframes that deploying a new solution will require.
Connect with people through industry associations and communities, and ask technology vendors for customer references you can talk with. Find out how they set goals, selected solutions, what they did right and any pitfalls they’ve encountered.
While it’s important to set priorities—whether to improve employee experience, streamline financials and planning or personalize the customer experience, you don’t want to end up with a more modern—but still disjointed—set of siloed solutions. Select technology solutions from vendors who build their systems with open, flexible technologies so that you can add new capabilities as you need to in an incremental, yet integrated manner. Aim to integrate workflows and create a more unified view of data from different areas of the company. This will not only help to streamline business processes, but to more easily see what’s going on in the business, and how what happens in one area can affect another.
Remember us if you are searching for a trusted company for a makeover for your business.