As a small business owner, you may, or may not, be familiar with the term ‘Digital Transformation’, but in the world of big business and tier one organisations, CIO’s and CTO’s have been pondering this term for a few years now. Board members and shareholders often get excited by the possibilities that are presented as a result of taking on a ‘Digital Transformation’ project.
Actually, digital transformation is not so simple to define, if you ask 100 CIO’s what digital transformation means, you will receive just as many different answers. The reason being, is that for each business, the challenges they face are generally unique to that business; it’s culture, it’s people, it’s customers, it’s products or services, and it’s industry. To some it means digitising internal forms to improve internal processes, to others it could be as diverse as automating and expanding sales channels, as well as empowering customers through online portals.
Other examples include:
· Streamlining your billing to reduce time and errors
· Improving your ability to remain compliant to new regulations
· Updating your inventory management into the 21st century
· Upgrading your spreadsheet of customers to a powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
These often ultimately lead to increasing your bottom line through:
· Reduced operating costs and errors
· Increased productivity with less staff that produce more
· Better business insights through analytics
· Improved customer experience, which then leads to more customers that stay with you longer and spend more.
Digital Transformation is already happening right under your nose in many industries. Think of your local video hire store vs Netflix, taxis vs Uber, and hotels/motels vs Airbnb. We kind of know how those stories go, so I won’t bore you with a long list of others already in the market or about to launch. The wheels are in motion in almost every industry on the planet. For example, a visit to the Sydney Royal Easter Show last year blew my mind with the plethora and versatility of farming robots that have already hit the agricultural sector. This is all digital transformation.
Until recently, most of the tools required to digitally transform businesses have been out of the reach of most small organisations. They generally needed highly specialised niche skills, coupled with expensive software & infrastructure and near crippling ongoing support & maintenance costs. The good news is this has finally changed in your favour. It is now generally well within the budget of many small businesses who recognise the value of investing in the future, and the associated pitfalls of ignoring it.
Many do not realise that with the top end of town investing millions, if not billions, into digital transformation, that strategic deployment of cost-effective technology tools will be essential for small to medium operators to stay alive in the increasingly competitive marketplace.
You might think that if you’re selling something niche or legacy/retro such as VHS tapes and cassette players, you might be safe. In actuality, to reach your target markets and keep up with the levels of customer service that is required these days to maintain happy customers, you’re probably not safe at all. Technology will still be required to stay afloat.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, digital transformation can help reach more customers and build strategic relationships with them, implementing feedback loops so that you’ll know exactly what your customers want and can respond before your competitors do.
We’ve briefly discussed the benefits of streamlining business, but can you imagine your business without the administrative overhead, data entry, and errors associated? Some find this hard to do, I’d like to let you know that it’s no longer a pipe-dream for small businesses. So how would you spend the extra time? Many organisations that have taken the first steps on their digital transformational journey have told us that they spend it on key core business activities and further enhancing customer service.
Is there something in your business that just drives you nuts? Keeps you up at night, or makes your gut sink just by thinking about it after I’ve asked the question? The job that no one at your office likes to do, takes a long time, or even makes people dislike their role? Chances are that we can digitally transform it, automate it, and turn it into a process that no one has to think about ever again.
If some of this has got you thinking, got you excited, has you a little anxious, and it’s not the 5 cups of coffee you’ve had this morning before you smash out that undesirable task we’ve reminded you of - We like that, because our customers are the ones that surprise us with the innovative ways in which they conjure up ideas to revolutionise their businesses. Chat with us, let us know about your business, your awesome journey so far, what might be holding you back, and the ideas you have, and we’ll work together to map out the course from here, so you can enjoy running your business again in 2019.