Digitization is one of the most important business trends of recent years, but how exactly can digital transformation improve your business?
If you’ve been running a business anywhere in the world over the last few years, you’ll have undoubtedly heard multiple references to digital transformation. You may already have begun to digitize aspects of your enterprise.
Digital transformation means taking advantage of the capabilities offered by a range of new and exciting digital technologies. They have the potential to radically change how you plan and execute your business structures and strategies. The potential impact of these new technologies is hard to overstate – hence the use of terms such as ‘the fourth industrial revolution’ and ‘industry 4.0’.
Of course, industries have always embraced new technology, and the needs of corporations are probably second only to those of the military in terms of the innovation they have inspired.
Digital transformation is about much more than merely technology or disruption – although it involves a great deal of both. A key factor is the human element: digital transformation is not intended to replace people. Rather, it involves giving them new ways to connect with each other, and with smart devices. It offers new ways to collaborate and extract value from business data and offer better user and customer experiences.
Ultimately, digital transformation is about empowering the people in your organization to work smarter and enabling your business to exploit previously inaccessible opportunities. Let’s look at how digital transformation can benefit your business.
1 – Business at the Speed of Thought
Digital business is faster – you can take and act on decisions more rapidly than competitors who have failed to digitize. With all your business data at your fingertips, you’ll be able to make informed assessments based on trends and predictions founded on hard facts. Very few businesses have too little data, but not using the data you have means you are effectively stumbling around in the dark.
2 – Collaboration
Digital transformation helps break down barriers between departments within your business. It is the perfect antidote to the ‘silo’ mentality found in many (especially larger companies). By giving everyone access to the same data and digital tools, it empowers colleagues to share ideas and ask questions. It fosters innovation and multi-disciplinary team building. When you digitize your business, you’ll find that the best ideas can – and do – come from anywhere within your organization. You’ll also be able to integrate every aspect of your operations, from supply chain to social media.
3 – Upskilling
If you have a multi-generational workforce, you may well find that there is a ‘digital knowledge gap’ between older people (often in decision-making roles) and younger, digital natives. This is can cause internal issues, as the people responsible for devising and driving strategies may well not have nearly the same grasp of digitization as the more junior employees tasked with implementing these strategies. As well as facilitating inter-generational dialogue and idea-sharing, digital transformation is the ideal opportunity to upskill your entire team.
4 – Improved Customer Service
Digital transformation gives you a much better handle on your data, including data information on customer buying history, preferences and opinions. This lets you craft a more compelling narrative in your advertising – and target your marketing much more precisely. You can also use the analytical power of software packages and algorithms to predict trends on both a macro- and micro- (i.e. more personalized) level. When you digitize your business, you’ll find that you know what your customers want even before they do.
5 – Cost-savings
As you inculcate a digital mindset throughout your business, you’ll benefit from not just a cultural shift, but savings achieved through greater efficiencies. While there are of course upfront costs associated with any new technology or software, the benefits will be seen almost immediately. In addition, digital transformation makes companies more agile and able to outsmart their rivals. Ultimately, digital transformation is about making your business not just profitable, but sustainable.