Before Digital Transformation Comes Digital Adoption
Gartner defines Digital Business Transformation as “the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business model.” This is where smart enterprises realize tremendous efficiencies in operational and strategic activities. However, many SMBs will pause when they hear the term “digital business transformation” due to a perception of complexity that is beyond available resources.
That is changing with digital adoption, which is the acceptance and implementation of multiple technologies and tools across the organization and managing them via a single platform, eliminating concerns such as complexity of UI and lack of skills, and improving customer experience in the process.
These tools and technologies include public and private clouds, IoT, hyperconverged infrastructure and data centers, machine learning, big data analytics, and APIs. Companies can determine where the customer is in their journey and tailor products and services at just the time when they need them most.
Cost savings come in the form of moving common practices, which often include manual or paper-based activities, to digital processes. These provide increases in productivity, lessen lead conversion times, and provide relevant, useful and clean data that can be used to make more accurate and timely business decisions. This leads to eventual digital transformation with permanent and wide-ranging implications.
SMBs, however, face unique challenges here. They need the same IT services as larger enterprises in order to compete, but face issues the big businesses don’t have: resources to deal with complexity, lack of in-house skills and expertise, and tight budgets. Add to that the time constraints of both managing the core business and improving it, and pushing transformation out into the future becomes the norm. Let’s see how a rapid and immediate drive towards digital transformation can benefit SMBs that are on their way of growing into full-fledged enterprises.
Simplifying and Shortening Processes
Digital adoption often starts with digitization, which involves turning manual processes into a digital format. This cuts back on paperwork and expedites the process, gaining time and productivity. The use cases and applications for creating digital processes is almost infinite, and often ends up costing much less soon after implementation.
Online and interactive processes are intuitive and faster. They limit errors and increase the accuracy and volume of data that is available to the company. For example, forms such as work orders, shipping data, and sales calls can be linked among applications and processes, with information moving automatically to the next destination point on the customer journey. This significantly shortens time to completion and eliminates rework. Imagine a sales or service request that never has to be sent back for more information or corrections!
A move towards digital processes connects business goals with the technologies being used. This does away with staff’s lack of understanding about how the process matters to the organization. More importantly, it helps align the purpose of the organization by creating and adaptive culture that puts strategy before structure.
Niel Nickolaisen, CTO at O. C. Tanner Co., put it more clearly: “Given the pace of change in IT, it seems logical to me that creating an adaptive culture – one that is willing to constantly reinvent itself – is the only way to keep pace in such a dynamic marketplace.” He developed the decision framework model, using which SMBs can ensure that IT resources are always focused where they will deliver the most business value: