Every business has its face and identity. It has a unique user selling proposition (USP) and purpose for its business. Onboarding a digital transformation journey is doing the same by giving an online representation to that face, identity and purpose.
As a standard definition, digital transformation is the use of new and modified technologies to solve existing problems in a faster and efficient manner.
It is the shift from manual, analogous to digital to deal with issues and stay relevant in the current dynamic, digital age.
“Integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.”The Enterprises Project
Smartphones, tablets, PCs have become common now. With new changes, the world is now moving to advanced technological innovations like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, IoT, etc.
What is the Purpose of Digital Transformation?
Why should organisations take up the task of transforming their entire business system and operations? Why is it necessary and what can a digital transformation achieve for your business?
The biggest advantage of digital technology is that it makes tasks and activities time efficient and quick.
It makes workflows faster, easier, smoother, and more efficient. Instead of spending time on processing paperwork, automated technology can create workflows and keep track of paperwork.
This allows employees to focus on more pressing matters like analysing data and get involved in important decision-making processes.
Some of the major goals of taking your business to a digital front are-
- improved collaboration across departments
- optimising processes leading to better workflows
- increased efficiency of teams
Moreover, a digitally transformed company can solve customer queries in a much efficient and faster manner as compared to doing it manually. Systems like CRM help businesses manage and track customer relationships automatically. This leads to better customer experience and builds customer loyalty.
Even employees of a large organisation can stay connected through online communication tools. In addition, they can work across cross-functional teams, keep track of who’s responsible for what, and so on. As a result, this will create transparency and sync among employees as well as between organisational hierarchies.
How Do You Start The Digital Transformation Journey?
So, how can you bring about this shift in your organisation to stay relevant and challenge your competitors in the digital age? Here are a few ways-
1. Determine The Kind of Digital Transformation Your Company Needs
Digital means are constantly evolving. What digital means for one company might not be the same for another. Your digital needs will vary according to the kind of industry you have, the problems you need to solve, competitors, diversity in client base, etc.
You will need to audit all the variables that might influence your business and have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve. Therefore, having a clear picture of your requirements and subsequent goals is the first step towards going digital.
A very simple instance will be if you have to manage cross-functional teams. When you have to oversee different teams working towards a common goal, having a Skype group might not be enough. You will need advanced collaboration tools like Trello or Slack to keep track of individuals’ and teams’ progress. Similarly, your company might have a good website, but a social media presence might be what you need to flourish. For this, your digital marketing efforts will vary.
2. Establish Where You Currently Stand and How You Will Go Digital
Once you identify your aspirations and challenges, you will need to start assessing your capabilities. The technological support you already possess, how many employees are skilled in operating the digital processes and so on.
Once you establish your needs and goals, you can devise a strategy about how you will go digital. It can range from using various online tools like project management, communication, cloud storage. It can be redesigning the UI of the website or improving the UX. Or you can take your entire business model online by creating a website; apps by hiring developers, UI/UX specialists and so on.
3. Go Step by Step
As the popular saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Similarly, your digital transformation wouldn’t happen in a day. Be patient and establish a roadmap based on priorities.
Decide on what needs to be tackled first and what are the obstacles that lie in the journey? Once you know that, you can go about figuring out solutions. For example- start by creating a website and listing your business on Google Business. Once the page has been set up and ensures smooth user experience, you can create pages on social media and start getting traffic from there.
4. Acquire Executive Buy-In
Win the trust and confidence of executives and C-level leaders and get them to invest in your transformation journey. Doing this will give your business the financial backing it needs. Supportive executives will be there when you need to make changes in your digital transformation efforts along the way.
This shows that your investors believe in your vision and understand the need for the change that you’re undertaking.
5. Educate All Employees About The Digital Changes
Once you start making changes to your system and operations, chances are, not everyone will have knowledge about technology. A workforce that doesn’t have the right digital guidance and learning will cost you more time and money.
To avoid this, communicate the digital plan, your goals, aspirations, challenges with your team from the get-go. Create a culture of transparency, listen to their grievances, and arrange for formal training of digital operations for all employees.
6. Evaluate The Changes and Optimise Along The Way
Once your digital transformation is set to motion, closely monitor to track the performance of your efforts. For example- you might be getting a high bounce rate because your page’s loading speed is too much. This might be causing users to close the tab. Fix this.
Stay on top of all the different initiatives that you’ve launched and their outcomes. Use analytic tools to get insights, run surveys among employees, and make the necessary changes.
Key Digital Transformation Trends of 2020 To Look Out For
If you’ve got your digital transformation basics covered, here are some new trends that companies are getting behind and leveraging. Even if you’re a new business, you should keep these trends in mind as these will be the next big digital changes.
1. AI and Data to Boost Customer Experience
Every category of products (e-commerce sites, online workflow tools, etc) has a lot of options for customers to choose from. The one thing that separates one company from another is how well they treat their new and existing customers. In the current age, great customer experience can make or break your business.
Therefore, companies are now starting to leverage. Artificial Intelligence and data insights to understand consumer journey- acquisition, loyalty, reselling. AI algorithms can fully understand and record a user’s interaction level with your content. This will enable you to personalise the kind of emails, ads, and posts that you show to them.
2. Conversational AI
To further improve the customer experience, personalisation is a great strategy. Conversational AI ensures a personalised communication with your page visitors through chatbots and messaging apps.
However, in 2020 and the coming years, conversational AI will be able to generate leads and sales for a business. It will be able to acquire leads, follow up with them and also schedule meetings automatically.
3. The Dominance of Data and Analytics
If you keep up with technology trends, you will know that all these automation tools are being used to capture data, i.e user online behaviour and recommend them things they access to on the internet.
But there are three revolutionary changes coming to the field of data collection and analysis.
There’s ‘sentimental analysis’ which can predict the tone of a statement and analyse if it has a positive or negative connotation. This can be greatly used by companies looking to improve their customer relationships based on the feedback they get.
Secondly, there’s ‘real-time analytics’ which analyses how a user is behaving to a particular type of content when they’re interacting with it. Based on the opportunity, businesses can use this to gain leads, increase sales, and also improve customer satisfaction.
Lastly, there’s ‘predictive analysis’ which predicts future behaviours of customers based on past behaviours. This method is being applied to “better understand customers, with the goal of predicting buying behaviours, potential risks, and likely opportunities.” It’s done to analyse how a user is reacting to a campaign they see on social media; if there’s any out of the ordinary behaviour by a customer (often in real-time), and so on.
4. Intelligent Decision Support System
It was believed until very recently that technology can be used only to acquire data and the decision-making process has to be done by humans. In effect, AI is here to help you with your decision-making efforts too.
Intelligent Decision Support System (IDSS) offers insights to decision-makers dealing with a problem based on (if any) previous actions taken, and the results those actions yielded.