Digital transformation. It has become a common tech buzzword; a nebulous catch-all term that seems to evade concise definition. But at its core, digital transformation entails the use of technology to reimagine, redefine and revamp processes, workflows, customer / user experiences, and even company culture. The goal: to boost efficiency, increase profitability or transform your position within the marketplace.
Digital transformation has emerged as a critical business strategy component for today’s most competitive companies. This has prompted many other business leaders to wonder: “Why do I need a digital transformation strategy?” The short answer is actually pretty simple: a well-developed digital transformation strategy will guide an organization’s evolution in a way that increases ROI, while simultaneously maximizing competitive advantage. The long answer is rooted in the numerous and significant digital transformation benefits that are really essential for success in today’s competitive business spheres.
Four Components of a Digital Transformation Strategy
Microsoft developed what has become a widely-recognized framework for digital transformation strategies. They offered up four components that should be addressed as a company develops their approach.
- Operational Optimization – Workflow automation, process automation and mechanical automation are just a few of the many examples of digital transformation involving a company’s operations. A digital transformation initiative focused on operations and processes looks a bit different depending upon your industry and business type. But the returns can be immense. Not only is there potential for improved productivity and profitability, but an organization may also see a transformation in their employees’ morale and even overall company culture.
- Products and Services – Products and service offerings are often at the center of a digital transformation strategy — and for good reason. Innovation through the use of new technology — whether that tech is implemented as part of an actual product / service or used to promote, manufacture, transport or support that product / service — can bring tremendous ROI. It is critical that you highlight your digital transformation initiative in your marketing, packaging and promotional materials in order to see maximum benefit.
- Customer Engagement – A digital transformation strategy must account for customer engagement and user experience (UX). In cases where a digital transformation initiative directly impacts customers or clients, you must provide preparation so they know what to expect when the new tech is deployed. Support and tutorials may also be necessary to introduce changes and new features / offerings in a way that streamlines and enhances user experience.
- Employee Empowerment – Employees must be empowered with the proper training as you implement new digital transformation initiatives. Nobody likes feeling as though they’ve had the digital rug pulled out from under them. It is crucial that a company takes the time to inform staff about the new technology that is being introduced so they are well prepared and know what to expect moving forward. Once the technology is ready for deployment, comprehensive training and support is essential for success. This will empower employees, enabling them to leverage the new technology in a way that maximizes productivity.
These four areas allow for the development of a comprehensive and all-encompassing digital transformation strategy. But a business does not need to implement changes at all four levels to see a benefit. In fact, a relatively small-scale digital transformation effort can reap significant rewards.
Benefits of a Digital Transformation Strategy for Your Business
It takes time and effort to develop a digital transformation strategy, leading to reluctance amongst those who remain skeptical that their efforts will lead to a worthwhile ROI. But the potential advantages are actually quite numerous. Consider the following.
• Increased Profitability – Profits really are — quite literally — the bottom line for most business leaders and a well-architected digital transformation strategy has the potential to maximize profits through greater efficiency, improved productivity, increased engagement and better user experience (among other things).
• More Data and Analytics – Many digital transformation efforts involve the generation or collection of data that can be leveraged to improve processes, expand marketing capabilities, improve product and service offerings and to make better business decisions. In fact, improving data storage capabilities and implementing new data management and visualization tools may represent a great digital transformation initiative for an organization that is not currently leveraging its data in an efficient manner. In cases where you are generating and collecting data from new sources as a result of your digital transformation project, those metrics can be funneled into an analytics platform to generate useful insights.
• Improved Company Culture – Digital transformation offers many opportunities to enhance company culture. This is true whether you’re improving processes and workflows or introducing new technology that will make employee life easier, more collaborative and all-around more enjoyable.
• Elevated Engagement – Digital transformation projects hold the potential to increase engagement, both amongst customers / clients and employees. For example, a digital transformation effort that involves the deployment of an enterprise messaging app will improve your employees’ ability to engage and collaborate.
• Improved Risk Management – A company’s digital transformation efforts may surround risk management, such as the mitigation of vulnerabilities surrounding regulatory compliance. Regulatory compliance is a very real concern for companies in the financial sector, the healthcare industry, the manufacturing / industrial sector and the transport and logistics sector. There are many technologies that can be deployed in a way that reduces the risk of non-compliance, but beyond this, many companies are turning to software systems that monitor for and respond to new / updated laws and regulatory requirements. The act of rolling out one of these new regulatory compliance software systems can be a very beneficial component of a company’s digital transformation strategy.
These are just a few benefits that prove why you need a digital transformation strategy for your business. Advantages abound, there are very few — if any — downsides to developing a digital transformation strategy and implementing those measures within your company in a way that makes sense for you operationally and financially. There are lots of additional overarching strategic benefits to consider too, such as improved business agility and data-driven decision making capabilities.
Embracing digital transformation doesn’t need to be a challenge. A relatively small investment of time and effort can lead to the development of a solid strategy that brings significant ROI. To get a well-balanced view of your company’s needs, remember to include leaders from each department and division of your organization as you formulate your business strategy. This ensures that you consider the full picture — not just the segment that’s visible from the C-suite. Also remember to consider the broader picture because you want to be sure that your digital transformation efforts align well with your overall business strategy.
Beginning Your Digital Transformation Project
At 7T, we embrace digital transformation and we take great pride in our ability to develop technology that is truly transformative for our clients. Once you’ve created a digital transformation strategy, turn to the team of experts at 7T to make those plans a reality.
The 7T development team works with company leaders who are seeking to solve problems and drive ROI through digital transformation. As an innovative Dallas software and mobile app development company, we offer collaborative, multi-phased software development services to clients in all business sectors.
Our offices are situated in Dallas, Houston and Austin, but our clientele spans the globe. If you’re ready to learn more about developing enterprise software, a mobile app or another form of digital transformation for your organization, contact 7T today.