Staying competitive in a global market can be extremely challenging no matter how innovative or successful your product portfolio may be at the moment. Due to the introduction of cloud adoption, always-online services, and digital networking among others, businesses across the world face mandatory digitalization.
According to Forbes, 34% of companies have fully implemented a digital-first approach to their customer servicing, while 75% of customers stated that they would likely purchase items and recommend a brand which can offer a personalized digital experience based on their preferences. While digital-first may be a new norm, jumping into digitalization without a clear strategy on what goals and standards to implement can be dangerous.
After all, introducing new technologies and business model elements should come with a beneficial outcome attached to it rather than to cost you precious leads and revenue as a result of ad-hoc digital transformation. With that said, let’s dive into what makes digital transformation such a darling among both small-scale and international businesses alike, as well as how you can write a strategy for your own company’s digital needs going forward.
The Advantages of Digital Transformation
Let’s briefly touch on what digital transformation represents and how you can benefit from it before diving into the minutia of writing your own strategy for it. Digital transformation, as the name suggests, revolves around digitalization of your business processes, customer servicing, data analysis, and other business model elements. In practice, this process can help you introduce new digital software tools for sales, analysis, performance tracking, project management, and other day-to-day activities.
According to Medium, 39% of executives expect to see tangible results of digital transformation in their businesses within 3-5 years, while 15% of global enterprises actively use machine-learning in the form of chatbots and data analysis tools. Bringing your business closer to digitalization and moving away from analogue tools and infrastructure will effectively make your brand more competitive in whichever industry you operate in. This can manifest in a number of important advantages for your business, including but not limited to:
- Higher quality customer experience (CX)
- Improved employee performance and end-product quality
- Improved data collection and management processes
- Growth of industry authority and business reputation
- High return on investment (ROI) once the transformation is in place
Writing a Winning Digital Transformation Strategy
- Set your Digital Transformation Goals
- The first order of business in regards to writing your own digital transformation strategy is to set concrete goals before doing so. What is the current digitalization state of your company and how analogue are your processes? Do you already use dedicated digital tools or platforms to manage your customers, projects and analyze data? The goals you set should include objective, numeric KPIs which can be tracked and fulfilled without fault.
- Using goal-setting techniques such as SMART will allow you to stay realistic and result-oriented in your digital transformation planning. Likewise, dedicated platforms such as Trust My Paper and Evernote can be used to write and edit said goals until you are satisfied with where your company is headed with the digitalization process.
- Assemble your Digital Transformation Project Team
- Whether your company requires complete digital transformation of existing processes or only partial improvements to everyday software and tools, the process should only be handled by a select team of individuals. According to Finances Online, 41% of companies have dedicated digital transformation teams in place, while 30% of them are concerned about their CEO`s level of understanding the process and what it means for the company as a whole.
- With that in mind, your project team should consist of individuals who are familiar with IT, cybersecurity and software management and limited to no more than 4-5 people. The team should be managed by a project lead with the same level of familiarity with digital technologies and IT management to avoid goal misalignment or poor implementation of the transformation process.
- Perform a Company Audit
- Once your project team is outlined and ready to dive into digital transformation, the next item on your list should be to perform a company audit. In short, an audit will allow your project team to determine the current stage of digitalization, which elements are lacking and which departments could present them with potential bottlenecks.
- A company audit should be performed in stages, department after department and the team should make parallels between them to determine their current networking and cross-functional activities. Platforms such as Studicus and Google Docs can be used to outline and write down any findings and data in regards to your company audit as it proceeds. Once you have a clear idea of where things stand as of this moment, the digitalization can proceed without any surprises or unplanned difficulties.
- Adjust your Business Model
- The most challenging part of the digital transformation strategy implementation is the effect it will have on your business model. For example, if your customer servicing activities took place over a landline in the past, future customers should be directed to your website or other online platforms for further assistance. Small yet significant changes such as this will result in changes to your business model going forward.
- Likewise, invoices, contracts, and other business documentation should be managed through dedicated mailing platforms such as MailChimp rather than via analogue postal services in the future. While your product and service portfolio won’t change as a result of digital transformation, the way you manage and organize your customers’ experience with your brand certainly will.
- Introduce Digital to Everyone
- Digital transformation is only as effective as the people who will use it on a daily basis. With that in mind, your project team should ensure that everyone in the company is familiar with the changes to workload management and introduce new tools and software through seminars as time goes by.
- The process of digitalization should be introduced as a net positive and not as a trend which your company will implement for the sake of staying relevant on the market. Make sure that your project team is readily available for coworker feedback, questions and additional explanation in regards to how each digital tool is used correctly. This is especially true for cybersecurity innovations which might have found their way into the digitalization process in hopes of securing your business’ network.
- Monitor, Analyze and Iterate
- Lastly, your digital transformation strategy should always be open-ended in terms of additional digitalization. Make sure to monitor the performance of individual departments, their adjustment to new technologies and the ways in which your employees use new tools and software.
- If a tool proves too challenging or inadequate for your specific needs, you can easily replace it with a more suitable alternative and pick up where you left off. Don’t treat your digital transformation strategy as set-in-stone, since its all about ensuring that your business generates more revenue and raises customers’ satisfaction as a result of its implementation.
Starting the digital transformation process in your company might seem like a waste of precious time and resources at first. While there will certainly be some downtime and confusion in the middle of your digitalization, it’s worth noting that digital tools will make your business more viable and competitive in the long run.
Embrace digital technologies as a transformative new tool readily available for your employees’ benefit rather than a necessary evil dictated by the global market. Once you start using fresh new tools and software to manage day-to-day workload, the ROI will quickly become clearer to everyone in the company.
About the Speaker
Bio: Dorian Martin is a Senior Writer at Best Essay Education and a Content Marketing Specialist at WoWGrade. He has dedicated his professional career to digital content creation and writing which he nurtures and practices on his personal blog, Not Business as Usual. In his spare time, Dorian enjoys walking his dogs and spending time outdoors.