Digital transformation is becoming necessary for companies to grow and meet their customers’ ever-changing expectations. So, how do you approach a digitization strategy for your business?
What does it mean for a company to be truly digital?
Digitization means applying new technologies and IT solutions in order to streamline workflows and automate activities and procedures, whether they are linked to the production and distribution of products and services, marketing and sales, customer care, administration, accounting or tax document management. In other words, it is about replacing traditional tools with digital ones that work more efficiently for your business.
Digitization also means dematerializing physical tools for communication and sharing information in real time, in a single, connected and collaborative hub, even remotely. Dematerializing relates also to the physical space, which should become an electronic archiving and storage system that represents a gain in efficiency, speed and full control of the flow of data. When digitized, the entire document workflow is entrusted to the automation of software platforms (electronic data interchange or e-invoicing solutions) without the need for manual entries.
Certainly, modern technology is bringing big changes in business as well as in everyday life, and due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for the mainstream adoption of digital tools has increased drastically. It is now a trend from which there is no turning back – if you do not adapt to innovation, you will not be able to maintain your position in your market. The requirements are ambitious: introduce new technologies, implement existing ones, change business models and processes, and embrace a culture of change shared by everyone in the organization.
It might seem a lot, which is why in this article you will find valuable tips for your digital journey, helping you successfully introduce digital transformation into key business processes.
The importance of digital transformation for businesses
Businesses function in an environment of rapidly changing market requirements, and they must keep up with these changes. Adapting your company so that it is prepared to face new challenges gives it an advantage over the competition. Investing in digital business transformation can help your organization operate more efficiently and meet your customers' requirements more promptly.
In this frenetic world, speed equals simplicity, and this has two particular and crucial meanings:
- Speeding up and automating processes that save time and resources
- Working on digitization of processes to improve customer experience
Learning how to use technology is key to being ready to take these steps. Another important element that offers benefits to companies is digital data or big data. Billions of data items are produced every day. Efficiently analyzed and processed, they can provide you with useful information about your target market.
Keys to a successful digitization strategy
While initial confusion about the steps to be taken is understandable, especially for those unfamiliar with digitization, it is unacceptable to adopt a closed attitude. Progress is a natural step, an opportunity for all and not the privilege of a few.
The main reasons for delaying company digitization are old-fashioned thinking or lack of information and knowledge.
All that is necessary to start your business digitization process is to establish clear priorities and goals, proceeding step by step guided by prior analysis of the most urgent problems to be solved and of the new, sustainable short and long-term objectives.
This is the starting point for innovating business models – a strategy that leaves nothing to chance. Strategy is the most important phase that every company should go through. It should be guided by the analytical eye of professionals capable of identifying critical points, establishing urgent aspects and objectives on the basis of KPIs reviewed in the light of new opportunities. From analysis of these parameters it is possible to identify the most suitable software and solutions – chosen after assessing their usefulness and convenience.
Where necessary, it may make sense to seek the advice of external consultants who can understand the specific needs of the company, and on this basis recommend customizable technologies. Basic functions may be required to resolve inefficiencies identified in the analysis phase, or more complex applications developed ad hoc. It is not always necessary to build something from scratch. For instance, many management systems can be integrated with existing ones.
Instead of old infrastructure limited by the capacity of IT systems, it is possible to migrate to server-based applications that can be managed via web browsers, free of hardware. In this way, you can adopt various application solutions and services implemented in the cloud.
A digital transformation journey also leverages the labor force. You need to value your resources and know how to align them with the needs of the digital era. It requires a shift in the way of thinking about your company, and – therefore – building strong data and platform capabilities, bringing new business models in-house and treating technology as an integral part of your company culture.
Remember that external factors are changing all the time, often without giving you time to assimilate the previous ones. Your mindset, as well as the mindset of your business partners and employees, becomes a key tool in finding new perspectives for action even within a changing landscape.
Which industries and processes can benefit from digitization?
All organizations can take advantage of digitization by automating their activities, offering faster and more personalized services, streamlining operations, dematerializing document archives and exploiting new channels of communication.
What might differ between businesses is their road map to becoming a digital company. The road map summarizes priorities and objectives defined in the analysis phase, and is created to monitor the journey to digitization. The high level of technologies customization allows the creation of tailor-made solutions based on processes specific to each company – which is why it is so important to prepare your own road map and set a suitable pace of changes.
What should be the main goals of digital transformation?
Digital transformation is shaped by an evolving digital culture created by all people, inside and outside companies.
One of the main goals of digital transformation is customer satisfaction. A satisfied customer becomes loyal to the brand and contributes to positive promotion. Efficient management of new technologies allows you to respond appropriately to customer demands, attracting an increasing number of people interested in your products.
The use of digital technology allows companies to be more flexible and respond quickly. It can also be a way of increasing your employees’ engagement and motivation. In an optimal situation, where employees feel involved in the company's growth and are able to work better, there is also greater well-being and productivity. Thanks to the tools introduced by digital transformation, employees can do their work more quickly and systematically. Innovative technology also creates opportunities in this field.
A modern, digital company strengthens its position vis-à-vis its competitors and takes a leading position in its business sector. However, there are other important goals that digital transformation sets for companies, such as:
- Cutting bureaucracy and speeding up operations
- Reducing costs, especially those related to file storage and management
- Increasing job security and data protection
Digitization allows you to manage your business faster, eliminate waste and make data far more accessible.
Another interesting aspect is security. We no longer rely on traditional methods of data storage and protection, instead using systems that guarantee the highest level of security for all sensitive and important company data.
Important factors to be considered while choosing solutions for digital business
It is important to choose solutions that fit your specific company’s needs and requirements. Thankfully, the majority of digitization solutions offer a high level of flexibility and customization.
Scalability is also very important, as it allows the capacity and functionalities of digital solutions to be adapted to the current needs of the company. It is unthinkable for a business to remain static in size and productivity over time, which is why it is a good idea to implement solutions that are able to “grow” with your company, making it possible to avoid slowdowns or excessive expenses.
Another fundamental aspect of modern digital solutions is accessibility. In fact, there are numerous devices on which it should be possible to access the platforms or software adopted by the company (PCs, tablets and smartphones). Accessibility is also reflected in the interoperability of solutions, which is the ability to communicate with each other. In this way, communication becomes fluid and work in the company becomes more efficient.
With digital transformation touching every aspect of business, implementing technologies and putting the customer at the center of your business model are key to your company’s future growth.
Therefore, a simple question arises: are you ready to accept the challenge and start transforming your company into a digital one? You can't change everything right away, but what you can do is take the first step.
It might and should begin with data analysis and investigation of the best tools for data exchange processes, as the knowledge you gain by implementing these will allow you to ensure good customer experience. And that is what really matters for you to be competitive, isn’t it?
About the Author
Business Solutions Manager, Comarch