How to drive digital transformation in your business
By Lyndon Marescia, Managing Director of Adinga.
The term digital transformation has increased in popularity over the last 5 years and is being used quite loosely. The reality is that we are living in disruptive times where businesses are being shaped by their ability to adapt whilst maintaining flexibility in their operations. To effectively adapt your business and succeed in these disruptive markets, focus needs to be placed on understanding the forces driving these disruptions and changes.
A fundamental force driving these changes is the rate of technological innovation. In the last decade, we have seen exponential growth in the rate of technological advancements. This is due to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology which enables software to adapt and learn new information constantly. The rapid advancements in technology have provided an opportunity for enterprises of all sizes to improve and in some cases totally change the way they do business.
As a specialist in business solutions, I am often asked for advice and guidance on where to begin and how to successfully implement a digital transformation strategy.
It starts with the mindset
Integrating digital resources into your business operations requires decision-makers to take a long-term view of the business. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having an open mindset and being able to acknowledge that there is always room for improvement.
To effectively drive change, business owners and decision-makers require the courage to unbiasedly evaluate their existing processes and be willing to completely change the way they do business. This will make it easier to identify areas that can be enhanced through the implementation of digital tools and resources.
It is also critical to note that digitising your existing operations does not mean you need to remove staff from your business. It is quite the opposite as technology should be seen as an enabler of human interactions, which would allow your team to repurpose and upskill themselves. In my experience, organisations which focus on upskilling and repurposing their teams can diversify and innovate their offerings, which helps drive organisational growth. The key outcomes here are smooth, simple, and seamless...enhancing people and technology interaction.
The focus should be on adjusting your perspective to upscaling and looking at how you can add value to manage the overall flow and maintain communication channels between the internal stakeholders within a business and their customer.
One step at a time
Once you have adjusted your mindset, it becomes easier to identify the bottlenecks in your processes and allows you to highlight which processes are critical to your business success.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking a developmental approach in your digital transformation journey. You highlight one or two critical processes that you believe can be enhanced and start there.
You can begin by breaking down the identified processes and enhancing a singular aspect of the process. This will allow you to better understand the positive impact that enhancement has had on your process and overall operations, whilst allowing your team to buy into the idea of changing the way they currently work.
I advise clients to continuously review how best they can maximise the use of their existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. One of the simplest ways to enhance your existing system is to begin by moving your system to the cloud. This in no ways means that you throw away your existing on-premises system and replace it with a cloud solution. It also does not mean that you should try moving all aspects of your business onto the cloud. Start your cloud journey today.
Once your critical processes have been enhanced, you should review and select one or two applications being used in that process and begin by moving those applications on to the cloud. This will create a hybrid cloud system which can be as effective. A move to the cloud should be considered as a maturity pathway for your business and should be implemented methodically for maximum results.
In my experience, I have come to understand that challenges are part of life. We face them in all aspects of our life, with the key being how we approach these challenges.
When beginning your journey towards digital transformation, the first challenge you are likely to face is resistance to change from within your organisation. This does not have to be a huge obstacle, and can easily be remedied through clear and concise communication between internal stakeholders. I have noticed that staff are less likely to resist change if they have a clear understanding of why change needs to occur and a precise guide on how the change is to be implemented.
Another challenge organisations face when adopting a digital transformation strategy is an increased perception of risk surrounding their data and systems, as you no longer have total control. Hybrid-cloud systems and true cloud systems place your data on external servers which are managed and maintained by your service providers. These risks can be managed and reduced through a careful selection of your service provider. Factors such as sever locations, data risk management policies and other factors should be considered.
A simple an effective way to manage the risks and challenges your business may face on this journey is through an ongoing review of existing processes and ERP system, keeping abreast with the latest trends in the market and through competitor analysis. This will enable you to constantly improve the way your business is run and allow you to seek out any hidden opportunities from within your business.
As business leaders and decision makers, we have a responsibility to the organisation and our teams to ensure that we are always acting in the best interest of the organisation. It is important to always improve and enhance your offerings to ensure you remain relevant in the market. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is through the digital transformation of your existing processes and business operations.
Ensuring the business is always well-positioned for growth and has the tools and resources necessary to drive growth. My final advice to all entrepreneurs and organisational leaders is to start small and start your journey today.
For more information on how to drive digital transformation through your business: Contact us today!