The Straightforward Digital Transformation Guide for Beginners

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Nikolina Maškarić

Ctrl + V Manager

⏱ Reading Time: 10 minutes

The current trends in information systems and technology have found its way into defining how today’s businesses and organizations function. The presence of the internet, mobile devices, software, artificial intelligence, and so many other digital advancements have provided us with opportunities one would have only dreamt of decades ago. 

With these technological advancements on the increase, digitizing your business is an essential process that should occur in every facet of your company if you want to achieve a seamless digital customer experience.  

 🚀Read: Omnichannel Guide for Digitally Advanced Brands🚀

We’ve crafted this article, to serve you as a digital transformational guide which will help you to transform your business into a customer-centric company by leveraging these digital technologies. Here, we’ll show you how to participate and transform your business to make better decisions. 

However, before we proceed, you need to understand the term “Digital Transformation” and why it matters as the key to innovations as well as its benefits. Follow us on a lane to uncover the steps to digital transformation!

What Is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the reimaging and realignment of a business or organization with the technology advancements and digital age. Today, technology allows and supports innovative business models and it no longer serves as just support to achieving business goals. 

This all has become possible because of the 6 technology advancements: 

  1. Social Media and Digital Media
  2. Internet of Things
  3. Mobility
  4. Big Data
  5. Cloud
  6. Cybersecurity 

While in theory, digital transformation is a set of pure technological advancements that are almost the same for everyone, the effect, goal, and outcome of digital transformation in every company varies. 

8 levers to digital transformation

Picture 1. 8 levers to Digital Transformation–spanning both Growth and Operational Improvement

This means that there is one – size – fit – all is not possible. Quite the opposite, digital transformation is a collection of all the processes involved in integrating digital technologies into every sector of a business to achieve basic changes in its operations and service delivery.

Beyond this, digital transformation is a shift in a business culture demanding organizations to always challenge the status quo, experiment often, and become comfortable with failure. Digital transformation requires a change in leadership, thought process differences, the motivation of innovative and business models, the assimilation of digitized assets and expanded use of technology for better customer experience.

Why Does Digital Transformation Matter?

From communication to making and processing payments, people’s lives have been changed by the digitization of everyday processes.  But, let’s talk about just how big the change and the impact of digital transformation is, using the numbers. 

Smart insights research has shown that 34% of companies have already undergone a digital transformation. Gartner’s research claims that 56% of CEOs said digital improvements have led to revenue growth. Moreover, 44% of companies have already moved to a digital-first approach when it comes to customer experience. 

All of the above illustrates the importance of digital transformation for company success in the digital era.  Think of this, instead of spending hours processing paperwork, won’t it be better if you create digital workflows that will seamlessly and automatically move documents to their proper locations?

Implementing digital transformation will simultaneously reflect in several business fields and will, if done correctly, reflect in improvements of the customer experience. For example, if you have new clients or customers who need to fill out a series of onboarding documents, digitizing and automating that process will help you to lift a significant burden off their back. The results of removing customer pain points will reflect in higher customer loyalty and an excellent Customer Lifetime Value.

When talking about customer pain points, check out the most popular ones and find out how to identify them: Popular Customer Pain Points.

The Benefits of Digital Transformation

Crossing the hurdles and challenges that digital transformation presents will surely help you to maximize your business into a digitalized coy. The main aim of digital transformation is to ensure you enhance your customer experience and increase your organization’s competitive advantage. It brings operational gains and improves the efficiency and quality of your customer support thereby increasing your customer acquisition rate.

The benefits of digital transformation

Picture 2. The benefits of Digital Transformation

Effective digital transformation strategies can also help you enhance your relationships with your business partners. This increased efficiency frees up employees to focus on other, more revenue-centered activities. Digital transformation improves collaboration across departments, increases efficiency and makes your business customer-centric with improved service delivery.

Digital Transformation Industry Examples

Regardless of your business sector or specialty, there are enterprises that have excelled in digital transformation. Here are some live examples where digital transformation is steering digital initiatives to drive business growth and operational efficiency.

1. EATON

Eaton logo

Picture 3. Eaton logo

In the Oil and Energy Sector, Eaton, a US-based power management major, introduced the eNotify Remote Monitoring service to its users. This service is free for one year after subscription to the product after which it is paid for in subsequent years. The eNotify Remote Monitoring” service was designed to provide 24/7 remote monitoring of connected Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) systems to detect anomalies.

2. GE

GE logo

Picture 4. GE logo

In the Aviation & Aerospace Sector, GE applied digital manufacturing where 3D printing was used to produce components for its new Leap Engine. This benefitted them in producing 19 engine parts which are 5 times stronger in 1 print. It also enabled them to make additive manufacturing investment plans.

3. DHL

DHL logo

Picture 5. DHL logo

In the Logistics & Supply Chain sector, DHL carried out a successful pilot project testing smart glasses in a warehouse in the Netherlands. They used this Augmented reality technology to implement vision picking leading to faster warehouse operations.

How to Build an Effective Digital Transformation

Development of new competencies while undergoing the process of digital transformation revolves around making your business to be more agile, people-oriented, innovative, customer-centric, streamlined, efficient and able to induce/leverage opportunities to change the status quo, tapping into new information and service-driven revenues. If your business belongs to markets with a high degree of commoditization, then your digital transformation efforts and strategies are often more urgent.

