Digital transformation is the 2021 buzzword of the Information Technology industry.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more businesses than ever have been forced to embrace new digital technologies. From businesses who need their employees to access their documents from home, to schools who have had to implement new digital infrastructures to ensure their staff and pupils can access vital learning materials.
But according to a recent study from IBM, of 310 Chief Information Officers surveyed across the UK and US, a staggering 60% said their IT modernisation programme was not ready for the future, whilst 95% stated that they wanted to adopt some form of cloud computing strategy in the near future.
So with all this talk of digital transformation and modernisation, what is a business’s digital transformation, and how can your business best adapt to the digital wave sweeping across the globe?
What is Digital Transformation?
Put simply, digital transformation is the process of adopting digital practices instead of manual practices wherever possible. An example of a digital transformation would be “going paperless”, where paperwork that requires manually filling out and filing is replaced instead by a word processor, and a digital office suite.
Ultimately, digital transformation solutions are designed to enhance and streamline a business’s processes. This could be in a number of different ways, such as:
- Through accessibility: Sharing based solutions like cloud storage allow employees to quickly and easily access vital information from anywhere, instead of having to flick through filing cabinets or wait until they are at the office.
- Through creativity: By having a digital infrastructure in place that utilises big data, employees can analyse and then use the information on a much wider scale to brainstorm creative problem-solving processes and ideas that could potentially place the business ahead of its competitors
- Through efficiency: Whereas manual processes would have infringed on an employees time, i.e writing out by hand, finding the correct folder, cabinet, filing in alphabetical order, digital processes of creation and storage – such as a digital office suite and cloud computing – significantly reduce the time spent on a task. This means employees are more efficient, and more time in the day can be dedicated to other business areas.
Digital transformation may sound complex on its own, but it doesn’t have to be. By identifying areas for digital process implementation, businesses can potentially save themselves both time and money. So how can your business prepare for digital transformation?
How to Prepare Your Business for Digital Transformation
Just as every business is different, so is every business’s digital transformation, so there is no general step-by-step guide. Instead there are vital points on the journey that must be considered, and we’ve listed them below.
Identify your most important areas
Before starting with a process of digital transformation, it’s important to first identify the necessary areas you wish to streamline and why. It’s important to know what the end goal of the digital process will be, whether that’s improved accessibility, efficiency, or money-saving, and how it will aid your employees.
The last thing you want to do is invest in technologies that are either an unnecessary expense or that work out detrimental to your business processes. A digital transformation should help your business achieve its goals, not hinder them, so ensure you’re identifying technologies that align with the results you have in mind.
Choose your technologies
There are three significant technologies that are used in processes of digital transformation. They are:
- Big Data: Big Data relates to transforming large quantities of unorganised data into smaller, more organised and understandable sets of data. These broken down data sets can then be analysed and used as actionable insights that form the basis of new businesses processes, or even products and services.
- Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is the introduction of on-demand virtual data storage, application usage and networking through the internet. Utilising the cloud saves businesses physical storage space, and makes both data and applications accessible and operational from anywhere.
- Internet of Things (IoT): The Internet of Things provides operational support through the usage of SMART technologies – objects that connect to and exchange data through the internet – such as security solutions like on-demand security cameras, as well as efficient utility meters for water and electricity.
There is no limitation on the technologies that you can choose to implement – whether you are focusing on just one or all three. It’s just important to know how the technology you invest in will align with which area of digital transformation you are pursuing, for example access to the cloud for virtual data storage as part of cloud computing.
Keeping this in mind will help keep your business focused as it undergoes its transformation.
Whilst it is a common stereotype, friction between business IT departments and business leaders does underpin the adoption of technology in every business.
The role of any IT department is to safeguard the businesses technology, ensuring that nothing goes wrong that could cause catastrophe. So when it comes to being presented with brand new ways of working, many IT departments are hesitant to embrace the new technologies, which results in slow adoption, unstable rollout, and failure for the digital infrastructure to effectively support the business in achieving its goals.
When beginning a process of digital transformation it’s best to address this directly with the IT department at the earliest opportunity to avoid any gatekeeping impacting the effectiveness of the process.
Ways to do this could involve actively including the IT department in the decisions made, such as by inviting them to meetings, and setting tasks where they can identify and test new applications. This changes the department’s view from needing to find fault and failure to instead being an enabler, working alongside business leaders to achieve a collaborative solution.
Empower and educate employees
Just as an IT department may be hesitant to embrace new digital ways of working, your employees may feel similarly, especially if they are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with certain types of technology.
Change your employees mindset on the digital transformation by empowering them through training. Training your employees in how to use the technology correctly will not only ensure it is achieving maximum efficiency, but will also help to keep it safe from being accidentally compromised.
Offer specialist training courses that promote enthusiasm about the new technology, and be sure to emphasise the positive effect it will have on an employees day to day work, as well as just how much these skills are transferable. Embracing new types of technology could greatly benefit someone who moves on from the company.
Digital transformation needn’t be complex or viewed with uncertainty and dread. Provided the right technology has been invested in, alongside the right applications, processes or objects will empower businesses in helping to reach their goals whilst saving both time and money.
At Binary Blue, we know all about Digital Transformations because we’ve helped identify and implement them for years. If you’d like to know more about how your business could benefit from a digital transformation, get in touch with us today and we’d be happy to make your IT work the way you need it to.