Digital transformation is indeed a big and important matter for all kinds of business models and we are going to approach it in this article. But first things first. You need to understand the difference between digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation since these three concepts are usually confused.
- 1 Definition of digital transformation
- 2 What can a digital transformation mean for your business?
- 3 Tips for having a successful digital transformation
To help you understand this, we have gathered the different definitions of these terms:
- Digitization is the process of changing analogue for digital, for example, when a company decides to document its data in computers instead of using paper and ink. It has nothing to do with how they manage that data and only refers to their change from doing it analogically to digitally.
- Digitalization is using that digital data to make the company’s lives easier. In this case, there is no change in how they work or in their processes, but a significant improvement in speed and efficiency since the data is more accessible and easier to find.
- Digital transformation is adding value to the company and user experience thanks to the previous (digitalization).
Now that this is all clear, let’s dig a bit deeper into the concept of digital transformation, shall we?
Definition of digital transformation
Digital transformation is putting people first in every area of the business and any kind of business model. By integrating the benefits of technology in every area of a business and any kind of business model it’s possible to generate fundamental changes in all the business processes that would affect how the company thinks about and engages with the customers and employees.
That being said, it is a challenge for every company that decides to do it since we are talking about a total change in the company’s culture.
In the digital transformation saying “we have always done things like this” is over and it is time to experiment more, get comfortable with failing sometimes, learn much more, and get one or more of these benefits:
- Improving customer experience.
- Increasing the productivity and/or supply chains.
- Reducing friction within the company.
- Improving the profitability.
- Creating a better employee experience.
You could have all the technology in the world for your business, but there is a fundamental non-technologic ingredient for a successful digital transformation to happen: the business mindset. So understanding what digital means for your business and defining an adequate digital transformation strategy is vital.
For example: instead of asking how could we use technology to go faster by doing the same? start asking yourself how can I adapt my business to make the most of the technology?
And now that we’ve got a clear view of what a digital transformation is, it’s time to answer the question…
What can a digital transformation mean for your business?
There are all kinds of digital transformation initiatives that can be implemented and the benefits of doing it are multiple, but let’s see some examples to emphasize that idea.
Improving customer experience
In the heart of digital transformation, you will find the customer experience. As we mentioned before, one of its goals is to put people first and, in this case, it is usually centered on finding innovative and new ways to make the customer experience easier, more engaging, and more enjoyable.
Some of the digital transformation trends in this area are using live chats, social media, or developing an app to strengthen the customer experience and approach in a new and more social way the customer service.
Also, digital transformation will improve the whole customer experience, something that is more and more expected these days (by customers and search engines like Google).
Using digital tools makes your work easier, faster, and more efficient. It’s true that first, you’ll need to invest in technology, but using it will help you to create and improve your workflows, make more informed decisions, minimize waste of time and talent and have access to different predictions that could save you a lot of effort and money.
Making better decisions
Nowadays, thanks to tools like artificial intelligence or machine learning, decisions can be made in a much more accurate and informed way. With the help of these insights, it is possible to get the most out of all the data that surrounds a company and obtain valuable knowledge from it.
Encouraging collaboration and teamwork
When you have the right mindset in a company, and you make communication fast and approachable thanks to digital tools, collaborating as a team becomes much easier and fun. And let’s face it, a happy and united team is always more efficient.
Reducing margins of errors
Automating processes reduces a lot of time-consuming and stress for your employees, which results in a reduction of possible errors.
Tips for having a successful digital transformation
Digital transformation takes time and must be done with control, knowledge, and care. So, before you start considering it, take into consideration these final tips:
1. Make sure it applies at all levels of your business
As we mentioned before, digital transformation is a total change in a business’s culture. It is based on cross-departmental collaboration, which empowers employees at all levels of the company and replaces the classical hierarchies.
So for this process to be successful you must make sure everyone involved is correctly informed by knowing exactly what will happen, how it affects their job, and what is expected of them.
2. Take care of cybersecurity
Shifting to remote work will make your company more vulnerable to cyberattacks, so don’t neglect your company’s cybersecurity and ramp up your security plans.
3. Don’t be afraid to experiment
A digital transformation is a big step so remember you will fail and it is ok. Some of the biggest companies in the world failed too, it was their perseverance that led them to success. So go out there, experiment, fail and try again.
4. Consider your own needs
Even though every other company has decided to use a determined software, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should too. Always take into consideration your business’s needs and make sure that all the investment you make in digital transformation is accurate and redeemable.
5. Go slow and be patient
Don’t pretend to have everything implemented in a week. A digital transformation is a slow and long-term process, so take things easy and let the real changes come out “organically”.