You read the headline and are probably skeptical, thinking this is an over-sensationalized post title like all other blogs and media outlets these days. Perhaps. But think about your competitors for one minute.
We are heading into one of the most challenging times in your business’s/organization’s history. Interest rates are at their highest in 40 years. Hiring and retaining talent is harder than ever. Supply chains are strained, shipping lanes are clogged, and political strife has led to additional bottlenecks. Productivity dropped by 7.5% in the first quarter of 2022—the highest drop since 1947—due to more hours worked and higher labor costs.
This means the cost of doing business is higher than ever for most industries. Add to this that customers are more demanding and have more options, which means more competition than ever before. The stakes have never been higher for your business/organization. Also, the pressure to perform and be at the top of your game is higher than it has been in the past, and the risk of failure is daunting.
You don’t need us to tell you this. Surely you can feel the very real pressure from all sides, as we all can. So what is the solution? We are almost there, but first we need to define the problem which we all have and can relate.
The good news is that we have never had more tools at our disposal to handle these pressures. However, the bad news is that it has never been harder to leverage them.
The Old Ways are Gone
The days of installing an office package and reaping the reward of the productivity and efficiency it provides are long gone. We have much more complex systems such as CRM, ERP, member management, help desk, phone, email, calendar, accounting, billing, etc. These software tools provided great productivity improvements and efficiency gains over the years, though that has come at a high cost.
Now we are surrounded by different software tools at our businesses/organizations. They are everywhere and while they do their job well, they don’t work well together. That means we have to plug the gaps and that is where things become a problem. The gaps are where our employees spend the majority of their time and—guess what—they hate it. I mean they REALLY hate it. They are often left doing the mundane work in between software tools which causes them to hate their job and eventually leave for greener pastures. It also causes our businesses to grind to halts at those points or, worse yet, our customers are impacted, causing them to leave.
This is a very real, very serious, impending threat to your business/organization.
What is the technology trend that we mentioned in the title that solves these problems? You have probably heard of it before but never truly understood what it means. The term is Digital Transformation (DT). It has been interpreted in many ways and many interpretations are wrong. So let us put it in laymen’s terms.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital Transformation (DT) is the process of utilizing technology to make your company/organization run as seamlessly, intuitively and easily as possible for your team and your customers. Sounds easy, right? Who wouldn’t want that? You may even be saying, “Well, we already do that or we are working on that.” The reality is that it is one of the single hardest problems and solutions that you have ever faced.
If you are saying it is easy, then you aren’t really doing it. If you say you have already done it, chances are you stopped WAY short of actually doing it. But if you are already working on it, great! In that case, you know how incredibly difficult and frustrating it is and that it can feel like it is impossible to achieve.
The truth is it isn’t easy. It is incredibly hard and it will be one of the toughest challenges your company/organization ever undertakes. Also, it will be one of the most powerful, impactful and profitable solutions you have ever achieved. Let’s look through the rewards, which are many. You’ll notice they address the biggest challenges in The Reality and The Problem sections above.
We told you how hard Digital Transformation (DT) is to actually implement. The rewards better are worth all this hard work! The good news is they are and then some. Here’s a list of the rewards.
This may seem like a no-brainer. As I noted above, the reality is that productivity has decreased by 7.5% in the first quarter of 2022. As wages increase, productivity will decrease. That is why it is so important to do more with less. DT is the best way to do exactly that by streamlining your business you are able to fire on all cylinders and do more with less.
Hiring and retaining employees has never been harder. That is why it is vital to keep morale high so that you keep the employees you have and are able to attract top candidates when desired. DT saves your employees from mundane tasks, allowing them to do the work they enjoy, which typically is the higher ROI work that leads to higher profits. It also leads to higher productivity, morale, retention, fewer employees, lowers onboarding time and attracts new hires.
This is the default everyone thinks about with DT. There are plenty of tasks that can be 100% automated but are in the gaps between software tools. Automating these tasks means large chunks of additional time become available for employees to spend on higher ROI tasks and it can also lead to an overall reduction in the number of employees required lowering costs.
