The need for digital transformation is clear. The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) is underway, and companies that capitalise will have a better chance of surviving in the digital world.
By 2025, technology will be one of the essential top ten skills necessary in any workplace, as identified by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Digital transformation will bring many other skills on the WEF list, including analytical thinking and innovation, complex problem-solving, and critical thinking and analysis.
With time running out, how should companies be approaching digital transformation?
It’s easier than expected.
At its most basic, digital transformation is about putting your existing technology to work to serve business imperatives like increasing efficiency and improving customer experiences. For instance, there is a wealth of raw data stored in your computers and networks that would enable you to interpret customer histories better, if harnessed with simple data analytics. Better customer insight means better, more proactive service and a better ability to secure and affirm their loyalty.
At its most sophisticated, digital transformation tools include robotics, artificial intelligence, big data, people analytics, the ‘everything’ cloud, cybersecurity, and customer experience and user interface tools. It can sound overwhelming and expensive, but the idea is to free your people from repetitive and high-volume tasks, streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve your ranking within your industry.
The most important advice to heed is that digital transformation is the vehicle necessary to achieve the company’s goals. As with introducing anything new into a business, the business’s needs must be the driving force. Going back to basics and focusing on the fundamentals is a useful exercise in these circumstances; what is your business’s purpose, what makes it different, and what does success looks like for you?
Once you’re clear about where you want your business to go, you’ll devise a strategy with desired outcomes to guide your digitisation choices. Now you can start planning.
There is a lot to learn, but there is no need for non-IT staff to become tech experts. One of the advantages of digital transformation is that most of its elements provide information or a picture of the business that everyone on the team can relate to meaning the entire staff can come along on the journey.
Modernising any business will require some staff to reskill; always a much cheaper and more favourable approach than retrenching and recruiting. People analytics is one of the digital transformation tools available to assess who needs transformation, and how in your new-look, tech-forward business.
See digitisation for what it is: a powerful catalyst to improve your business. For you, this may mean a renewed focus on customers. A simple digitisation tool like data analytics – analysing the data that already exists in your company – can define who and where they are and clarify what they want. This information helps you address customers in a precise and intuitive way to win their appreciation and loyalty.
If you’re unsure of your next steps, there’s value in getting assistance from a consultant to help with the reimagining of success. They could assist in choosing and implementing the tools and technologies you need to achieve your potential.
Digital transformation is not here to complicate your business but to simplify and enhance it. It should put you in close touch with the character and ethos of your company and brand/s, and enable you to offer your customers products, deals and attitudes to help them choose you over a competitor. It should always be about integrating new technologies into your business, not imposing them.
By Visagan Naidoo, Head of Business Advisory at Mindworx