At present, the digital transformation of companies is a necessity, however, it is not an easy process to carry out or that everyone understands perfectly.
There is much ignorance and some other myths about it, they revolve mainly around the meaning of this concept and what are the procedures to carry it out.
In part, this issue is also affected by this fear of change that is often in place in many organizations. For this reason, companies that continue to carry out old or almost obsolete work processes are frequent.
However, the advantages of the digitization of our processes are enormous, especially in terms of the competitiveness of our business.
What is and what benefits does your Digital Transformation have?
In current times, and as things happen today, you can not understand the real meaning of what a business is if you do not previously talk about Transformation of Business in the Digital Age.
Globalization, as well as rapid technological evolution, have led many of these companies to lag behind and fail to keep pace.
Some managers are very aware of this and have already started their digitization process. Others, on the other hand, try to just keep a blog updated or open profiles on social networks, thinking that with that is enough to be up to date in a 2.0 world.
In spite of these efforts, most Spanish SMEs do not just find the right path to not be left behind.
The reasons for this are very varied. They range from the pure no-nothing of everything that is “digital” to the simple lack of budget.
Among these reasons, of course, it is not absent the lack of professionalism of the people who lead the actions of marketing and digital communication in companies, something that – unfortunately – results in the absence of positive results in their actions.
This is something called labor intrusion, and you’re sure to know more about a case, right?
In addition to all of the above, it is clear that the lack of understanding of this concept is probably the main reason why companies do not start with this process. In this post, therefore, we will try to delimit this concept and see how we can benefit from it.
What is Digital Transformation?
For starters, there is nothing better than being honest.
And is that, very habitually and more than you believe, is associated with Digital Transformation with something pure and complex related to technology, or not?
It should be clarified, however, that this process is much more than that.
Definition: Digital Transformation is the process by which companies reorganize their work methods and strategies, to obtain more benefits thanks to the implementation of new technologies.
Through it, it is basically tried to apply digital innovations to the search and the use of opportunities that were not previously included.
With it we look for business opportunities in a more global world:
- Automate processes.
- Minimize costs.
- Maximize efficiency.
What should we take into account in a process of Digital Transformation?
The Digital Transformation is a disruptive process, but its implementation must be personalized and adapted to the rhythm of each company, in order to be able to take on changes.
As we will see in this post, this metamorphosis affects all departments of the company, including the management.
Its implementation, in turn, must be gradual so that all the members of the organization can assimilate their implications.
Digitizing a business, such as yours, does not have to be traumatic. It is often explained, reductively, as a process that puts the entire organization chart and the set of internal procedures upside down.
Thus, many companies located in Spain are losing ground in the race with others in which the digitization is already a fact.
And they lose ground, above all, when it comes to dynamics with their customers.
This happens because the users (people like you and me) and we take for granted the existence of the digital to solve our doubts or satisfy our needs.
So if you are reading me and you are somehow responsible for some department of an SME, ask yourself the following question:
Is your company prepared to reach your customers through digital media?
If your answer has been “no”, I recommend you get to work as soon as possible.
To help you with this, I will then share with you 6 keys that you must keep in mind to start the process.
#1. Digital training for employees
Talking about people as one of the key aspects for a company’s Digital Transformation is very common in the specialized literature.
It is obvious that if the people involved do not do their part to build and participate actively in a project (whatever), it will not come to fruition, it does not matter if we talk about digitization or to form a neighbors association.
What some of these articles forget is that, to achieve the involvement of a person, it must be previously formed.
And now tell me, how many people do you know who have been actively involved in a task without having first understood it?
That is why I will insist on something: to get employees to patch in the direction we are looking for, they have to understand what this change entails.
And not only that: they also need to know what benefits they will get in their professional career, as well as assess how it will affect their personal lives.
In order for employees to participate actively in this process of Digital Transformation of the company, they must be trained in order to understand its transcendence.
They must know, among other things, what is going to be done, when, with whom and … how it will affect them daily.
#2. Knowledge of digital tools
When I talk to SMEs about Digital Transformation, many of them do not understand what it is.
It is common to think that with a new website and with being present on LinkedIn and Facebook is more than enough.
However, it is important that they know that there are other important processes in the company that are part of this technological advance that they want to carry out.
Of course, having a Social Media Marketing Plan is one of those key pieces in the strategy to apply, but so is (for example) having an ERP in the cloud.
One is, also, with companies reticent to use applications that already exist in Internet and that they were created especially for them.
In my opinion, for example, Trello is an ideal application for teamwork, although there is more than one company that refuses to take hold of it. I used in Singapore while I was leading a team of 10 people and it worked very well.
These are, plain and simple, tools that are waiting to be used by an entrepreneur, a micropyme or some cheeky customer.
It is very common that companies have reluctance to exit their own software. That is why it is very important to show that this opposition means an increase of costs (in system updates) and that the lack of investment in something new can leave them out of play in the medium term.
That is why I always recommend having an open mind to hiring external digital services that help achieve the goals set by the company.
#3. Brand Awareness
In the global economy in which we live, being a recognized brand and backed by a good digital reputation opens doors to new business opportunities.
Aspiring to be a “Top of Mind” brand in your industry involves a lot of work, and one that is not seen, but it also means a lot of possibilities to sell more.
Being the first brand that your client thinks is not created overnight: needs planning and presence where your client is. And digital conversation and social engagement are the basic pillars to achieve this.
#4. Be innovative
Any company or organization that is in the process of Digital Transformation or that has already passed through it must know the importance that the disruptive innovation has to create a business model that provides an extra dose of value to the consumer.
