Research into the State of Digital Business Transformation by IDG indicates that almost 90% of businesses share a common feature: they either have a digital-first strategy in place or plan to have one. Small business owners are always on the lookout for cost-effective ways to improve their business and this trend is not to be ignored.
We live in an age of digital technology and it is not as difficult as you might think to swiftly make changes that bring about a digital transformation for your business.
The what and the why of digital transformation for business
Business collaboration app Slack defines digital transformation as “the integration of digital tools and processes to achieve business goals strategically”. This is accurate, but you need to think about digital transformation in a holistic sense as opposed to simply adding a few new tools. To achieve the best outcomes, your entire mindset must shift to a digital-first approach.
Today, your customers consume their favourite films and music, shop for groceries and even make appointments online. This is where the buyers are, and your business needs to be discoverable. By connecting with your buyers online you can market to them and, crucially, collect data on them that enables you to understand their needs better and enhance your platform’s user experience.
Small-medium business is perfectly poised to succeed through digital transformation. A larger enterprise may already have hundreds of employees and countless processes, meaning change will take longer to trickle down. With a smaller team, your business is more agile, able to swiftly pivot into a new process. That agility means a smaller budget and resource pool doesn’t have to be an obstacle.
Where does digital transformation begin?
Before you can begin implementing a digital transformation, you need to ascertain which projects are most important to your business and which deliver the best return on investment. Consider the following questions:
1. Where are there missed opportunities to learn from customers and offer them better support?
2. Which of the company’s 5-year goals could be supported by upgrading tech?
3. Which back-office processes are taking up the most employee time?
The answers to these questions provide a good foundation for the beginning of your digital transformation.
Digital strategy – ideas and tools that can have a swift impact
Once you’ve identified the priorities for your digital transformation, you’re ready to determine and implement tools and processes that help your business thrive. Consider the following ideas:
1. Improve your website
Visa conducted a digital transformation survey in which more than 80% of participants stated that a user-friendly website increases their motivation to shop with a business. Your website must be built with your customers in mind. They need to know what your business is about, and it needs to be easy for them to navigate. Support their experience to make it easy for them to see how your products or services can be purchased online. A website that delivers a great user experience will help you build a loyal customer base.
2. Use automation to streamline your back office
Identify the administrative tasks that your employees repeat frequently. Could it be possible to automate those tasks or make them more efficient? For example, billing and invoicing can be automated using up-to-date CRM and accounting software that eliminates financial errors. Alternatively, automated email platforms can generate reports about customer engagement with your campaigns. These are small upgrades that can make a big difference to your and your employees’ time.
3. Develop a quality app
A digital transformation is about more than digitising processes. It can also include making your product digital. If your business is service-based, a high-quality app could be extremely helpful for your clients. Apps that provide valuable knowledge or help people track their personal goals are hugely popular and easier to create than you might think. Do you run a yoga studio? Have an app developed that enables customers to track their morning routines, meditations and time spent practising yoga. Consider the needs of your clients/customers and provide a platform that enables them to access your product in their own time.
4. Make yourself more available
Chatbots are becoming a powerful way to help customers find answers to questions when they visit a website. Customers often have simple questions like opening times and pricing – these can easily be answered with the help of chatbots. This way, you don’t need to have a fully-staffed customer service department. A live chat option can also be helpful, whereby you offer a skeleton crew for your customers to access support outside of regular hours.
A collaborative workplace
When companies undergo digital transformation, they all do so in their own way. The one common factor is that they almost always come away with improved company cohesion and a more collaborative environment.
Everyone in the company is provided with more tools to work together. In turn, this enables them to deliver an improved customer service experience and increase their own productivity. It also builds trust amongst your employees through greater transparency across the workplace – something that nurtures positive working relationships that benefit the business as a whole.
With a successful digital transformation, your employees will feel significantly more engaged and satisfied with their jobs. This is always good for productivity and staff retention.
Now that you have a solid foundation in what digital transformation is all about, it’s time to start thinking about your business. Where could digital transformation help – examine the ways technology could make a positive impact on your organisation in Jersey.
As captain of the ship, maintain a firm focus on your business goals. Try to foster a culture of collaboration and learning together as you implement changes to the way business processes are managed. By applying the principles of digital transformation to the right areas of your business, your company will become more efficient and effective. These are both crucial qualities to thriving and succeeding in any industry.