You may have heard the phrase “digital transformation,” and that it’s something you should be considering. It’s most common with larger corporations, but small to mid-size businesses can benefit from digital transformation as well, improving multiple areas of their business. Here we’ll discuss what digital transformation is, how to determine if you should undergo one, and tips for how—all centered around small business.
What is digital transformation?
Simply put, digital transformation is connecting business functions to streamline operations and drive efficiency in all departments and services of the business using technology systems. More specifically, the automation of processes through digital channels. It’s an opportunity for businesses to embrace new systems, improve efficiency and create fundamental change within their organization. For small businesses, especially, digital transformation leads to improved business processes, culture, and customer experience.
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How to determine if your business needs a digital transformation
Before taking the plunge into a digital transformation, first, determine if your business is ready to make the change. Consider the following signs to determine whether this is the right move for your business:
Your company is growing, and you need scalable solutions
If your business is growing quickly and your current technologies and systems are not supporting that growth, you’ll need to implement new approaches. Most companies start out with IT solutions that worked well in the beginning but can’t accommodate the company as it grows. Your company’s software should drive productivity and growth, not hinder it. You’ll need new software and systems that will support scalability today and as the company continues to grow.
Your company is currently using multiple software solutions
Oftentimes, businesses will implement technologies and software that solve one specific problem as the need arises. This results in multiple different systems that don’t integrate. Employees are required to jump back and forth in different systems, slowing down productivity and efficiency. In this instance, it’s easy for important data to be missed or fall through the cracks.
Productivity has decreased
Companies are always looking to maximize efficiencies. If you’re using outdated software, this will have the opposite effect on productivity. When employee productivity is low, so is morale, and your business can’t operate efficiently to accommodate the growth you’re experiencing.
Your company is facing regulatory compliance challenges
Compliance with local, state, and federal regulations is essential for businesses to remain in operation. As you grow, the harder it is to keep up to date with changing laws and regulations. Your outdated technology may hinder you from remaining compliant regarding auditing, data processing, and security.
You are preparing to grow
If you are in the growth planning stage, this is the perfect time to audit your current IT processes and technology software. This allows you to get ahead of the curve and implement the right technologies before you start accelerating growth and are forced to change software and systems.
How to Start Your Digital Transformation
Once you’ve determined if a digital transformation is the right path for your business, the next step is developing a plan and strategy for implementation. Here are some tips to ensure your implementation strategy is effective.
Outline small steps
Too much major change at once will have the opposite effect of what you need. If there are too many changes and new processes introduced at the beginning, it will become too difficult to manage. Start with one or two changes, focusing on where your business will see the greatest return, and begin with implementing and assessing those changes before proceeding with any others.
Strategy before technology
New technology will only work if it supports your overall strategy and goals. The success of digital technologies is less in the technologies themselves, but more so in how companies incorporate those technologies to improve their business and productivity. Having a solid plan and strategy for how you plan to use the technologies before implementing will set you up for a more successful transformation.
Address employee concerns
The right technology will spark digital change, but it will only be successful if the change is supported by employees who are committed to it. According to a study done by Mckinsey, employee resistance is the number one reason digital transformations fail. Resistance to change is especially common in small businesses. It’s in the best interest of your transformation’s success to address employee concerns head on. Make sure your company’s leadership is aligned and enthusiastic about the changes. Communicate with your teams the strategy and plan for the transformation before you begin implementing it. Be sure to train your management and employees in new software and processes. You should also create an open space for employees to provide feedback on the transformation processes regularly.
Work with someone who has done digital transformations before
Another reason many small businesses don’t succeed in their digital transformation is that they are most likely going through it for the first time and aren’t sure how to create a strategy for it. Working with a technology partner will give companies the help and guidance they need to develop an effective strategy and implantation process for their digital transition goals.
Digital transformation is not just for larger corporations. Small to mid-size businesses can benefit from a digital makeover as well. Improving efficiency, company culture, and customer experience are all results of an effective digital transformation strategy. If you’re considering this undertaking and need guidance on the best way to get your team on board, VensureHR offers human resource solutions that can help. Our dedicated team of HR professionals will assist you with the proper employee notifications, training, and more to ensure your transformation is a success internally. Request a call with us to learn more.