Digital transformation is something of a trend right now, but as it is the case with many trends in the world of business, not everybody understands what it means exactly.
What is digital transformation? What does this buzzword actually mean?
Lack of understanding, fear of change and the widespread myths regarding digital transformation make many business people get goosebumps when they hear the term. As a result, many companies still use obsolete and complicated work processes which lower their effectiveness and in turn their profits.
The constant technological evolution has had a significant impact on the organization of companies, so many have realized that if they want to remain competitive they have to start with the process of digitalization.
The digital transformation can be defined as the integration of new technologies in all areas of a company to change the way it works. The goal is to optimize processes, improve competitiveness and offer a new added value to customers through the integration of technology.
Therefore, digital transformation doesn’t only mean buying more powerful computers, storing data in the cloud or installing an ERP. It implies a change in the mindset of managers and employees of the organization.
Change in the mindset of the leadership means divergent thinking and promotion of innovation to create new business models that generate new sources of income; incorporation of digital assets and increased use of technology to improve operational efficiency and the experience of employees, customers, suppliers, and partners. It’s a commitment to the future. By adopting new methods companies can take advantage of the full potential of digital technology.
The key to the implementation of this new form of organization is process automation. This enables companies to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive world and adapt to the new demands and expectations from their customers.
Digital transformation is not optional, it should be considered a must, at least for companies that want to achieve the following:
Greater business competitiveness
Have more reliable sources of income
Increase operational efficiency
Improve customer experience
Adapt to a changing market
Improved communication and organizational collaboration in the company
Better analysis of data and results
Improved innovation capabilities
Define digital in digital transformation
While the focus is on changing the way the business works at all levels, the technology underpins all digital transformation projects. What technology, you may ask?
Obviously, this can change and will keep on changing as time passes by, but generally, companies want to adopt technologies that help them take advantage of and make sense of the big data they have collected. Preparing for trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the mobile-first approach can also be a strong reason for a company to adopt new technologies.
That means that analytics tools are high on the agenda, as is cloud computing, which allows you to store data outside your own data center. After all, you need to be sure that your data will be stored safely.
You may also want to focus on collaboration tools, such as file sharing, mobile devices, and applications, that allow your employees to work regardless of where they are at the moment. These tools can give them instant access to information, and this is especially useful for vendors whose employees visit their customers or travel a lot for business purposes.
But let’s see the relation between these two important terms:
Digital technology gives us immediate access, through a smartphone, to virtually anyone, all the useful knowledge and any market where we can do business. This has fundamentally changed the way consumers purchase products and services and the ways in which a company can create value.
Digital transformation is the process of making changes, automating processes, using a social network for marketing, collecting and understanding data, offering new products and services that are enabled by digital technology. This process allows a small company to adapt successfully to the latest trends and to meet the “digital expectations” of consumers.
The digital transformation creates new opportunities for efficiency and growth.
How to digitally transform my business?
Digital transformation is a long and challenging journey, but with a good strategy, you can make it easier.
- Digital state of mind
As we already said, digital transformation starts with a change in the mindset of managers and employees, regardless of the type of company and how ‘digital’ is it.
- 'Doing digital’ vs ‘being digital’
The superficial use of digital technology can be as harmful as not using it at all. For example, placing a mobile front-end in an existing app is a cheap and low-risk option, but it should be considered as the first step of a long journey. Small digital milestones don’t necessarily mean that your company is on the right path to digital transformation.
‘Doing digital’ means implementing new technology and expecting to integrate seamlessly into the rest of the organization’s infrastructure. But, what companies really need is to ‘be digital’ which implies rethinking and re-designing the entire commercial support model. It means adopting underlying digital principles and leaving the industrial mindset behind, in the past.
Innovation is not about copying innovations made by other brands, but about gaining recognition for your own innovations. This element is one of the fundamentals in the digital era, where constant updates are required in all sectors.
- Data is fueling software
Collecting, storing, analyzing and leveraging customer data is a must when it comes to creating a good customer journey. A data-driven company, that is on a journey to a software-defined and automated world, moves faster because it gets the right insights from the right data.
- The user is the heart of everything
Digital transformation is here to win the heart of the users (customers)! Its goal is to close the gap between customer expectations and the level of provided business services. Nowadays customers are becoming more and more tech-savvy and they expect exceptional customer experience.
You should know how people are using your products or services, and track their behavior, gain insights, define your buyer persona in order to offer the best online and offline experience.
You need to know where your customers spend most of their time and maintain a strong presence on that channel/platform.
This means that having a brand profile on different social networks, and having your own app and a website is essential. Also, depending on your business you can consider building a B2B or B2C e-commerce platform.
- Automate everything
You must define, select and implement a modern platform to provide agility and long-term capabilities. You can choose from SaaS or PaaS services that provide seamless integration. The cloud is your friend here - it’s the future of digital experience platforms.
- Every digital journey needs a partner
A lot of companies lack the skills necessary to implement digital transformation within their workflow. That’s why is vital to consider building a partner ecosystem that will drive you successfully towards digital transformation.
Our advice is to look for companies that are open for partnership, instead of vendors that are only interested in selling licenses. Partners can advise you how to achieve your goals and support you in the digital transformation.
There isn’t a magic wand for digital transformation. It’s a long process and you need to be prepared because the future is coming faster than you can imagine.
Don’t be scared of changes and embrace the digital transformation!