It’s a great question.
Firstly let’s have a think about why companies choose to go digital.
Competition and differentiators are key to ensuring organisations survive and thrive.
When a business automates and digitises its operations, whether it be HR, Sales, Operations or Finance, it becomes more efficient. This is measured in terms of time saved to complete tasks, the number of FTE’s (full time employees) utilised to achieve a result or the cost savings associated.
This is a very simple way to look at the benefit of digital transformation. In fact it means much, much more.
We live in a connected, online and real-time world today. That is the way things are and we fail to embrace it at our own peril. Our clients, partners and customers have expectations based on the best services available in constantly evolving and changing markets. So how does digital transformation address this?
When you are able to do things more efficiently internally, you are able to respond to your clients more quickly, in fact sometimes instantly. This gives you an immediate advantage in terms of service provided, percentage of business converted or the number of queries resolved at the first point of contact.
The output is that you will provide a better service, create higher levels of stakeholder satisfaction, increased loyalty and retention as well as improved brand reputation.
You can differentiate your business from your competitors in many more ways. In a digital and connected business it is possible to build a clearer understanding of your clients down to the individual.
In the connected world we all have access to so much more information about our prospects and customers. Declared information such as demographics or preferences selected through your online portal/website. Inferred information such as web tracking, frequency of purchase, average spend, seasonal behaviours and so on.
Using this information to shape your messaging, web content and future products/solutions/services will only improve your success. The speed at which your company can respond to this information is key and I like to refer to it as increased agility.
All of this may sound a little like enterprise business buzzword bingo, and no, I’m not going to start rattling on about big data too! J
The benefits I mention above are completely transferable to small and medium sized business, it’s just a case of recognising how.
So where does the journey to becoming a digital organisation start?
This has many answers and the important thing to remember is that this is a journey and not an instant transformation. Your business won’t simply walk into a phone box (phone booth) and exit in a new digital outfit with a cloud based cape.
Most organisations start their journey with something as simple as creating a digital library from paper based documents. This could be HR records, sales invoices, sales proposals etc.
When your organisation becomes practiced at retrieving, sharing and creating these then you may be ready for phase two of your project. Phase two could be the introduction of digital signatures. So now there is no need to print and share documents for internal/external approval. Another step on your digital journey.
We now have your department using digital documents and digital signatures. What’s next?
It’s time to take a look at your department and how “work” is shared with the rest of the business. Is work passed to other departments? Does information have to be manually transferred to other systems within your organisation? How does this happen?
The chances are that there will be manual steps in the flow of this work. For example a new starter accepts an offer of employment. Emails will now have to be sent to IT and L&D to set up systems and arrange training. This means typing emails, making calls to other departments only for them to have to re-key information into their systems to kick off these processes.
This is where BPM (Business Process Management) tools come into play. BPM comes in many guises and frankly can be very confusing. At a high level, BPM connects work to people and systems. Yes, it’s really that simple.
No more spreadsheets to track work on its journey to “done”. No more emails to colleagues to ask them to input a request into another system. No more walking to another department to put something in their in tray.
Another common misnomer is that your organisation will have to change the way you work. This is simply not true. The more capable your BPM solution is, the more able it is to map your current processes.
This raises other questions about your legacy IT systems. Do they need updating? Will you have to rip and replace? No one likes the idea of lifting up the foundations of technical concrete poured at the base of your IT infrastructure.
The good news? You don’t have to!
BPM solutions easily connect to your existing systems, whether it be CRM, Accounting, Payroll, L&D or HR. In fact when deployed correctly, good BPM can future proof your existing infrastructure by creating an “orchestration” layer. This layer can then connect the very latest digital capabilities to your existing systems.
For example this could enable the creation of mobility options or self-service or reporting for employees and customers where before it may have seemed too complicated.
I'm aware that I haven’t directly answered whether digital transformation is just for Enterprise business. The answer is in fact a very simple NO.
Digital transformation is relevant and essential to ALL business. One could argue even more important for smaller organisations.
For more information about what digital transformation could mean for your organisation, or simply a chat around the subject, please get in touch.