Digital Transformation – The What, Why and How

In an ever-growing digital world, it is important to keep up with the status quo regarding your organisations digital status. Many organisations face the question of am I up to date digitally? What can I do to improve my digital way of working? Most importantly should I digitally transform my business?

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation can be many things, a simple review of where and how you store your data right the way up to a complete digital technology investment which reaches into all areas of a business.

The common theme however is to fundamentally change how you operate and deliver value to customers, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes and automation or replacing older digital solutions with newer digital technology which offers the benefits needed. Commonly also known as the concept of ‘going paperless’ or reaching a ‘digital business maturity’.

Why is it important to digitally transform?

It’s natural for organisations to use the tried and true “if it’s not broken” philosophy – there’s nothing wrong with that. However, the main drivers for transformation are typically: Improving the user experience, customer engagement, be these internal users or external customers

  • Better, more modern ways to achieve the same goals or ambitions
  • Cost and/or infrastructure Reduction
  • Reduce supplier ‘lock-in’
  • Change in company culture

But above all, the most likely reason revolves around the issue of survival. Keeping a business running and current is paramount. A perfect example of this would be the current global pandemic, forcing organisations to adapt quickly to supply chain distributions, time to market pressures, and rapidly changing customer expectations has become critical.

How has COVID-19 effected digital transformation?

The current global pandemic is a prime (and extreme) example of a driver towards a more modern way of working.

  • The vast proportion of organisations that could ask people to work from home did, and continue to do so
  • Organisations not able to do so or not so far along their digital transformation journey rushed to provide remote working to staff and services to their customers

The way we work has changed from the traditional office-first to a remote-first style of working. This has put strains on many aspects of the traditional business IT model be it on premise equipment not able to support the volume of users working remotely, Support staff overwhelmed with requests and queries, HR and Safety teams re-addressing their procedures and more.

How can I get started on digital transformation?

To begin with your digital transformation journey, many organisations begin with culture, adopting a ‘boundary-less’ way of thinking. As with everything business, it starts with your customers and users. As cliché as it sounds, you would not be around if not for your customers, and your staff are key to keeping those customers happy.

Working out how people do things and why is massively important and is often overlooked and over-ruled with the technical aspects. Using technology as an enabler, removing obstacles to communication and information and to allow the desired cultural changes to flourish will open the door for the solutions you need.

Having a strategy for your data is the next most important thing. The sheer amount of data we are collecting as is a challenge every organisation face. Is what do we do with all that data needed, used correctly and positively? How can we analyse it to the benefit of the business? What are the legal requirements of keeping it and why do we need to?

Knowing your user experience, customer enablement and data requirements will form the foundations of the technologies you need to further your digital transformation journey.

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Cover Photo by NASA on Unsplash

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