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If you have attended even a single technology event in the last three years or so, then you have surely heard of digital transformation.
As with most technology trends, digital transformation is a (truly!) vague concept. But in this case, this lack of definition is utterly justifiable. So, what is it we’re referring to when talking about the digital transformation of a company? The easy answer would be that digital transformation is all about optimizing business operations (i.e. increasing performance) through the use of technology.
But, one might very well wonder: Isn’t this precisely what we have all been doing with technology for so many years now? Yes, this is indeed what we have been doing but there is a small difference. Up until now, we were trying to use technology in order to address more “concrete”, specific issues. We have been avoiding extending this approach to broader business operations, the way a business is actually run or to corporate strategies and philosophy (or we were just unable to do so). We have been using technology, for example, to back up files and data easily and securely, but till recently technology was not what first came to mind when someone considered redesigning a product or changing their customer service and approach. Clearly, technology is always involved in some way, but until now it was not used to provide solutions in certain areas (and we all know how collaboration is affected when not all departments are in sync!).
Today though, technology has invaded every aspect, from customer experience to customer involvement in product development and issues related to UX, UI, etc. In other words, technology is now part of all business operations, as every single process is being automated.
And this is exactly the biggest obstacle towards the successful digital transformation of any business: the fact that digital transformation affects everything, penetrating the entire range of operations. So, how can you make sure that you’ll start off on the right foot? The following simple tips will make all the difference:
- Don’t waste any time! You need to start planning your company’s digital transformation as soon as you have finished reading this article, because a digitally transformed business is many times more efficient and productive (and errors are greatly reduced as well). To achieve this, and ensure that your employees are all onboard (which is rather crucial), start with a simple process -something frustrating that most of your people have to deal with almost every day- and turn it all… digital. Cloud and mobile solutions are your best friends.
- Document all your processes and start by admitting that nothing needs to remain as is! Everything can be automated. Everything can be digitized. It just needs to be documented and properly analyzed.
- Move everything to the cloud! Offering access from any device, any location, any time is all you need to win people over.
- Think mobile first! And be warned, mobile-optimized will not cut it anymore, as it is already… yesterday’s news! Thinking mobile first means that whenever you design something new, you’re using the display resolution of your iPhone, rather than that of your desktop or laptop. It is that simple.
- Involve your customers! Open up your business, listen to what they have to say and come up with a solution based on their feedback.
- Similarly, make a point of involving your employees as well. Not as end-users, but as equal parties. Ask them what they need and offer them the right solution.
- Collect data, making sure to use the best possible layout. What cannot be measured, cannot be managed either. This is not only true for sales data, but for all data in general – events, campaigns, suppliers, and so on.
- Don’t let your data… rest. Appoint people in charge of data processing and analysis, and start making decisions based on the available information.
- Be extrovert! If you have a success or launch something new based on your digital transformation, make sure to communicate it loud and clear! Show your customers -and the world- that you care about every little detail and take the right action!
- Finally, never stop measuring and improving each and every single one of your processes. What works today may not work equally well in 2 years, and if there is no assessment system in place, you will not be able to identify these changes or their impact.