What is Digital Transformation?
Digital technologies continue to fundamentally change the way we operate our businesses – from the way we acquire leads, through to how we engage and communicate with our customers to how we sell our services and products. To be sustainable in the long-term, businesses these days must consider digital transformation as more of a “must-have” than a “nice-to-have” facet of how they operate. But what is digital transformation? Continue reading to learn more.
If you aren’t sure about the effectiveness of the information technology currently used in your company or if, rather than learning what is digital transformation, you would prefer to jump right in, reach out to us online or call 1300 131 559 and ask us how managed IT can help to improve your business today.
What Does Digital Transformation mean?
Before we consider the role it plays in business, we need to look at what does digital transformation mean in general. As per Wikipedia:
“Digital Transformation is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology.”
That said, according to Harvard Business Review, digital transformation is not (only) about technology. True digital transformation requires an investment not just in the development and implementation of digital technologies, but also a conscious commitment to embracing both the opportunities and the challenges that come with it. In simpler terms, the effectiveness of digital transformation in an organisation will be limited if its owners and staff are reluctant to leverage its benefits or resistant to learning how to use it correctly. Digital transformation, therefore, also requires a reframed digital mindset to be successful.
What is Digital Transformation in Business?
Now that we have covered its general meaning, we can move to considering what is digital transformation in business specifically.
Consider how, since the start of the still ongoing coronavirus pandemic, information technology has changed how we do business, how we engage with our clients and customers, how we provide our services and how we sell our products. The last twelve months saw many retailers shift to e-commerce, in order to bolster and even save their retail stores. Restauranteurs moved to online sales as well, along with online delivery ordering platforms and, after the restrictions eased, all had to adopt new technologies to streamline contract tracing – the now ubiquitous check-in QR codes we all have to use when dining in.
Hence in business, digital transformation is not limited to simply having a website, or social media presence as may have been the case just a few years ago. Beyond engaging with external clients and customers, many business owners were forced to shift towards remote working in order to keep operating during the pandemic. We can expect the percentage of workers permanently working from home to increase even further in 2021 and digital technologies we utilise in our businesses will need to be able to effectively support this “new normal” paradigm.
One example of digital transformation in practice is the use of cloud computing solutions that reduces the reliance on user-owned hardware, by shifting to the adoption of subscription-based cloud and internet services. Consider the following areas of operating a company:
Operations and management processes: from payroll management through day-to-day bookkeeping; invoicing, recording of sales to inventory management; timesheet management, job scheduling, and assigning work to your team. These are only a few examples of business operations that are now handled using specialised cloud-based software by not just large enterprises, but also by small and medium sized businesses in order to streamline their internal processes.
Managing relationships with partners and other external third parties: in retail trade, for example, an increasing number of suppliers offers services like wholesale ordering via internet portals. Retail distributors usually lodge pricing and supply discrepancies and misdeliveries for review and action online. Many bookkeeping and accounting service providers use online portals to help their clients manage staff leave requests and other common financial matters. Government agencies and industry regulators increasingly ask business owners to migrate to digital solutions.
Lead generation and sales of product or services: the rise of e-commerce has significantly changed how goods and services are purchased and ordered, but this paradigm-shift goes well beyond just having an online store. Think for example, about how many restaurants and fast-food outlets now offer some form of online ordering compared to ten or twelve years ago. The rise of ride-sharing apps forced the Taxi industry to adapt and develop their own apps for ride bookings just to stay competitive.
Digital transformation can be difficult and sooner or later you may find yourself forced to go through it just to stay in business. Digitizing your processes to operate more efficiently and create better experiences for customers and employees is essential to your organization’s competitiveness, but it also requires a commitment to the idea and a great deal of technical know-how to be successful. When implemented thoughtfully, however, digitally transforming your business can provide it with more agile, simplified, and cost-effective information technology solutions across the board. Digital transformation is not merely modernization. It is the creation of more robust and more reliable systems, procedures, and processes at your company to provide an excellent customer experience as well as to improve the collaboration and innovation between everyone involved with your organization. Most importantly, it is about giving yourself the competitive advantage that all other digitally transformed businesses already enjoy.
Interested to Learn More?
We hope you enjoyed learning more about what is digital transformation and how its committed adoption can help your business. Digital transformation for business is not a domain of just large corporate organisations, small and medium sized companies just like yours can also benefit from the improvements made available to them through new and emerging technologies. Get in touch with soma technology group online, or call us on 1300 131 559 now, to get started today.