From using a self-checkout machine to searching Google for the nearest post office, technology has transformed the way we complete tasks and solve problems. And the same is happening in business.
Replacing entire systems and structures in the office with new technology has become known in IT and business as ‘digital transformation’, marking the transition from being tech literate to tech enabled.
Digital revolution in your business
‘Digital transformation’ isn’t a short-lived trend. MIT have been funding a research centre for digital business since 1999, leading the way for businesses adapting to the digital age.
We understand that implementing radical technological changes to the way you run your company can feel time-consuming, costly and risky. But sticking to your old systems and using new technology in isolation from your wider business processes can actually be far more disruptive and costly in the long run.
Give your clients the time they deserve
‘Digital transformation’ might feel like an alien concept, so let’s take an example that highlights the difference between using new technology and fully integrating it into your business.
Your office needs a new printer so you buy a cheap one with decent specs. Simply looking at the specs, however, ignores the question of total cost of ownership and by ignoring your existing print environment you miss out on the chance to save on toner and paper.
The root of the problem – that printing is an expensive and time-consuming part of managing the office – is what you should be focusing on. A digital transformation might therefore include implementing a managed print service to automate repairs, replacements and ink and paper ordering, freeing you up to focus on the important stuff.
You might also deploy individual key cards to prevent huge printer queues, control staff printing and give you access to costs and usage reports. This would also let you control network access, so that so if you scan an employee’s personal review you can save it straight to the HR folders that others do not see. Now you are thinking holistically and finding a way for technology to take into account the human factor in your problem.
Collaborate to solve problems, learn and improve
Digital transformation can touch all sorts of areas of the business, even easing the growing pains of success. Take this example:
You’ve worked hard to build a talented team who collaborate on projects, bounce ideas off each other and share successes. But a growing workforce means that some suggestions and ideas are going unnoticed. Recording calls and online presentations in Skype for Business keeps everyone in the loop.
Then you might consider a digital transformation and move your projects to an online platform, such as Office 365, with built-in collaboration tools. This keeps everyone in sync and gives them somewhere to share ideas so that the whole team can make the most productive and efficient use of their ideas and skills.
Giving people a choice of communication tools, with instant messaging, voice and video conferencing, corporate social networking (using tools like Yammer) and company intranet sites maximises collaboration and productivity. Technology is building teamwork into everyone’s daily workflow.
Big ideas spring from small problems
‘Digital has massive transformational powers, but we’re lacking the skills and capabilities to make the most of it.’ – Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the civil service, commenting in a report on digital transformation from PwC.
Digital transformations require you to change your mind set. Rather than restricting yourself to the edges, it pushes you to use minor issues as opportunities to address the root of bigger problems.
In turn, this helps you achieve a much better return on your technology investments and opens up new possibilities to develop productivity, resilience and growth. You’ll soon see why digital transformations are at the heart of making modern businesses thrive.