Technological advances and the overall digital evolution in today’s world largely influence the work of businesses across all industries. Continuous innovation and development help improve business results. Digital transformation helps companies to remove all incompetencies and even give more avenues for growth. Consequently, forward-thinking companies exploit the opportunities presented by digital technology in building their brand, connecting with customers, and enhancing sales models. Moreover, global spending on the digitalization of business practices, data, and products is projected to reach $2.3 billion by 2023. Yet, though business growth remains the top priority for a majority of CEOs, many companies fail to understand the necessary change of existing practices and the importance of embracing digital transformation. With that in mind, let us explain why digital transformation is essential for business growth.
What is digital transformation?
In general, digital transformation refers to the process of integrating technology into all aspects of a business. As a result of this integration, fundamental changes happen in how a company operates and how it delivers value to customers by changing their experiences. Nevertheless, digital transformation can look different for every company because it also requires a more significant change- shift in leadership, innovation, digitalization of operation, and new business models.
Why does digital transformation matter for today’s businesses?
Businesses don’t transform by choice. When they fail to “naturally” evolve, they must change or face collapse. Thus, many take on a digital transformation because it is a survival issue in question. Digital transformation has a profound impact on the way firms enter and compete in the market. It accelerates business activities, processes, and competencies. And in this context, the speed of digitalization has become a business imperative for all companies on the market.
How can companies achieve digital transformation?
Digital transformation is accessible and applicable to all businesses. Used to boost a company’s agility and operational efficiency, digital change of companies means refining processes, engaging talented employees, and encouraging new, profitable business models. Yet, a company that wants to succeed must understand how to merge technology with strategy. Using IT consulting companies can help businesses to understand emerging technologies better and innovate with purpose. Understanding what digital means for your company – regardless of the industry you operate in – is essential.
Digital transformation will vary widely based on the organization’s specific challenges and demands. However, there are a few constants and common themes that all business and technology leaders should consider as they embark on digital transformation. The most common digital transformation elements include customer experience, operational agility, culture and leadership, workforce enablement, and digital technology integration.
What are the advantages of digital transformation for businesses?
Digital transformations can bring multi-faceted benefits to a business. Let us take a closer look at a few of them.
Improves customer experience
Customers are the core and driving force of a business. This interaction between an organization and a customer is vital for the success of one company. For this reason, the main focus of digital transformation is to use innovative technology to improve the customer experience. With introduced digitization processes, data, analytics, and communication become dynamic and collaborative. The information flow is quick and efficient, thus leading to creating more relevant and appealing products for the consumers. Digital transformation also helps businesses to offer more features to their existing customers, thereby increasing the returns.
Creates a space for better information flow, efficiency, and further development
The digital transformation of business prevents the gridlock of data and information between departments, thus eliminating repetitive tasks. That, in return, leads to an increase in the company’s efficiency and reducing specific operating costs. As digital transformation secures streamlined workflows, companies can adjust their operation based on the changing priorities and goals of their business. Reliable automation processes will ensure that the business can grow at an exponential pace along with the technological advancements of the industry. Finally, in a data-driven environment, management is fully capable of anticipating all the possible avenues for improvement and growth.
Improving expertise and skillset of employees
Employees can also benefit from digital transformation. When many manual processes are automated (for example like payrolls), give staff opportunities to do more core business functions. That can only mean that productivity and morale will grow along with the business. Furthermore, new technology will also demand from employees (and companies) to invest time and effort in building specialized skills. The future of digital business will rely on unique skill sets like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data exploration and analytics, machine learning, etc.
Harnessing and using data to make better decisions
A business’s ability to compete in the emerging digital economy will require informed, faster-paced, and forward-looking decisions. The quality of these decisions will primarily depend on the company’s ability to extract useful data and information timely. For this reason, data and analytics must become the centerpiece of every company strategy, focus, and investment. Now, digital transformation enables and facilitates this process. By using the right set of analytical tools, shorter cycle times for analysis, and further automation of data preparation, companies can assemble raw data that can be converted into valuable business insights. Further distilled, these insights can help leaders shape new perspectives on business activity and develop new business models.
Success and growth will come to the businesses that ensure their future is digital. Whether it is marketing, operations, or security, all aspects of running a business are highly benefited with digital transformation. Keep in mind that successful digital transformation relies on people. In order to have maximum impact, this transformation must be built-in the fabric of the company and championed by leadership. Naturally, implementing such complex changes in an organization comes with its assortment of complications. So the best thing for every company will be to have a digital transformation strategy and carry it out in phases.
John Pearson is a serial entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about helping small businesses launch and grow. His work has been featured in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.