Digital Transformation Not Just Another Buzz Word
Digital transformation is a term that has been used more and more extensively in business, but it's not just another trending term used by business consultants and digital agencies to sell a service you don't necessarily need.
What is it?
Digital transformation is defined as "the novel use of digital technology to solve traditional problems. These digital solutions enable - other than efficiency via automation - new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhance and support traditional methods".
Many corporations see it as just another trend used by those agencies looking to make a quick buck, however if your competitor has transformed the way they do business by digitizing some of their processes, giving them more time to see to new developments or better customer service, you could soon find yourself out of business.
Most transformation projects relate to efficiency via implementing new digital processes or changing the way old processes work by digitizing them. This could be done through software: for example digitising invoices that automatically track & follow-up on non-payment without intervention by a human resource; or software that simplifies cumbersome processes: for example real estate agents in the past needing to take photos of houses then upload to their computer and then another CRM system, now have mobile apps that can take photos on their phone and immediately upload directly to that CRM system saving them a ton of admin time!
Other transformation projects change an entire industry, such as Airbnb changing what is considered hospitality provider options and changing the way this can be booked.
Do you need it?
A question we are often asked is to assess whether a company needs any kind of digital transformation. From our experience, if you're asking the question, there is probably at least one part of your business that could be optimized. You don't necessarily need to overhaul the entire business. It could be something as simple as transforming how your payroll works, or employee on-boarding or just starting off by looking at your business holistically and seeing where a change in process could help multiple employees do their tasks more efficiently.
Off-the-Shelf vs Custom
People often confuse digital transformation with having to build expensive custom systems. This is not always the case and depends from business to business. As with any investment, the first thing you need to do is compare your anticipated return with the upfront and ongoing costs.
If you're an SME an off-the-shelf product may suit your needs better. They are much more affordable than custom built systems, and can grow as your business grows. There are a magnitude of products available in this day and age, and chances are that what you're looking for is already available as a product.
If you're a larger organisation that has proprietary methods and processes and need more customisation a bespoke system is definitely the way to go. This way you know that whatever your requirement, it will be catered for. Digital transformation consultants are usually contracted by such firms to spend a few weeks or months with the businesses in order to understand all the ins and outs before putting together a recommendation. The consultants usually ensure that all your requirements, large or small, are accounted for and often also recommend methods to potentially optimize the way such processes are executed.
Transparency with employees is key
Throughout this process it is important to bring your employees on the journey with you. Change is hard for everyone, and more so if they are left feeling out of the loop, or not knowing what is happening in the company, or how it will affect them directly. It is easy for especially long-standing employees to feel threatened by software or digitized systems if they don't understand it properly. They may feel like they are being replaced, which is often not the case.
Digital transformation consultants can definitely aid your organisation here as well. As objective third parties employees see them as more approachable and will often ask those questions they don't feel comfortable enough to ask their employer, and are also completely transparent in their counts of challenges with existing systems. The latter very important as if a rosy picture is painted with the way in which things exist in the present, there can't be true transformation, nor progress.
A third party is also able to earmark those individuals who may need a little more support throughout the process, and those that could be seen as change-assistants. (The ones who are open to embracing change and could be recruited as assistants/mentors throughout the change-over process.)
Staying the course
It is easy to get distracted on your digital transformation journey, especially if you are creating custom solutions. But the pain of staying where you are as a business should be more than transforming and pushing through the change.
Platinum Software can assist your business with software that will help you grow. Whether you are looking for off-the-shelf solutions, or fully bespoke systems.