The phrase is popping up everywhere, usually with the admonishment that you absolutely must get busy transforming digitally if your small business is going to stay in the game.
But what does it MEAN? Where do you START?
The good news is you don’t need a pointy hat and a magic wand to transform. But you should have a basic grasp of the terminology.
We offer this glossary of terms – and a primer, to those of you with curiosity bordering on panic. Call it Digital Transformation 101 if you like.
Technology is the crux of what’s driving the need for transformation however the transformation part is less about adopting new tech than it is about discarding the old and out-dated stuff.
Wait, you still have a pager?
You’re probably going to need a spell.
Digital Transformation changes how a business uses digital technology to operate efficiently. Cloud Storage upgrades, digital marketing improvements, and automated financial transactions are some examples of using digital tech to improve your company’s prosperity.
The magic words – AKA Glossary of terms:
- Digital Technology: A good example is your Smart Phone, which allows you to immediately access information, people, and commerce. You and millions of other people worldwide conduct business transactions via Smart Phone technology. All types of electronic equipment and applications using information in the form of numeric code – usually binary code – are digital. These include personal computers, calculators, automobiles, traffic light controllers, CD players, cellular phones, communication satellites, and TV sets.[i]
- Digital Platform: Is the software or hardware of a website that allows users to interact. Some examples of digital platforms you are familiar with are:
- Social – Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter
- Media – Spotify, YouTube
- Advertising – Google, Facebook, Instagram, Online media
- App stores – Apple, Google Play
- Crowd Sourcing – Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc.
- Content Marketing – Buffer, Hubspot, Adobe, WordPress
- And there are more….
Digital platforms are, essentially, plug and play business models that allow multiple participants (producers and consumers) to connect with them, interact with each other and create and exchange value.
- Transformation: Is about change, and the process of making change. It’s about applying current technology within your business to increase profits, gain a competitive advantage, and achieve a higher degree of efficiency.
Does your company need a digital platform?
If you want your enterprise to maintain a competitive advantage, then, yes you need one. A digital platform may be your guarantee of a smooth digital transformation. Holding on to out-dated technology will not help you.
So, where do you begin?
- Take stock of what you want your company’s digital transformation to achieve. If you have business partners and employees include them in this process.
- Are you looking to improve your customers’ online experience with your products and website? If so, then excellent visuals including photographs and video, speed and ease of navigation, responsiveness, security, and no nonsense checkout capabilities are must-haves for a smooth customer journey that results in sales, and return shopping.
- Do you want to offer stellar customer support that is responsive, informative, personal, and fast? You’ll want to implement IT strategies to provide that kind of engagement.
- Take a hard look at your IT network.
- Can your platform comply with modern security standards?
- Can it handle one click purchases?
- Is your website platform capable of increasing sales and growing revenue?
- How many popular payment methods can your system support?
- Can your website track user behaviour – abandoned carts, time spent, and bounce rates?
- A Network Audit by a trusted IT company is crucial if your answer to any of the previous questions is “no” or “I don’t know.”
Technologies rely on connectivity, up-to-date devices, software, and solid IT infrastructures.
Your IT network MUST be able to handle all the data needed for the fastest, easiest, and most efficient operations.
Your qualified IT advisor is a valuable partner in both assessing your IT infrastructure (determining your network’s digital readiness) and helping you set clear and measurable goals to help in the transition.
There is much more to learn but we promised you an introduction.
Even for a primer, this is a lot of information but don’t despair. Digital transformation is the way of the future, and a way for your business to stay competitive and prosper.
The process will be different for each enterprise but the ROI is worth the effort, and it won’t take forever.
According to a recent Accenture report, “While it used to take Fortune 500 companies an average of 20 years to reach a billion-dollar valuation, today’s digital start-ups can get there in four years. Digital platforms are largely responsible for this shift.”
If you have questions about digital transformation not answered here, please leave a comment.