The term “digital transformation” probably sounds a bit intimidating. Like something beyond your capabilities and a drag on your business in trying to undertake it.
So let’s start with a basic definition that’s not quite so off-putting. Digital transformation is simply your efforts to integrate digital technology into all areas of your business. The right mix of digital technology solutions will make your company run smoother and more productively internally, and yield bottom-line, customer-pleasing results.
The High Cost of Not Undertaking Transformation
According to the SMB Group 2017 Small and Medium Business Digital Transformation survey, only 21 percent of companies felt that they had a well-defined digital transformation strategy. Many more were confused or avoiding the issue altogether.
It’s no real surprise that most businesses resist efforts to change because of cost, a lack of understanding of the technology, and the time and hassle involved with the transition.
But consider how comfortable your parents were with typewriters in their businesses. They probably had the same reactions to the thought of the computers and word processing programs that threatened to replace their trusted hardware: too expensive, too confusing, too time-consuming to learn and nothing we can’t do without.
Keep in mind that even after businesses’ early and hefty investments in everything digital, the cost was more than offset by saving on secretaries and file clerks who previously typed, mailed and stored business correspondence. Now consider the competitive cost of simply ignoring new digital tech solutions.
The point is, there’s always a material and labor cost in introducing transformative technology, but it always pays off in many ways.
Why Do It
It’s certainly easier -- at least in the short term -- to try to ignore lightning-quick technological advancements. However, in the back of our minds most of us know how quickly our businesses can lose relevance when we fall behind. Therefore, here are some of the leading reasons to embrace digital transformation despite the challenges.
Your competitors are constantly upgrading. You do everything you can to avoid giving up a competitive advantage. You compete on price, quality, customer service and everything else that matters. Your technology is no different.
Technology is forcing change. Go ahead: try to use the cellphone, the computer terminal or the payment solution that worked just ten years ago. You can’t refuse to evolve and expect to remain relevant in the business world today and tomorrow.
Your employees want to be on the leading edge. At least your younger employees, and that’s who you’re hiring now and in the future. They embrace technology and expect to be with a company that keeps current or even ahead of tech terms.
It improves customer experience. Chances are, your clients or customers don’t know or care about your infrastructure. However, they do know the speed, ease, and accuracy with which they do business with you -- or with your competitors. Leading-edge technology is at the foundation of the service or product mix you provide.
Digital transformation boosts performance. If it doesn’t, there’s something wrong. Because that’s the bottom-line reason to make the changeover. It’s the enhanced performance and productivity that appeals to your employees, controls costs, meets customer demands and keeps your company competitive.
There’s Help Available
Your business might have little or nothing to do with technology (at least on the surface). So your main concern might be not even knowing where -- or how -- to start. That’s why there are professionals skilled in understanding the individual digital needs of companies and industries and implementing solutions that will upgrade internal and external productivity and performance and even boost employee morale.
David Singletary is a software project manager at Wiss & Company LLP with over 20 years’ experience in digital transformation and project management. You can contact him at (973) 577-2927 or at email@example.com.