We’re all looking towards the future of working and aiming to understand how we can make the most of our digital presence, and it’s likely you’ve already delved into digitally transforming the way you work and provide services, both for staff and customers.
Despite this, you may be concerned with maintaining your digital and technology products or services, and keeping ahead of the game. You may also be unsure if your digital changes will benefit you in the long run.
My colleague Stacey Millard has been looking at digital transformation and the lasting benefits of incorporating online services into businesses - as well as tackling the inevitable challenges you may face along the way. These are her thoughts...
So, to start with, what is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation involves the implementation of digital services within a business.
What are the benefits of digital transformation?
The future of working has changed for all of us, and we’re being forced to take our businesses online, whether we are ready for this change or not. Studies show that many businesses will more than likely encourage working from home more frequently as we begin the transition of being able to head back to the office. Take the time to understand how going online will help you in the long run!
Through incorporating technology, businesses are able to open doors to new opportunities and achieve development that can only be accessed through digital methods of providing services. These methods of completing tasks are essential to continue generating sales in a way that is both efficient and effective. It is evident that customers are becoming accustomed to - and therefore demand - quicker and easier access to services as more and more companies embrace digital change. For example, in the food and drink industry, businesses have taken advantage of this in the form of releasing apps that allow customers to retrieve their orders when and where they want them. This demand places even greater pressure on companies lagging behind when it comes to embracing technology. Research by Capgemini Consulting and MIT’s Centre for Digital Business found there to be vast evidence confirming that companies that invest in new technologies and manage them well become more profitable over their industry peers.
Not only does digital change benefit your customers, it can also give your employees an opportunity to grow within the business and develop their skills to meet these new requirements. As a result, your employees will be prepared and motivated to get involved with these new methods!
Embracing digital change leads to keeping up with competitors, and gives an opportunity to lead the way when it comes to innovation in this field.
What are the potential barriers and how can you overcome them?
Inevitably, there will be some challenges to incorporating digital services into a business. Although these barriers will pop up, once overcome the pros of digital change far outweigh the cons!
Businesses can often have an ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’ mentality when it comes to any changes within the company – if your business is running well without digital services, or the current technology you use appears to be sufficient, why change anything? The answer to this comes down to the fact that digital change can open so many doors that were previously unreachable. Technology can provide resources that allow customers to get their product quicker, access customer service operations easier and give staff an easier way to perform tasks that mean more time can be spent on focusing on other aspects of the business.
Perhaps the biggest barrier facing businesses hesitant to delve into digital transformation is funding. The expenses required can understandably make the move seem unnecessary and perhaps not worth it. However, just like overcoming the idea of changing processes that already seem to work well, the implementation of technology is proven to encourage profitability within a business in the long run.
It may be evident that businesses simply don’t know where to begin – from changing methods of carrying out services, understanding what to transform first and making sure staff are well-trained on the new technology. Of course, this can prove to be a challenge when first considering digital change but can easily be overcome by taking the process step-by-step and approaching the project with a positive mind-set. Establishing goals for your company may help you focus on what to tackle first – where do you want to focus most of your energy? What services are you hoping to launch with the help of technology? What feedback have you received from customers on your services and how can you utilise this when making changes?
In the current climate, it’s pretty vital that companies – both big and small - embrace digital change to make the most of opportunities, expand their customer reach and ensure the security of their business. Our current situation is changing every day, but technology will always be the future of a growing business. In order to achieve this successfully, businesses must understand and teach their staff the reasons behind this transformation, rather than simply instructing their staff to ‘do this’ or ‘make this happen’. To fully embrace the benefits of digital change, businesses must ensure staff are prepared, motivated and know what business goals that can be achieved.
Here are a few interesting reads to get you up to speed on the pros and cons of digital change:
Capgemini consulting and MIT Centre for Digital Business: Embracing Digital Technology: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/projects/embracing-digital-technology/
Forbes: How Small Businesses can Embrace Digital Transformation: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2020/06/03/how-small-businesses-can-embrace-digital-transformation/
Huffington Post UK : Apps are great but can lead to user fatigue: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/pieter-de-villiers/apps-are-great-but-can-lead-to-user-fatigue_a_23447823/?utm_hp_ref=uk-digital-transformation(Interesting article on the potential downsides to creating a brand new app and the best ways to approach introducing an app to your customers)