Optimizing your internal processes is always a good idea. This has always been a key objective for companies who are looking to become more competitive. Using the power of the internet, organizations have been able to enhance old ways of working and eliminate redundancies.
In today’s fast-paced world, every major company has a digital interface with its clientele. Every modern order-placement process that is slick and seamless started as a manual, paper-based process. This is the digital transformation in action.
The game-changer has been the internet-enabled technologies, with their powerful capability to create change. George Westerman, MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy says, “When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar”.
Digital transformation explained
Digital transformation is defined as the application of digital tools to change how an organization operates for the better. This usually means different things for each business. Whatever the meaning, digital transformation requires total alignment from all parts of the business. Scott Young, CEO of PennComp, an IT support Houston company says,
“For successful risk management, there must be full integration between enterprise management and overall business strategy”.
If there is acceptance of the requirement for digital transformation, there is a good chance that digital transformation programs will succeed.
Here are some of the main objectives of digital transformation:
1. To improve processes
Every business runs through an organized series of repeated processes. These might be commonly related to inventory, production, marketing, or accounting. Digital transformation allows existing competencies to be enhanced to improve processes. This simply means using digital tools to produce better or to market better.
With continuous improvement, operating models get better and the positive results filter through to the organization. Process improvement can reach any part of the business. The advantage of digital transformation initiatives is that they can target selected parts of the business, or they can target the entire enterprise.
2. To optimize internal collaboration
If a digital transformation project is ambitious enough, it can touch the whole enterprise and encourage better internal collaboration. Common examples are company intranets being used to improve enterprise-wide communication. This way, discussions can take place among workers on teams who would otherwise have had no contact.
Another way of looking at internal collaboration is how departments within businesses cooperate to close a major project. Speaking of team collaboration in a digital project space, Scott Young, CEO of PennComp, an IT services Houston company says, “The CTO…will often work alongside the sales and marketing heads to gain insight into what needs to be done on a technical level to improve performance”.
3. To get a competitive advantage
As many of the important wins of digital transformation are process improvement and enhanced efficiency, it stands that businesses that do this well will reap the rewards. They will create and increase their competitive advantage over rivals. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon says, There is no alternative to digital transformation. Visionary companies will carve out new strategic options for themselves — those that don’t adapt will fail”.
4. Cost reduction
Every business wants to reduce costs. Since the earliest days of industrial activity, where manual processes were replaced by mechanized processes, cost reduction has been the difference between business survival and failure. Today, powerful AI performs boring, repeatable tasks and removes heads from businesses to save costs.
5. To increase efficiency
Greater efficiency is the downstream result of many improved processes. By harnessing the unmatched power of modern digital technology, workflows can become faster, slicker, and more repeatable. Employees spend less time on basic tasks so they can concentrate on research, development, and innovation.
Consumers enjoy increased efficiency in their dealings with businesses. Customer tools like extranets, portals, and order placement systems can begin to add true value when they are optimized to fulfil client requirements.
6. Create new business models
Digital transformation can open up new business models. Improvements in technology mean that old ways of working can be overtaken and discarded very quickly. All businesses fear being disrupted, and disruption is mostly driven by digital technology.
When old iterations of technology are replaced, the signature of digital technology is all over the change. Think of the music industry and the changes it has undergone. Ownership of vinyls and CDs was replaced by ownership of the device which housed the music, in the form of the iPod. Today, music is streamed by subscription services such as Spotify. These major industrial changes have all been driven by technology.
7. Improve employee performance
Digital transformation can create a work environment where employees can improve productivity in their everyday lives.
In the age of remote work, enterprise collaboration tools are a great example of this. Enterprise conferencing and communication tools can reduce waste and increase productivity. When these tools are used to their maximum, the productivity improvements are almost unmeasurable.
8. Become more agile
In a fast-moving world, businesses that are agile perform best. Rigid and bureaucratic organizations can no longer dictate to customers. Nowadays, even the largest companies have to adapt to trends and engage with their customer base.
Digital technologies enable businesses to become connected yet flexible. Decision-making time is drastically reduced, and learning cycles are quicker.
9. Comply with data security requirements
Data security is a major concern of businesses today, and rightly so. With so many traditional tools and implements now having a digital interface, security and risk management becomes paramount as almost anything can be hacked.
As we enter the IoT era, security will be the major buzzword. Digital transformation in this sense is not a negotiable requirement, but a must-have. Whatever your digital transformation project, your organization must not remain alone with its manual and outdated processes and expect to compete in a digital marketplace.
Digital transformation is a powerful and essential journey that many businesses must embark on. But its benefits are not felt easily. Organizations need strategies and tools that will support their objectives.
Digital transformation is an important way to realize improved collaboration, flexibility, efficiency, and productivity. The rewards will be many and they will be felt all over your organization.
Author’s Bio: Scott Young, is the president of PennComp LLC, an IT Outsourcing Houston company. Being a CPA, Six Sigma Master Blackbelt, Change Management Certified and Myers Briggs Qualified, Scott’s expertise is reflected in PennComp as a leading IT company for computer services and network integration. PennComp utilizes Six Sigma methodologies and practices in their service delivery and offers state-of-the-art monitoring and management tools to their clients.