The speed of digital innovation is staggering. One year a laptop with a certain processing speed will be a market leader, and the next, it’ll be worth next to nothing. Likewise, in the space of a couple of years, business software upgrades to become almost unrecognizable. And over the past decade or so, you’ll go through at least one digital upgrade to stick with the changing times. This article is about going through these changes in 2021 – helping your firm compete with modern, dynamic companies in your market.
When it comes to digital transformation, it helps to think big. Start with a vision: where do you want this transformation to take you? What do you want to communicate to your clients and customers via your transformation? And how will your digital changes impact your key businesses processes, solving those niggling issues you’ve been sweeping under the rug for months?
Beginning with a vision is important because it’s how you’ll steer the ship in the right direction throughout the process of change. It’s also an easy way for you to share with your staff members exactly why you’re making the changes you’ve decided to make. Finally, getting them all on the same page will help avoid confusion and frustration as core systems are swapped and upgraded.
Build a Roadmap
Next up, you’ll need to build a digital transformation roadmap that clearly lays out the path ahead towards the vision you’ve just set for your firm. Building such a roadmap keeps stakeholders aligned as you make your transformation, showing them, at which stage you’re expecting to make key changes. For many firms, this also helps set deadlines for different departments, which may need to transfer files or log out of certain systems in time for the changes you’ve planned.
And of course, a roadmap also helps your IT specialists, whether they’re in-house or outsourced – to understand what you’re asking of them. It puts in one place the demands that you’ve set out for your new, digital company, and it’s from here that they’ll be able to get to work to find the solutions to fit your vision.
Often, your digital roadmap will contain instructions but not specifics. So now, you’ll need to find the right solutions for your firm. To give you a brief example, you may have identified that your staff is frustrated working across several different platforms, not the job, preferring to use just one with a number of centralized features. So, your objective is set replace disparate programs with a single program that fits all your boxes.
Of course, such an objective can be met in a number of ways, with a number of different programs. For example, you might choose to subscribe to a new suite of software to solve this issue, or it might be more effective to go with a hybrid solution: changing your software and adjusting your internal processes themselves. These decisions can be made on an ad hoc basis after analysis and research on the part of your team.
It’s not only your digital assets that change during a digital transformation. Such change should also blow through your customer-facing digital assets to show off the fact that you’re a company on the move, modernizing for the benefit of your customers. As such, you should consider changing some of the following when you’re on the digital transformation warpath:
- Your website, making it modern, intuitive, and in line with current design standards
- Your logo, bringing it up to date with design standards in the modern world
- Your digital storytelling, using animations, illustrations, and infographics to show off your company’s story
- Your app, if you have one. If you don’t, consider whether building an app will add value for your customers
- Your communications, like newsletters, are a keyway in which you leave impressions with your customers
All of these areas can be upgraded when you’re going through a digital revamp – and seeing as you’re changing your internal systems, why not have a look at your external ones too?
All of the changes mentioned above will cost you cash. They will cause temporary disruption, which may cause your income to drop slightly as you’re transforming. In addition, consultants and IT experts cost money to bring in to help you make the changes you’ve envisaged. Finally, new software and digital assets cost cash – either in one-off fees or in subscription payments.
You’re making your transformation because you know it’ll add significant value to your firm’s offerings, positively impacting your bottom line over time. But you shouldn’t wade into your transformation blindly. Instead, draw up a rough budget, noting the costings for various parts of your roadmap so that you know when things are running over budget and whether you’ll need to intervene at any stage to save your company cash.
When you’re changing software that your staff will use every day, it’s paramount that they know how to use it perfectly. And you shouldn’t merely count on their being intuitively able to get around a whole new suite of software: you should offer training to get them up to speed. This is thankfully rather simple, as business software often comes with a training program or module. You can also bring in external firms for a more competitive digital training during the period of your transformation.
What’s important is that you bring your staff along with you on your transformative journey. This will avoid the ill-will borne of the impression that decisions are being made without the people they will affect the most. Be cognizant of this so that your workers are happy with the changes you make.
As your digital transformation comes to an end, your final responsibility is to throw a cloak of protection over your brand new infrastructure through the addition of a powerful, holistic layer of cybersecurity. This will help protect your new software, devices, and features from online harm, ensuring that your infrastructure is robust and secure.
You’ll be able to find the highest quality security software online to suit your business needs, but it’s worth making sure with your IT team that you’re choosing an appropriate set of protection software for your firm’s specific needs.
Bring your brand to life and drive efficient optimization with these digital transformation tips – designed to help you get the most out of your company.