Technology has created amazing new opportunities for businesses.

 

The way that we use it to communicate and sell today would have been unthinkable only a few decades ago. However, many businesses are still failing to take advantage of everything that the digital world can do for them. As technology continues to expand into every aspect of our lives and businesses, it is vital to be aware of the opportunities and challenges it presents so that you don’t risk falling behind your competitors.

What is Digital Transformation?

The term digital transformation refers to the process of integrating technology into every area of your business. Most businesses have incorporated technology into some areas. It is now common for businesses to have their own websites and social media accounts. You may also do some online marketing or use email to communicate with your suppliers. However, there could still be some areas where you’re still doing things the traditional way.

The reason why technology is still used in such a haphazard way by many businesses is that they have adopted it gradually and without any overarching strategy. Some people in the company may have been keener than others to make these changes or there might be specific tasks where it was easier to innovate. This can result in other parts of the business being left behind and it can create issues if the new technology isn’t integrating well with the more traditional way of doing things.

Digital transformation requires good planning and management to ensure that technology is being used in the most effective way across all parts of the business. It can take a big shift in thinking in order to get this right, but approximately 1 in 5 businesses don’t have any kind of digital strategy in place. Failing to make the most of technology or to adapt to the fast-changing world that it is creating could have serious effects for your business.

Technology is playing a growing role in all our lives, so your customers will increasingly expect to be interact with you through it. When used correctly, technology can also boost efficiency and cut costs so it can make all the difference in a competitive economy. It is estimated that 40% of spending on technology is now being used for digital transformation so if you’re not thinking about your digital strategy you could quickly get left behind.

Benefits of Digital Transformation for Businesses

Changing your approach to technology and incorporating it across your business can produce dramatic results. A digital transformation can produce much bigger benefits than any individual change in the way you do things. Investing in one new piece of technology can increase efficiency or reduce costs in that area. You can enjoy the same benefits on a bigger scale when you undergo a digital transformation but you will also:

  • Improve coordination across different areas of your business
  • Get more data on your business so that you can identify issues and improvements
  • Ensure that older technology is updated so that you’re doing things more securely and efficiently
  • Keep staff up to date and help develop their skills
  • Be ready to take advantage of new technology as it appears

Benefits of Digital Transformation for Your Customers

One of the main reasons why digital transformation holds such potential for business is the impact that technology can have on the customer experience. The happier your customers are, the more likely they are to stay with you.

Technology can enable you to provide a more personalised service for your customers. You will be able to communicate more quickly and directly with them. Customers will find it easier to reach you, to buy from you, and to provide feedback through their preferred channels. You will also be able to gather more data on your customers so that you can improve your services.

Challenges of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has huge potential for you and your customers but there are some issues that you need to be aware of when you are making such dramatic changes to the way your business uses technology. The digital transformation must be managed correctly in order to avoid these.

  • A major change across all areas of your business can be very disruptive as individual roles, processes or even your organisational structure may be affected
  • Some employees may be wary of new technology or lack skills that will become essential
  • Customers who are less tech savvy could be left behind
  • Technological changes don’t always go smoothly, especially if you lack expertise within your business or you’re taking risks with brand new innovations
  • You will need to keep changing to continue benefiting from the latest technology – digital transformation is an ongoing process, not a one-off event

You will find some tips to help you to make your digital transformation a success in the second part of this post on digital transformation.