Updated: Dec 9, 2019
Digital transformation is not just another fad or buzzword. In an increasingly digital world, it will be a crucial process for any business looking to stay competitive in the coming years.
Done well, digital transformation drives efficiency and improves productivity, saving a business both time and money.
Interestingly however, many are still resisting, with research showing just 5% of large enterprises have the infrastructure to be classed as a digital business.
Of those businesses that have attempted digital transformation, some are discovering that success is not as straightforward as it seems.
This is perhaps because although business leaders understand why they need to change, they don’t know what needs to change or how to change it.
What is digital transformation?
Broadly, digital transformation is the use of digital technologies to solve traditional problems.
It involves incorporating technologies such as cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence into all areas of a business. This results in fundamental changes to how it operates and delivers value to customers.
Crucially, it requires developing a culture in which all staff are continually looking to challenge the status quo. Everyone must be prepared to walk away from long-standing processes in favor of relatively new or experimental alternatives.
What are the potential benefits?
The potential benefits of digital transformation are huge for businesses of any size. And while the process will look different for every company, the objectives and outcomes should be the same.
One of the key benefits of digital transformation is improved efficiency. Businesses can use this technology to tackle obstacles that hamper productivity, by streamlining workflows and simplifying processes like manual data entry.
Recent research revealed that UK employees waste 400 million days a year on unnecessary tasks such as excessive admin. Businesses should be looking for ways to reduce the impact that these tasks have on overall output.
Although we have access to more data than ever before, few businesses are capitalizing on this fact. Many lack the tools to collate this data and turn the valuable information into a competitive advantage.
Those with business intelligence technologies in place can gain these insights almost immediately. This allows them to react faster and more accurately than those without.
Why should you let your employees guide your digital transformation?
Often, businesses will attempt to achieve these benefits through complex digital transformation projects that will take years to complete. However, smaller scale projects can be equally, if not more, effective, with more immediate and tangible benefits, and a better ROI.
It is the front-line employees who are most aware of workflows that aren’t functioning properly, and processes that are unnecessarily long and complicated.
They also stand to benefit most from digital transformation, with less time spent on repetitive tasks such as data entry, filing, and reports. Employees can then spend time on more interesting, strategic work. This will not only be of greater use to the business, but also ensure employees become more engaged and enthusiastic.
Engaged employees have been shown to be more likely to go out of their way to help businesses find new ways of innovating. This suggests involving your employees in your digital transformation can lead to a positive cycle. When they feel more valued and inspired, they will contribute to the company’s processes continuous improvement.