You already know that digital developments are changing everything about the way that businesses operate, from the channels that they use to transact and sell through to the way in which they structure and operate their businesses and engage with stakeholders. But what do you need to know about digital transformation, as one of the most bandied about terms of the current moment?
Does it apply to your business? Absolutely, regardless of industry. Can it bring you powerful gains? Yes – without a doubt. Does it affect your role? Unquestionably to some extent, whether you are a decision-maker or in a front-line delivery role. Let’s find out more.
What exactly is digital transformation?
Also abbreviated to DX, digital transformation involves the strategic integration of digital technologies across the entire organisation, to deliver value from the customer’s perspective. It takes traditional analogue improvements to a new level and requires a fundamental change in the way that businesses operate.
Driven from the top, this is a paradigm shift that creates fresh business models, rather than looking to optimise existing and pre-tech processes. It is exciting and can bring about profound benefits. But as a rapidly-changing, nebulous and challenging driver of modern business, it can also leave decision-makers feeling confused and out of their depth; unwilling to invest in the wrong system and waste money or to change something which is already working well.
Which elements make up digital transformation?
Whether we are talking about digital transformation in retail, manufacturing, engineering, construction or services, this shift is entirely customer-driven and enabled through two elements; data and technology platforms.
Digital platforms allow businesses to find out about their customers in richer and more insightful ways than ever before. They can use social media to gather geographic, demographic and behavioural insights, for example, then use the same channels to communicate, engage and build relationships. Look at chatbots as another example; once a niche service offering and now a standard online perk that customers expect to see.
Changing customer touchpoints
Companies are using a DX mindset to incorporate the latest technologies that can act as strategic drivers to their business. For example, mobile devices enabled with analytics solutions are now used by salespeople in the field, replacing time-consuming and wasteful paper solutions.
Embedded software allows sales staff to rapidly create engaging and tailored presentations for their face-to-face meetings; adding in fresh data and sales messages in real-time, at any point.
In retail, brands are integrating digital in the form of rich e-commerce experiences, which are increasingly smartphone-enabled. In-store digital screens provide guidance, information and options for ordering and collection. In restaurants, phone apps can be used to drive online ordering, with customers going directly to pick-up without needing to queue. The results are clear in all cases; better experiences for customers and more efficient, less wasteful and less costly ways for the business to operate.
By digitising processes within a business, resources and time can be saved, whilst innovation is stimulated. For example, workflow management systems allow self-service of transactions such as PO requests, invoice processing and HR policies. The automation element improves accuracy, speed and record-keeping, flagging up steps in a process automatically so that delays don’t creep in.
Formal back-up of digital documents and signatures assists with regulatory compliance, evidence and business management. Online reporting makes it easier for managers to see how their resources are being used.
Digital methods of collaboration mean that workers from any location can collaborate in real-time without needing to co-locate. From screen sharing to shared document editing, these tools create private online groups that can take their projects forward without delay.
How are businesses taking digital transformation forwards?
Each business approaches their digital transformation strategy in a different way, but most will use consultants or experts to begin the process. It requires a top-down change of thinking and operating at a fundamental level; and a willingness to see digital as something that constantly evolves and which will drive the business forward.
Great communication, early wins, internal-knowledge building and openness to change are key enablers. This is especially important because there will always be fundamental challenges to overcome, such as legacy systems and processes, migration of systems and training. However, by fostering a culture of innovation, enthusiasm, excitement and customer-centric thinking, the business will create a culture that puts digital improvement at its heart.
In securing talent for the latest digital transformation jobs in Manchester, businesses are bringing in strategic hires that catalyse DX across the business, driving cultural change by identifying early wins that create confidence throughout the organisation – and which delight customers.
Whatever your approach to implementing DX – either all-in or through one project at a time – the important thing is to begin now and to tackle the opportunities – before your competitors!
Why not contact us to find out more about digital talent resourcing for your DX strategy, to secure the talent you need.