What is digital transformation and why does it matter to me?
Digital transformation is simply put, the integration of digital technology into all areas of your business, changing the way you operate and deliver value to your customers.
It also requires a cultural shift, requiring your business to challenge the way it looks at technology and experiment with new approaches.
But you may be thinking ‘I’m a small business, why does this apply to me?’ – well regardless of your business size, the growth of consumers connecting and engaging with brands digitally hasn’t stopped.
Consumers are expecting the businesses they engage with to be available to them online at all times. In fact, due to COVID-19 restrictions on face to face interactions this digital expectation accelerated. So sooner or later your consumer’s behaviour will change, and you need to be ready to meet their new expectations.
So how do I begin?
Below we’ve listed 6 steps businesses of all sizes need to consider when looking at managing digital transformation from financial implications to getting technology partners involved to help you through the process.
1). Understand your budget and tasks
Knowing how much budget you need often requires an understanding of how many solutions and processes there are in your business. If you have lots of processes that need updating, you will require longer timescales and typically a larger budget. Usually smaller businesses have less processes so can complete the transformation in a smaller amount of time with less budget.
Regardless of your size, it’s vital you understand which processes are the most important to integrate digitally and have a guideline for judging their success, before you even begin.
2). Get the right people
Having an individual (or a team of individuals) who can drive change and build enthusiasm is vital. Unlike larger businesses who can just hire or bring someone in, many smaller businesses don’t have this luxury.
If you or someone in your team are leading this initiative make sure you have a strong understanding of the process and the reasons why you’re doing it and you will need to be the beacon of hope, amongst all the pessimism that often comes up with change-based projects.
3). Get external support
Taking on consultants may be too costly for most businesses (especially in the current economic climate) but it’s important your business has a firm roadmap that drives value from your transformation strategy. You’ll still need to find the right technology vendors that will help you deliver against that strategy and can make the difference between a success and failure.
As a small business make sure you find vendors that recognise the important of customer-centricity and share your values.
4). Understand your industry and business model
When looking at technology partners, try to see if they’ve worked in your industry before and have a full understanding of your vertical and business model. Looking at case studies of successful companies in your sector who have gone through a digital transformation process can help act as a guidelines when picking a vendor to work with.
5). Focus on the customer
Make sure you’re considering how you’re engaging with the customer at every level of the process and how you can gain more information about the customer to help you make better decisions for their needs. Finding a vendor that supports you with accessing greater data-driven insights, such as loyalty programmes will help you to best connect with your customers.
6). Future proof your process
Look to integrate processes that allow you to evaluate and make the most of the data coming in to get insights on how your future customer may be thinking and where they’re going. Machine learning (ML) algorithms can help turn your insights into personalised experiences and help your business prepare for the future.
One final learning… focus on the WHY
Throughout the whole of your digital transformation process make sure you have the ‘why’ in-mind. Digital transformation will help ensure that small and medium sized businesses can continue to deliver value for your customer while supporting their changing behaviours and needs in this current climate. Digital transformation starts with the right strategy, but success comes from driving that strategy through the whole process.