What Digital Transformation Means for Your Company (And How to Manage It)
Far from being an industry buzzword, digital transformation has been vital to most businesses and organizations since the start of the pandemic. Companies long resistant to digitizing their client-facing and internal operations have had to adopt many digital technologies and tools or risk going out of business. Even those who had previously embraced digital transformation often explored even more advanced technologies or adopted new ones quicker than planned. For some, digital transformation has not merely been a survival mechanism but also a source of competitive advantage, a doorway to new markets, and a pathway to growth.
Post-pandemic, digital transformation will remain critical, in part because consumers demand to connect with businesses online. The consumer demand for most if not all of their customer experience to be digital had already grown substantially before 2020. And while the pandemic-induced boom in e-commerce is now beginning to recede, experts predict that a larger share of consumers will continue to shop online than did before the pandemic. However, digital transformation is not limited to online distribution and fulfillment. It can span the full range of your operations, and when applied strategically, can be a game-changer.
What is Digital Transformation?
But what exactly is digital transformation anyway? In the early days of its usage, critics and academics pointed to its nebulousness and all-encompassing nature as signs that the phrase was more hype than anything. Indeed, a recent piece in CIO magazine defines it as “a catchall term for describing the implementation of new technologies, talent, and processes to improve business operations and satisfy customers.”
To realize the full potential of the term, you must look at digital transformation strategically in the short and long term. Because digital transformation is not merely tackling specific pain points stemming from manual procedures and processing. Nor is it just about improving organization-wide productivity in the short-term, although doing so is key. And it’s not just about adopting the latest technologies just to say you’ve done so. A brand name information system means little if it’s not capable of, or if your team is not capable of configuring it to move consumers from prospect to customer. And so-called Big Data is worthless if the technology, talent, and processes aren’t in place to transform it into the kind of strategic insights that yield sales and growth.
Realizing the Promise of Digital Transformation
To realize the significant cost savings, new revenue, and market share growth that are the hallmarks of successful digital transformation efforts, you must identify the right technologies to adopt to solve business problems and create new business opportunities today and tomorrow. Doing so doesn’t mean that every single facet of your operation should be digitized all at once -or even at all. Your operations are driven by what the market demands and what your organization will bear.
To determine whether a particular initiative, department, or process is ripe for digital transformation, start by defining the business problem, determine how digital technology may solve it, and consider the additional effects that adoption will have on your organization. Will the new platform help you connect with new consumer segments? Collect insights that lead to a new product? Lay the groundwork for other strategic business initiatives? You must be equal parts business problem-solver and futurist when considering digital transformation projects.
You must help your leadership team realize how the world and their industry are changing and identify the emerging digital and other technologies that allow a business to continue fulfilling its mission and realizing its vision. For example, when considering what AI’s (or another emerging technology’s) business applications may look like three to five years down the road, ask:
- How might AI shape consumer demand? Your industry? What does that mean for your corporate mission and vision?
- To continue to fulfill your mission and vision, how can AI be applied to your products? Production? Marketing? Other operations?
- How is your organization prepared today to adopt new AI technologies as they emerge? What criteria do you have in place for adoption?
- If your organization does not currently use AI and has no plans to adopt it, what needs to be done to convince your leadership of its necessity? What resources will be needed to do so, and what will it take to secure them?
- What IT infrastructure do you have in place, and what needs to be in place for successful adoption?
These are just a few of the kinds of questions that you must ask to achieve the full promise of digital transformation and position your company for future growth.
Managing Digital Transformation Projects
You, like many other CIOs or business leaders, probably lack a lot of time to think through these types of questions, hamstrung by the daily demands of your organization, be they time-consuming IT or administrative tasks, cybersecurity threats, or internal politics. But if you can’t provide the kinds of strategic technology guidance to your organization that propels it forward, who will? And what happens when you’re still buried in vendor and HR meetings while your closest competitor launches an improved e-commerce platform, digital product line, advertising campaign, and online fulfillment strategy that you’re unprepared to match?
You, and your team, need the time and space to be able to evaluate the Big Picture. That means eliminating mundane, time-consuming tasks that swallow your day, especially if you’re working with a lean in-house IT staff complement. By outsourcing fundamental IT functions like helpdesk support to an IT managed services provider (MSP), you can free your time up to immerse yourself in strategic questions and planning. Moreover, you can work with an MSP on the kinds of digital transformation projects that will simplify your in-house IT department’s workload, allowing you to lead organization-wide planning efforts on larger technology projects.
It’s also helpful to have strategic counsel from a trusted group of experts who stay on top of emerging technologies full-time and can help you identify and evaluate the right platforms and tools for your business. An experienced MSP has worked with businesses in various sizes and industries and can offer you guidance and recommendations that your in-house staff often cannot provide.
If you’re considering any digital transformation project, whether moving some or all of your operations to the cloud to implementing remote work solutions, we can help. Providing managed IT services to businesses of all sizes in San Jose and the entire San Francisco Bay Area, V&C Solutions has the experience and resources to help you identify and implement the right set of digital technologies for your business. We can also take over your helpdesk and other critical yet time-consuming functions that keep you from strategic, revenue-driving work. Contact us today, and let’s find the right solutions for your business together.