What can Digital Transformation do for Businesses?

Digital Transformation offers many benefits for small and medium businesses but how do you prepare for it?

With competition between small and medium businesses becoming stronger every day, companies need to look for opportunities to innovate and increase customer value. Digital transformation must be considered key to such plans today but it can mean a major upheaval for you and your staff. How do you implement such a major change whilst managing your day-to-day business?

It takes commitment to make such companywide changes; investments in time, proof of concepts using new technology, company-wide cultural resistance to change and budget constraints to name a few and all play their part in ensuring the success or failure of any such initiative.

But like all new ideas you need to know where to start.

The trick is to understand the top priorities for the business and your staff as their buy-in is fundamental to the success of the initiative.

Step 1: Identifying Top Priorities

Outline your goals and objectives. This shouldn’t just be a list of desired targets or results, it should also be an opportunity to review the day-to-day work practices to identify areas for improvement which will benefit clients and users.

Consider the following examples:

  • Making a workflow more efficient
  • Meeting a customer need more effectively and more quickly
  • Reducing manual workloads
  • Offering remote capabilities for staff and clients
  • Improving customer insights

These are common goals for businesses looking into digital transformation although every company will need to adapt them to better align with their organisational strategy and business goals.

Step 2: Identifying Technology to Support Your Goals

Once you have your list of prioritized goals, you can work to achieve each one in a logical step by step fashion.Before going much further, you need to  consider if any off-the-shelf solutions can help you achieve your goal or if you’ll need a custom-built application to fully achieve them.

There are pros and cons to both approaches; Off-the-shelf applications tend to be less expensive initially but may cost more in the long term, highly focused on a single business problem, and backed by social proof. However they  often mean that you will need multiple solutions to solve all your problems and need to adapt your processes to match their model.

Custom-built solutions can align with your exact goals, are scalable, and provide ownership over the final solution, but they may initially appear to cost more and take longer to deploy.

Digging into the differences between the two options can take some time and research, which we can help you with if you need some help. Contact us to learn more.

Be sure to choose a path forward that works best for you, bearing in mind the speed of deployment, cost, management requirements, and ultimately, the  goal you wish to achieve. It’s important to get these decisions right because if you put in significant time and budget without meeting the goal you set in the first place, you will be sorely disappointed.

You may also be considering a shift from on-premise infrastructure to a cloud based solution to support this move which would require a change to your IT budgets over and above the software solution.

Low-Code Considerations

Small businesses often kick off digital transformation by building solutions on low-code platforms like FileMaker. Easily customized with an experienced development team, FileMaker comes with built-in features that address many core business workflows and processes. It also allows for rapid prototyping of strategic new business processes and systems that can be deployed at scale.

For example, how dependent is your business on Microsoft Excel? We see many businesses who rely on Excel to manage various core functions, like database management, task assignments, visual project workflows, and in-depth data analysis. But as the business grows, it can be constrained by Excel’s basic features and an inability to scale, which can be frustrating when you know operations can be improved with a better tool.

Low-code solutions mean that your staff do not need any real coding skills to manage the finished business solution. You can build a bespoke solution with an experienced partner, and then manage it in house with just a bit of training. Learn more about low-code solutions for your company.

Step 3: Creating a Culture of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation involves many different stakeholders and requires teams to collaborate from across your company. It’s important to get buy-in from both departmental managers and team members to encourage the adoption of the new tools and excitement for future solutions. Without this buy-in, the project is likely to fail. We would encourage you to start with smaller, singular goals that can be quickly achieved as a team. Working toward a large, all-encompassing objective from day one can be frustrating with a perceived lack of progress, as results may not be seen for some time. Quick wins encourage staff and energise the process.

We’d also recommend that once the goal is defined, keep it in focus as it’s easy to discover new possibilities for improvement when undertaking the process and it can be easy to get distracted. Make a note of the new idea for the future and focus on what you need to achieve today.

Remember to keep your staff engaged in the process as not only will it maintain their buy-in, their insights will also help to define more potential solutions and their benefits to both staff and the company.

Step 4: Implementation

Implementing the digital transformation solution  into your business can seem like a massive task initially, but bear in mind that digital transformation is about more than just changing technologies. It is about how you use technology, and what steps you take to adopt the new practices into your business.

In the end, it’s about making your business more competitive and more efficient, with more control and more visibility.

Compass Data can help you build a bespoke software solution specific to your business needs and goals, one that works for you and your team to provide efficiencies, cost savings and increased customer satisfaction.

 

Contact our team to start your digital transformation journey.

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