That is why, dedicating efforts and resources to R & D & i make your brand different from the rest.
Any invention or novelty that entails reducing costs or increasing profits can make you the focus of your sector.
Now ask yourself:
When was the last time you brought something different and exclusive to your customers?
#5. Using Big Data
Big Data is one of the star elements in the Digital Transformation of a company.
The organization and exploration of the data that your company possesses gives you the possibility of focusing your business towards that demand on which you have obtained information.
Maybe now you are thinking if your company has (or does not) a good database.
And let me tell you that if your company is not new, yes. You have it. But, look at the clients you have had in recent years:
- What has been the most demanded product or service?
- What has been the variant of that best selling product that you have had to manufacture?
And in our sector, Digital Marketing:
- What are the biggest doubts that you have raised your customers?
- What is the most difficult for you to understand?
From the answers to those questions you will get your starting point for Big Data to help you move towards your business goals.
# 6. Commitment of the management team
You do not have to remind yourself that, as a manager of a company, you are the example of what you want your team to do.
For a Digital Transformation process to succeed, the first to be digitized must be the board of directors.
Your involvement in it must be evident, be seen by all.
It is not necessary for a manager to lead the Digital Transformation, but it is that he is actively part of it.
Managers are responsible for fostering a culture of change and transmitting this disruptive moment as something exciting and positive for the entire organization chart.
Its position must be to facilitate all the changes that this process has.
They are simply the mirrors in which you see the digitization in your company.
Advantages of Digital Transformation
We all know very well that the speed at which consumers digitize is higher than that of companies. We check it from both places:
- When we are customers
- When we sell
That’s why a digitally transformed organization gets benefits that the traditional business model does not have.
But … what are those benefits? Let’s see them.
#1. Improved communication with customers
The Digital Transformation of a company puts it at the same level of digitalization as its clients. This allows the organization to use the same channels of communication, facilitating the understanding between both parties.
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#2. Access to new business opportunities
Digitization brings business structures closer to markets that they did not have access to through traditional business models.
Thus, new doors open to trade in a global world, where the ease of dealing with a customer does not depend on the kilometers that separate the interlocutors.
#3. Extends the life of the company
Adaptation to the environment is part of any living being. Whoever does it best lives; who does not, is extinguished.
New technologies are increasingly being implemented in more and more organizations. Software updates follow each other, and your systems need to be able to speak the same language as your customers and collaborators.
Outside of your environment, the procedures are developed and require social, cultural and entrepreneurial advances and, if you want to participate in that dance, you have to know how to keep the rhythm.
The Digital Transformation of your company allows you to be up to date on what happens outside, does not leave you out of date and favors business continuity.
#4. Reduce costs
The optimization of internal processes in all departments generates time, design, materials, transportation and, in general, all the variables involved in the execution of tasks.
All this makes the sale of your product or service is carried out more easily and quickly.
#5. Facilitates the recruitment of qualified personnel
Currently, the most trained employees are digitally trained. They understand perfectly the technological world in which they run the business.
If you are able to offer a company that puts at your disposal the possibility of applying their knowledge and skills, no doubt they will want to go with you. If you do not, you run the risk of becoming obsolete and without skilled labor.
# 6. Happy employees
Not only new additions have to be content to work with you. Continuing training for your current employees will make them feel safe and motivated, as they will also realize that digitization will bring improvements to their jobs.
When this happens, their attitude changes: they yield more and have more time to perform work in which the quality of the result is more important than the fact of doing it.
All this translates, for them, into pure motivation. And for you, as an entrepreneur or department manager, increasing production.
Difficulties in implementing a Digital Transformation process
So far we have seen the benefits that you have at your fingertips just by saying “yes” to the digitization of your company, but (as we have seen) is a disruptive change, and therefore you will run into difficulties at the time of make it happen.
But I say disruptive, not traumatic.
There is a false myth that projects Digitization almost like a crucifixion. However, if the people involved are formed and informed appropriately, living this transformation can be motivating and exciting.
Let’s see now what are some of the big obstacles you can encounter during the process.
► The lack of information to the people on the process that begins and its consequences
This means working with something that is not understood, or with which one works to dislike. It can, even worse, create uncertainty about the continuity of jobs.
► Choosing an unsuitable leader for the process
Think well who will lead the important moment that you are about to live. Find someone who meets the requirements to lead the Digital Transformation of the company.
And remember that it must also be formed.
► Digitized suppliers: counting on them affects the whole chain of collaborators.
Your partners must adapt to the suitability of the entire chain. Explain the benefits they get and invite them to join.
Okay, but … how does Digital Transformation apply?
The Digital Transformation of companies has to be prepared to understand that one of its most important functions (but the most) is to give answers to its customers, and these demand that the technology is at their service and that facilitates their working life and staff.
In my view, there is 1 areas in which business digitization already responds to consumer demands:
Social Selling is the digital evolution of the sales department.
With it you use the social networks to approach your customers in a non-invasive way. Commercials, thus, avoid the unpleasant “cold door” and take the time to cultivate contacts in a digital way.
Goodbye to both traveling with cars and airplanes, and hello to savings in time and money.
To close …
At this point, and after this brief analysis, the advantages of being digitally updated are evident, regardless of the resistance that can be aroused.
There is something that is a fact: what is not understood is not perceived as useful. And what is not useful, is simply abandoned. Hence the importance of transmitting the message in an appropriate way to all the actors involved.
For my part, I do not want to say goodbye without transmitting these concerns:
How do you see the future of digitalisation in Spain and USA?
Do you think your company is prepared for Digital Transformation?