To transform your business you must: 

Evaluate your present situation

Identify strategic change areas that will eventually benefit from the optimized capabilities offered by digitalization. Find out the process in your workflow that can be automated as well as the areas with the most pressure. By implementing digital transformation in these key areas, especially areas connected to your core business operations, you’ll maximize the overall effect of achieving high business efficiency with increased profits, customer satisfaction, and customer retention.

Gather support from all levels of management

Ensure you organize and secure support from your managers for digital transformation making sure it touches every department, with the push coming from the top to down. Consequently, it is imperative that you get the full support of top-level management.

Enhance your document management

In the past, document management was done mainly with Sharepoint. Today, there are many platforms that can do what Sharepoint is used for and even more. Enhance your document management system with search engines, machine learning capabilities and better user interfaces with the aim to facilitate process automation and workflow.

Automate your work processes and flow

One of the key achievements of digital business transformation is automation. Create automation in areas such as vendor onboarding and HR onboarding processes. You can also do the same in your general workflow avoiding delicate areas like contract approvals and financial documents. This automation will definitely affect your ROI positively and help you achieve faster settlement times.

Educate your staff 

One of the factors that determine the success of digital transformation strategies is the ability of the workforce to incorporate with the technology, in full capacity.  When planning for digital transformation, try to address the strategic maintenance of talent and also take a step to educate your staff on the new transformation and processes.

Ask for the help of professionals 

Eventually, you should involve the consultants, as well as technological resources available. Try to be mindful of impacting and expanding the technological scope. Once you determine where your starting point is in digitalizing your business, engage the services of a professional who has a proven experience and business understanding with user-client interactions. A competent firm or consultant should be able to assess your needs and translate your business goals into something achievable with a time frame and an affordable budget.

The Building Block for Digital Business Transformation

Although digital transformation varies widely based on the organization’s specific challenges and demands, there are a few constants and common frameworks around which all business and technology leaders should be familiar with to successfully lead the digital transformation.

The building block for digital business transformation

Picture 6. The building block for digital business transformation

Customer experience

Organizations are using data from new digital platforms to gain greater insight into their customer’s needs.  Social media channels provide demographic, geographic, and behavioral insights into what their customers like and don’t like. For example, many fast-casual restaurants now utilize online ordering through an online portal or phone app. 

With this, customers can go to a location and pick up their order without speaking to a single employee. This increases sales due to convenience and shorter wait-times in line.

Workforce enablement

Companies are also increasingly enabling workers with digital tools to improve collaboration, which decreases the need to be in the same physical location. For example, Slack, an online collaboration tool, has over 8 million active users as of April 2018. It provides, within an organization, a simple way to create online collaborative groups.

Operational agility

Digitization of process decreases the amount of time and resources needed to maintain operations and ease the decision-making process. For example, most accounting departments have instituted workflows that are digitized. Here, employees are able to easily execute self-service purchase order requests and invoice processing. 

Digital technology integration

Decision-makers can integrate their operations with the automation of data capture and analysis. Digital technology such as IoT sensors can be used in location management systems to track deliveries and can also be used for inventory tracking in warehouses and store locations as well. When partnered with an optimized big data platform, predictive analytics can provide executives with the data they need to make informed decisions.

3 Challenges of Digital Transformation

Embarking on a new upgrade often comes with obstacles and here are some that often arise during digital business transformation.

1. Resistance to change on an organizational level

Carrying out digital transformation in order to drive innovation requires a complete turnaround starting from the fundamental level. Within an organization, there usually arises resistance opposing the disruption of how the company has always been. This form of resistance can often come from your employees who possess many years of experience with the coy. Leading digital transformation requires you to understand this group’s points of view and realign them with the new project.

2. Lack of vision

When your business is only focused on itself or past achievements, it becomes difficult to see the way leading to disruption in the market. For example, rather than plan according to the digital trends with its over 9,000 stores worldwide, Blockbuster failed to see customer demand for streaming services like Netflix.

3. Inability to capitalize on big data

The driving force behind so many decisions is data and it’s quickly becoming a competitive advantage for companies in fast-moving industries. You must be able to effectively gather, clean, structure, serve, and analyze data to take advantage of this. Unfortunately, the complexity of fragmented data and in-demand skills needed to build these systems lead to ineffective data strategies. Some organizations end up having trouble prioritizing the data they need and ultimately focus on the wrong KPIs.

Digital Transformation Age 

In conclusion, digital transformation is a journey with a variety of connected intermediary goals moving towards continuous optimization and automation across business processes. This route needs a clear and planned approach with a roadmap and it has to involve everybody within your organization.

A company that embarks on digital transformation relatively increases its customer loyalty as it provides them with added benefits of digital customer experience. A lot of well-known companies are seen as notable digital transformation examples who impacted various sectors of society. 

By now I’m sure you know what to do having gone through the digital transformation tips with varying steps and considerations on how to lead digital transformation discussed in this guide. So why don’t you get on with it? Make use of the digital transformation strategies mention herein and get your business above your competitors with improved customer experience and ROI.

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The Straightforward Digital Transformation Guide for Beginners was last modified: September 25th, 2019 by student@paldesk.com
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