Digital Transformation (DX) is probably one of the most shopworn and tiresome terms in the technology industry today. But what does it mean?
Here’s how to make sense of digital transformation (DX) if you’re running a small business. And how to avoid some of the repercussions of the worldwide financial meltdown.
In general, it refers to technology to digitize an organization’s data and processes to improve its efficiency.
On the other hand, DX isn’t just about duplicating an existing process in digital form. It’s all about utilizing digital technologies to improve processes and transform businesses.
While efficiency is a significant benefit, it is not the most important. DX can accelerate time to market, improve customer experience, and boost collaboration and innovation. That is contingent on an organization’s mindset and personnel. As a result, DX necessitates a shift in organizational culture.
Digital transformation is a multibillion-dollar industry.
Everywhere you look, people are flinging ever-increasing amounts of technology solutions to problems in the hopes of boosting revenue and profits. What are the options for a small business?
1. Don’t be alarmed.
Yes, businesses are spending trillions, but they may be squandering a significant portion of that money on large-scale investments that have no business value.
Over half of the companies surveyed (53 percent) said they were not prepared to use new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) or facial recognition that they planned to acquire, according to a recent survey by PointSource (via Information Week).
Because small businesses have fewer resources, making the most of them is critical.
On the other hand, small businesses accounted for 43.5 percent of US GDP in 2014. Every technology vendor is likely to want to tap into this massive customer base, resulting in increasingly affordable solutions.
2. Recognize the importance of the situation and take the initiative from the top.
At one extreme, people view robots and AI as destroying jobs, while at the other, they tout an AI-fueled utopia.
Of course, the reality is likely to be far more complicated.
Your basic, everyday operations — the things your people do regularly — can yield a lot of gold in the business world. You cannot afford to sit on the sidelines simply because you are a small business, regardless of your specific circumstances.
Because technology will not go away, every small business should recognize the importance of DX.
Because digital business transformation necessitates cultural change, it’s critical to enlist the help of business leaders. Those who are successful with DX initiatives lead from the top.
That is to say, these things small business leaders should do to get out of their comfort zones. Indeed, making time for forward-thinking initiatives, being open to risk-taking, and understanding that they can’t go it alone.
3. Come up with a strategy.
Don’t overlook DX’s “transformation” component.
Transformations don’t happen without a plan. Without a strategy, businesses will likely focus solely on operational issues and specific technologies.
Create a strategy around long-term objectives like customer service and talent acquisition. Take the time to jot down your thoughts. This can help leaders avoid succumbing to the hype and wasting money in the name of staying on the cutting edge.
4. Pay attention to the customer’s experience.
If you genuinely want to transform your company, focus on improving customer experience rather than a specific technology.
Small businesses’ most significant differentiator has always been personalized service. It’s even more critical in the digital world.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, a positive customer experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions for 73 percent of those polled. Consumers are willing to pay up to 16% more for products and services that include a positive customer experience.
Small businesses can use DX to interact with customers in various ways. That is to say, including digital marketing via email and SEO, building customer relationships via social media. Consequently, deploying chatbots for better customer service.
You can also automate processes. Moreover, you’ll want your small business to provide a consistent experience to customers at any time (and from any location).
5. Take the first steps as quickly as possible.
Implementing the strategy will take time. However, there are several things that small businesses can do right now.
Marketing automation software, for example, is now available to all businesses through a variety of cloud-based vendors. Many companies provide plans and tiers for businesses of all sizes.
A small business can use these services to analyze customer behavior. Indeed, as well, preferences, and demographics to create a customer profile and provide personalized experiences.
The most important thing is to act quickly. Start small and choose a daily activity that is relatively simple, repetitive, and frequent. Consequently you will achieve a quick win as soon as possible.
6. Be prepared for change.
It’s still a rare skill to visualize and articulate how digital technologies translate into positive business outcomes. Furthermore, experts say that the rate of business change is constantly increasing.
As a result, don’t be surprised if things shift. You can prepare the company by cultivating a culture that values change and refuses to accept the status quo.
“Well, that’s how we’ve always done it” should be a thing of the past in the workplace.
Employees will, without a doubt, require time and resources to reorient themselves and their activities to the new digital strategies. Commit your company to improve employee skills where they are needed.
Digital transformation isn’t going away anytime soon.
Despite having fewer resources than large corporations, more innovative small businesses can reap significant benefits. Focus on the customer experience, start at the top, and expect things to change.
Whatever else you do, don’t overlook the value of moving quickly…or the dangers of waiting too long.