The experience customers have with your business/organization is dramatically improved through DT. Limiting gaps and manual processes improves response time, speeds up the overall process, limits errors, gives them more visibility, improves communication and so much more. Think of all the issues you currently deal with in the customer experience and imagine if you could cut those down to a fraction of what they are now. How much is that worth? Hint: A TON!
It is amazing how many opportunities you will uncover as you go through Digital Transformation and see all those that you are currently missing, realize new ones that you never realized existed and unlock brand new undiscovered opportunities through innovation.
Leverage Existing Investments
DT allows for existing investment into technology to be fully and completely realized. The gaps between software tools limit their full potential. Successful DT implementations unlock your existing investment making them even more powerful, and capable of reaching their full ROI.
The last 3 years have seen dramatic changes that have pushed businesses to their limits. Most have had difficulty responding to these major changes. DT allows your company/organization to become truly agile with the ability to respond quickly to changes, whatever they may be. This is invaluable going forward, as change is a constant we all must deal with.
Disruptions have become the new norm. Whether caused by viruses or lack of supply or hiring difficulties or cost increases, every day seems to bring another disruption. DT allows you to be agile and limit the disruption by responding quickly and accordingly which in turn lowers costs, and disruptions to customers and provides a huge competitive advantage.
Communication internally and externally is vital. Too often, however, the gaps between software tools cause gaps in communication. This handcuffs you and kills productivity, leads to errors, harms customer experience, increases costs and decreases profitability. DT closes the gap in communication internally and externally.
Most organizations react to many things that are already in their control. DT allows you to have visibility and become proactive, identifying problems and issues often before they occur so you can take care of them before they become a problem. When they cannot be foreseen DT allows you to react quickly and snuff the flame before it becomes a fire.
Faster Time to Market
How fast your product/service takes to be delivered is at the core of your business/organization. DT speeds the process of delivery. It speeds up the process of deploying new products/services. It speeds up the collection of feedback and makes improvements.
Everyone makes mistakes, as the saying goes. While this is true, DT can greatly reduce the mistakes you make by implementing validation into your processes, catching them before they are made if possible and not then as soon as they are made and alerting you so that you can correct them before it spreads.
Imagine driving a car but suffering blindness intermittently? Unfortunately, that is how most businesses/organizations operate. The gaps between their software tools are blind spots in which there is zero visibility until they emerge into the next tool in line. DT fixes this by plugging the gaps and providing full visibility throughout the workflow from start to finish.
There is cost savings and then there are cost savings. DT brings, real, tangible and auditable cost savings through automation, increased productivity of employees, lower employee onboarding, improve employee retention, identification of new opportunities, improved customer experience and retention, faster sales process and fulfillment, improved communication, fewer errors, improved visibility and on and on.
This is the lifeblood of all organizations. Without profits, we are done. The list above presents the ways that DT increases profits, and they are substantial, real and auditable. If you aren’t investing in DT, you are losing money and more every day while your competitors who are investing in DT are reaping the benefits and increasing their profits.
You would never go into a fight with two arms tied behind your back, yet that is how most businesses/organizations are currently operating. DT unlocks your full potential and allows you to compete on even terms at least and most often with a competitive advantage against your competition. If you aren’t investing in DT, you are already behind and only getting further behind by the day.
You are already behind and falling further behind every day if your business/organization isn’t investing in Digital Transformation. Some of your competitors have been investing in DT already and they are gaining ground on you every moment. Digital Transformation isn’t a niche trend or even a new trend. You must correct this immediately. Don’t wait or you will be left behind, and it will be too late to do anything about it.
Don’t Believe Us?
Read the words below from the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella in 2015. His statement could not have been more prophetic, and seven years later every business has experienced the trend of being pushed toward a digital company. COVID-19, work from home, employee demands, customer demands, cost increases, supply issues, etc.—every day it becomes more evident the future of your company/organization is a digital company, and if you don’t start investing in becoming one you are doomed to fail.
A Crucial Concept
“Every company is a software company. You have to start thinking and operating like a digital company. It’s no longer just about procuring one solution and deploying one. It is not about one simple software solution. It’s really you yourself thinking of your own future as a digital company.” – Satya Nadella, CEO of Micrososft
Please contact us with any questions about digital transformation, our services, or your project. We’re happy to chat any time.