Digital transformation is at the core of businesses of all sizes today. Driven by technologies that are revolutionizing the way we live and work, digital transformation is paramount for any business that wants to maintain a competitive advantage.
Knowing how to get started with digital transformation can be a daunting challenge for small businesses. However, the opportunities are high for those that make the leap and the risks are great for those that choose not to.
Defining Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is the deliberate change made in order to leverage new technologies to change business models, practices and the way work is done. The outcomes include more customer-centric products and services, more efficient operations, reduced costs and better differentiation from the competition.
Rapid advances in digital technologies are driving the accelerated pace of innovation. Artificial intelligence, automation, the Internet of Things, Big Data, cloud computing, augmented reality, blockchain, 3D printing, and data analytics are the core of this suite of disruptive and rapidly evolving technologies.
While leaders of small- and medium-sized businesses recognize the need and importance of developing a digital transformation strategy, many find their organizations ill-equipped to start. According to the SMB Group’s 2019 SMB Digital Transformation Study, more than 80 percent of surveyed executives believe:
- Using new technology is key to company growth and survival
- Technology changes are reshaping industries, workplaces, company cultures, business models and business practices
However, the same study reveals that only 19 percent of respondents strongly agree that their organizations do not yet have a well-defined digital transformation strategy.
Fundamental Elements of Digital Transformation
Before embarking on digital transformation, an organization must prepare by having the right foundational elements in place, including:
- Digital culture, where data, insights, and knowledge are shared broadly and readily within an open governance framework
- Knowledge digitization, which takes tacit and explicit knowledge alike and allows it to be personalized and transferred readily to employees
- Capability mindset, in which continuous improvement is the mindset of employees and workgroups at every level and talent is optimized
- Decision-making that changes, allowing employees to focus on complex and abstract questions while automation, Big Data and artificial intelligence resolve simpler queries
- Workforce performance that emphasizes positive assessments that align with the continuous improvement mindset
- Change leadership competencies that are expected at each level and seen as a form of intellectual property that contributes to a competitive edge
Getting Started on Digital Transformation
What steps does your organization need to take to excel at digital transformation? Consider the following;
- Change does not need to happen immediately. You cannot tackle everything at once and do not need to know all the transformation components at the start.
- Conduct a cost analysis to understand the real impact of not starting with digital transformation.
- Understand how your business environment, including the competitive landscape, consumer expectations, and labor market, are evolving.
- Prioritize the top one or two things you need to do to sustain and grow your business.
- Seek input from all areas of your business, including employees at multiple levels, supply chain partners and customers. Communicate with these collaborators regularly.
- Assess your technology stack to make sure it is capable of supporting your digital transformation.
At Primary Support Systems, we provide advisory services, small business computer support, and customized technology solutions to propel your digital transformation, To learn more, schedule your free consultation.