It’s perhaps stating the obvious to say ever-quicker advances in technology are transforming business practices in just about all sectors, and organisations from small SMEs to large multinationals are finding ‘going digital’ isn’t so much a gentle evolution as a full-on transition over a remarkably short time frame. Much of the tech advances are specialised, so experts offering software development or data analytics consultancy services are increasingly in demand.
What exactly is ‘digital transformation?’
Ask a roomful of people to define ‘digital transformation’ and you’d likely get a multitude of answers. It’s not as simple as, say, ‘cloud computing,’ ‘AI’ (Artificial Intelligence) or ‘paperless offices.’ These are elements of transformation but not the whole picture. The term can be summed up (for businesses at least) as: ‘the using of digital technologies to alter or provide new business procedures to meet changing market and business requirements.’
To stay competitive, just about all commercial organisations have to embrace transformation. Of course, there’s plenty of expert help available: for example, to extract the value from mountains of data and stay competitive in working with and benefiting from it effectively, a business could work with an experienced data analytics consultancy.
Overall, the digital transformation is the way Digitisation has and continues to take over from analogue. An obvious example is where previously handwritten or typed information onto paper is now typed or keyed into a computer and becomes a digital file. Another is retail transactions where manual tills have been superseded by EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) systems to take payment and create a customer record that in turn provides valuable data to use in various ways such as remarketing, building a ‘picture’ of sales trends, stock control, recording sales performance and much more. A classic example of digital transformation is streaming entertainment service Netflix: they disrupted the traditional physical DVD rental market using the advances in high-speed internet tech to allow people to watch shows on demand, so changing the entire ‘recorded entertainment’ landscape.
Can digital transformation benefit your business?
While businesses of just about any size can benefit from digital advances, and already do almost without realising it, it’s important to focus on the aspects of relevance to your situation.
- Social media – just because social media is hugely popular and effective for some, it may not suit your business – or, if it does, maybe not every platform. So, whilst say, Facebook may be a good fit to perhaps advertise on or run social media campaigns, Instagram or TikTok may not be.
- Data – a huge priority for many businesses: the increase in data gathering and the ability to store it cost effectively brings its benefits into the realm of businesses of most sizes. You don’t have to be the expert either: partnering with a professional data analytics consultancy can help you derive maximum benefit from your data in terms of maximising sales, knowing your customer, managing inventory, business reporting and much more.
- AI and machine learning – your data analytics consultancy will likely use these technologies to work with your data, but other uses such as providing website chat facilities puts round the clock customer contact at your disposal even if you’re a small ecommerce operation.
Focusing digital tech to advance your business
In considering the idea that the digital transformation covers the way you do business, it’s important to focus on the tech that primarily can help you – not just jumping on board everything on offer.