In making the move to a digital-first environment, decision-makers need to be aware that it’s more than a matter of being knowledgeable about technology. Likewise, it’s not as simple as providing new-fangled tech for your employees. Rather, digital transformation is an all-encompassing process wherein the final result, ideally, is an organisation that makes quick, informed decisions and solutions, as well as better meet customer needs.
Done properly, digital transformation fosters growth, boosts productivity and can benefit your organisation’s profits. With the help of industry experts, we’ll discuss what you can do to transition into a digital environment more efficient, as well as demonstrating some of the benefits businesses see from the process.
The steps towards digital transformation: a short primer
- Define your changes
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to digital transformation; the use of technology affects every company differently. Before you begin the process, you’ll have to define where change is needed the most, which tends to be these crucial areas of your organisation: customer engagement, digital products and services, operational performance and preparing for disruptive new business models.
By doing this, you’ll have a clearer view of the opportunities and threats each area might have, and so where you should focus your attention and investment. Likewise, consider how you use your current technology? How is data used and what are the gaps in its competencies? From here, you can see how digital technology could help your business.
- Set out an action plan and timescale
Once you’ve identified the areas that need work, setting up a plan for acquiring and implementing the solution is essential. Include key milestones for progress and the steps you’ll need your business to take in order to maximise the technology or data’s potential. It’s a good idea to include contingency planning in case of issues, while short-term targets ensure everyone stays motivated throughout.
Adding a timescale to the project will help add clarity to the plan, encouraging further buy-in from stakeholders, decision-makers and influential team members.
- Get employee buy-in
Peer-led change is often implemented quickest, so it’s important to get management on-board. They’ll be required to understand the action plan, as well as the need for change, before leading the way in technology adoption. Look towards influential employees across your organisation who believe strongly in the idea of transformation to champion the cause on your behalf.
- Sustain the change
The change you’re seeking should be at the core of the business. If it isn’t, you run the risk of slipping back into old ways. Encourage the transformation of your organisation by embedding processes into your work culture, by allowing your employees the chance to come up with ideas for innovation. Alternatively, create a structured process where a dedicated team creates suggestions, and seek to develop the more promising ones alongside management.
Consider rewarding those who promote change or celebrate meeting the milestones mentioned in your action plan. Creating a process rewarding improvement through success and suggestions is key to ensuring it’s sustained.
Why businesses go digital: case studies
Digital transformation can effectively stimulate changing marketplaces. Modernised processes and workflows go hand-in-hand with increased consumer demand and reflect a culture of innovation that’s part of any modern, forward-thinking organisation.
For example, James Woodall, chief technology officer (CTO) at Intoware has seen the company transform some of their duties through the use of mobile devices, tablets and voice-controlled handheld devices. The upside of this, James notes, is “that data can be captured and shared in real-time”, recording detailed metadata as part of a provable audit trail.
“Not only is the data more granular,” James says, “but digitalised processes can be infinitely customised and adapted. Need to document a check with a photo or video of a setting or reading? No problem”. As a result, all of this information is tracked, logged and stored so it automatically creates a historical bank of information. The improved processes allow for improved consistency and transparency, especially with regards to quality control. Now, faults and defects can be spotted and acted on in a speedier manner, with reduced turn-around and minimised costs to boot.
James also claims an improved efficiency as another benefit. “We have seen examples where even savings of a few minutes per person per day can quickly scale across an enterprise to become multiple millions of dollars against the bottom line. However, amidst the technology and developments, James concedes that the improvements would not have been possible without a team of dedicated people working to capture data. “Without that basic, fundamental human step, the value and insight it can deliver are lost before you can even begin.”
Elsewhere, Paul Bean, deputy managing director at leading national landscaping contractor, Nurture Landscapes noted the continued benefits of digital transformation after employing the use of mobile data capture app WorkMobile. As a result, Paul has seen a streamlining of processes that’s saved them a significant amount of resources through reducing the time spent on filing and data entry.
“Before this, we were heavily reliant on paper-based systems,” Paul notes “but the sheer volume of paperwork, the time to complete and circulate it, along with its filing and storage was having a detrimental effect on our productivity.”
WorkMobile means Paul and his team can build and adapt forms in-house and quickly retrieve information, allowing for speedy reactions to changes in the business environment at a moment’s notice. The collection and analysis of data, along with full-site audits and risk assessments all come at the click of a button. Just one example of how digital transformation can effectively streamline your business’ operations, and reduce current costs.
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