No Simple Answer
I love it when a potential client or someone at a networking event hits me with this question, “What impact can Digital Transformation really have on my business?”
let’s get the theme of this ‘no simple answer’ thing going. This is an easy and a hard question to answer. Straight off the cuff, I could examine their reliance on their mobile phone for apps, social media, even the simple need to text, and that could just be from a personal perspective. When we enter the business realm, however, some digital solutions are deeply ingrained, and some businesses use excessive amounts of labour maintaining the longwinded processes they already have in place, to even consider new ideas or concepts.
For example, Microsoft Office is one of most widely utilised office software packages in the world, for this reason, in almost any office you will find documents in Microsoft Word, and usually unnecessary amounts of excel spreadsheets that are described as ‘required.’
What many businesses overlook is the opportunity to improve processes by automating tasks or optimizing workflows. Many of our customers came to us using basic Microsoft products to manage their business, sometimes they even had manual processes that still needed pen and paper at several stages…. but this is the 21st century, and in the 21st century, efficiency and innovation is key to performing against the competition. To keep ahead of the game and stay on the edge there are several things you want a digital solution to help with.
- Reduce End to End Process Cycle Time– If it takes your department a total of 8 man-hours per day to produce 1 report that is taken to a meeting for a 5-minute analysis and action plan, could the preparation time not have been spent doing something more productive? Yes!
- Data to Improve Management Strategy– When it comes to deciding on a system or designing your own, think about the valuable statistics and the burning questions that need to be answered to improve services. There are many creative ways to measure the performance of your business.
- Ease of Use for User Base – Technology has to be quickly adopted by all users, for this reason, it needs to be easy to navigate and easy to use. Always consider the user interface (UI) and the design of menus in new systems. The quicker you hit the ground running, the quicker you benefit.
- Integration & Development Opportunities– Everything in business boils back to money, so finding a solution which deals finance directly is always a plus, failing that things like addons and the ability to connect to external programs is a massive time saver and should be sought after!
- Accessibility for Key Users– The life of managers can be hectic, and the higher up the tree, the more that needs to be managed. Web-based applications or solutions with mobile apps are perfect for keeping up to date on the move. This way no one misses a beat.
- Security & Data Compliance– Even though every company has a data officer there are further measures that can be taken to ensure compliance with GDPR. The data itself will also need to be protected properly to minimize breaches or misuse of data
The Winds of Change
Looking at some of the areas, we can already start to show where savings can be made. Implementing a new digital solution should also act as an opportunity to review the business processes you are digitizing. A high volume of businesses are victims of the legacy processing, the age-old “we’ve just always done this.” That doesn’t mean there aren’t better, faster ways to do the job, this is where companies can make a quick win when it comes to overhauling how they do things. In a world where the working pace continues to increase, we all need to be able to adapt quickly, and the first step to that is breaking down what you do, and then asking the question, why do we do that? Is it necessary? This begins a long and continually developing process.
One of the key aspects to having a successful installation is the attitude of the users, in most cases, this will be your employees or your customers, potentially both! If you can solve some of their problems and act on feedback the morale of staff will rise, and the users’ experience will improve. This is more important than it seems, and most businesses overlook this too. Think about it the next time you hear repetitive complaints about systems in your workplace though…
Up until this point I’ve tried to highlight is that software can act as a gateway to understanding the working parts of your business. Some projects I have personally worked on have seen many team members getting the calculators out only to find out we didn’t truly understand how systems were producing answers – a perfect example of legacy problems!
A Gift that keeps on giving
Preparing for new systems – especially during the plan and design stage of bespoke solution creation – offers team-building opportunities to incorporate all of the above points and allows all departments to put their cards on the table. Allowing staff to influence the system engages them directly and gets them to think about their role from a different angle, it also allows them to see how their role fits into the big picture.
The final thing that will definitely impact your business is data! I will briefly cover this topic as we have a small article on the benefits of data systems and an article on driving business using data analysis which covers things in a bit more detail between them. With software comes the opportunity to collect many types of data from many sources. The more data you have the more questions you can ask and answer, and with the right system, this can be done pretty quickly. No one misses a beat, this means decisions can also be made quickly. The whole point is to pull all the people and processes in and keep them all on the same page. Systems should pull companies together.
As mentioned at the start of this article, the answer to this question is broad and subjective depending on what you’re looking for and what type of business you run. This is the kind of subject I want to dive into a lot further and hopefully answer more specific questions regarding software and its benefits. If you have any questions you want to be answered please don’t hesitate to ask us, part of our job is to keep you informed!