Many companies probably sat down in 2019 and talked about that they should be better at digitalization but that it is something that will happen gradually over a few years. All of a sudden, the world turns upside down and companies are forced to take steps towards digitization in just a few months. But what exactly does the concept of digital transformation mean?
Unclear but prioritized
Digital transformation is a popular concept right now. Many people talk about the fact that it is time to digitize their company, and according to a study by TechRepublic, 94% of the surveyed companies say that digital transformation is a priority on the agenda. Many companies also allocate a considerable budget to digitize themselves.
The importance of digital transformation is felt extra in these times, as Corona turns our everyday lives upside down.
Unfortunately, there are different opinions about what digital transformation means. In a study by YouGov, it was found that 54% of those asked did not show what digital transformation was. Some think that this means that customer data is centralized, some think it is if you invest in SaaS, some think it is that you create videos with quick guides and upload to Youtube. In addition, different departments within one and the same company, often have different views on its meaning.
When a term tends to get so many different meanings, the term becomes watered down. How should companies know if they are heading for a digital transformation when it is unclear what it even is?
What is digital transformation?
One of the reasons why it is so difficult to define what digital transformation is can be that it looks very different from company to company. A plumber with 5 employees needs to have a completely different process than if you are a bank with 300 employees.
But in general terms, digital transformation is usually defined by integrating digital technology in all areas of business. This should result in fundamental changes in how the company functions as a whole and how the company delivers value to its customers.
Author Greg Verdino explained digital transformation like this: “Digital transformation closes the gap between what digital customers already expect and what analog companies actually deliver.”
But this statement angles very much towards customers. A single point effort is rarely synonymous with digital transformation; it requires a holistic approach, an umbrella to cover the entire company. Often, cultural changes are required in the company as work processes and approaches change. Digital transformation is not something you put on top, like the litter on the ice cream, but must be part of the core.
Why is digital transformation needed?
In an article in The Guardian, Howard King wrote: “Businesses don’t transform by choice because it is expensive and risky. Businesses go through transformation when they have failed to evolve.”
Keeping up with digital development is not about installing a cool program, it’s about surviving. Consumers expect businesses to be more widely available, not only by phone, but also by chat, email and social media. Customers also expect faster delivery and it should, of course, be easy to pay, via the payment method the customer usually chooses. Customers want companies to know their purchase history if they make contact, because who wants to sit and tell about all the transactions that have taken place before. There should be easily accessible information about the company’s services or products, preferably reviews and pictures. And, of course, customer service should be world-class.
Employees, especially the younger generation, also have high demands on digitalization today. It is difficult for companies to attract new labor if they work in outdated programs and with old structures. Employees want to be able to choose to work from home and redundant tasks should be automated.
How to create a digital transformation?
As mentioned before, it is difficult to give exact answers to this question as it differs greatly between different companies and industries. But it is usually possible to divide it into these parts:
- Digitize the customer experience (Availability, delivery and service)
- Digitizing the organization (Leadership and corporate culture)
- Digitize the product or service (Possibly changed business models)
- Digitizing procedures (Flexibility and digital integration)
Breaking it down into these parts will make it easier to start figuring out what steps your company needs to take to begin its digital transformation. Make a clear plan of what actions you need to make for each heading, but always keep the overall thinking close at hand so that the work does not land in one or a few single point efforts.
Soluno – part of digitalization
We at Soluno provide a cloud-based office phone system that strengthens and digitizes both customer contact and collaboration colleagues among themselves. With addon services and integrations that strengthen telephony, we at Soluno can help your company take a big step towards digital transformation.