Digital technologies are fast evolving. Many of these are very helpful to business operations. In the competitive environment and view of the current pandemic, digital technologies offer so much.
Why Does Everyone Go Digital?
In every aspect of life, you can find digital technology at work. You wake up in the morning to the alarm of your clock. Digital electronics run your alarm clock. You end the day by making sure that your alarm clock is set for the next day.
In between waking up and going to bed, you use and encounter countless automated machines. Even non-electronic devices are manufactured using automation.
Everyone has gone digital because it is convenient. It makes life easier. It produces products and goods cheaper.
What Is Digital Transformation in Business?
Nick Ismael defines digital transformation as “the digitization of internal and outward-facing processes via technology, which helps a business improve operations and combat the growing threat of disruption — which could be the most during the coronavirus pandemic, could be the most useful of allies.”
So, there are two areas in business where digital transformation is applicable:
- Internal operations
- Interaction between customers and employees
Before, the only reason to go digital was competition. The internal operations must be improved. Businesses adopted digital technologies to make their operations faster and more efficient than the rest.
But recently, another factor has come in – the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, the fear of transmitting the virus has limited in-person transactions. Digital transformation is the only way to lessen these transactions.
The Digital Transformation Framework
As with any venture, a framework of how things will happen has to be laid down. Simplilearn defines a digital transformation framework as “a system of rules, a long-term strategy used to guide businesses through the tricky landscape of digital transformation.”
It is the map needed in the company’s digital journey. The journey is from the current state to the adaptive state – adaptive to the evolving and changing digital landscape. Without this framework, the business will not succeed in its digital transformation.
A digital transformation framework has the following items in its outline:
Ask these questions: What do we want to accomplish in digital transformation? Customer satisfaction? Lessen the physical contact between customers and our employees? Improve the pace of operations? Improve data management and analysis?
When setting your goals, involve other members of the organization. Get their ideas about the plan to transform.
If you go back to setting the goals above, you will notice several questions asked. The answer to every question could be “Yes.” It is not something unusual, but because of this, you need to prioritize. Digital transformation requires time and money.
After you have prioritized, schedule when to implement according to the order of priority.
Listing of things needed
If you have identified your priority, list down the pieces of electronic equipment, gadgets, software applications, and other things you need for this transformation. You might need a consultant to help you with this.
Do not forget that sometimes some sort of training is needed to operate certain equipment or software applications.
Now that you have the list, you can now inquire about the price of each item from vendors. Sum them up, and you have the total cost.
The last thing is to implement the digital transformation goal.
This is a simple framework outline but read Digital Business Transformation: A Conceptual Framework if you want an in-depth discussion. Go to the Full Report, which is downloadable. This is where you can find the in-depth discussion.
The Digital Transformation Strategy
The definitions of digital transformation framework and digital transformation strategy overlap with each other. However, the discussion here will focus on dealing with the challenges that have to be overcome. One of them possibly is resistance. Resistance to change is not unusual.
There are seven aspects of a digital transformation strategy, and they are the following:
Why Do Digital Transformation?
One way to overcome resistance from key people in your company is to define your company’s goals. Go back to your company’s goals in your strategic plan. Discuss with them the goals and how digital transformation meets the objectives.
Prepare Your People
Abrupt changes can create resistance. Slowly introduce the idea and continue discussing the need.
Start Small, But Strategic
It is wise to start small because you want to prove that using digital technologies is a great help. Start in the area of your business where its impact will be greatly seen.
Plan Out the Implementation
Digital transformation is not an end in itself. It should be used as a means to fulfilling your business goals. Use technology where it is most needed in reaching your goal.
Get Technological Partners with Expertise
If you want to succeed in your digital transformation, look for vendors and suppliers to help you. They should be with technological expertise.
Get Feedback and Adjust
Later on, get some feedback from key people in your company. By this time, they already have seen the benefits of the introduction of digital technology. Use their feedback to adjust and refine the digital transformation.
Apply To Other Areas of The Business
The good outcome that you achieved should be applied to other areas of your business. But this time, you will have less resistance.
Digitalization and Startups
Digitalization of startup businesses is easy because there will be less resistance. However, digitalization should be used strategically to get the best result. It should help in bringing the growth needed.
These are the areas where digital transformation for startups and small businesses should be implemented:
Seek to automate repetitive functions, like invoicing or billing. Maybe, you can look for some software application that can address this. This will help streamline the work.
Handling business data is one critical function. If possible, the data should be free from errors. Digital technology can solve this problem.
Data is important in decision-making. Digitalization will help you with data storage, accessibility, and analysis. From this analyzed data, you can make an informed decision.
Saving Time and Money
One of the great things that digitalization can offer is in saving time and money. It can make businesses operate fast and efficiently.
The internet connects people and businesses. Communication with other companies is made easier. Working together with them despite distances is possible.
Process Innovations for Digital Transformation
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines process innovation as “implementing a new or significantly improved production or delivery method. This includes significant changes in techniques, equipment, and software.”
Digital transformation brings process innovation to a business. Based on the definition, process innovation touches two main areas in business:
The purpose of any process innovation here is to lessen the cost and time in producing items. Automation is used in production.
A good example is fast-food stores. The combination of technique, equipment, and the software comes into play in bringing the food ordered to a customer.
The purpose of any process innovation here is to lessen the time and increase efficiency in delivery. The use of bar codes, tracking numbers, and delivery software applications is a process innovation.
One good example is e-commerce. Sellers post their products on an online portal. Customers use their cell phones to surf the online portal. They buy the product by paying online or cash on delivery. The online portal contacts the independent delivery companies to collect the item purchased and then delivers it to the customer.
Small businesses are given a level playing field with e-commerce innovation, especially in selling and delivery. With e-commerce, anyone with entrepreneurial skills can succeed.
Pros And Cons of Digital Transformation
The discussion above covers much of the pros of digital transformation. There are also cons that we have to be wary about. So, let us discuss more the cons.
New equipment, gadget, or software means going through the learning and familiarizing process all over again. Sometimes, production is hampered.
Digital transformation does not come cheap. This is one reason why you should prioritize the introduction of digitalization in your business.
Integration and compliance
Digital technology is running at a fast rate. The downside of this is that your system might not be compatible or compliant with the new system. Or you get a unique design and hope that your system can be integrated. You find out that that is not the case.
The key here is not to jump right away on the latest technology. Wait and study the development of the technology.
The Future of Digital Transformation for Business
Carlos Barrazas succinctly said this: “Digital transformation is the future of business!”
Digital transformation spending is growing. It is increasing by 17.1% per annum. This means that companies are serious about digital transformation. This implies everyone who is in business. Digital transformation should also be taken seriously.
Digital transformation has many advantages to offer businesses, big or small, established or a startup. It provides convenience, speed, lower cost, efficiency, and many others.
For you to progress and succeed in business, you must leverage digital transformation. So, keep in step with the progress of technology. Use it to your advantage. Use it to reach your goals.
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