What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation will look different for every company so it's hard to actually have a template one size fits all definition. In general terms, digital transformation is defined as integrating digital technology into all areas of a particular business resulting in fundamental changes to the ways that business operates and how that business delivers value to its clients.
Why does digital transformation matter?
Digital Transformation is a matter of survival and it doesn't matter if your a one man show, mom and pop shop or an enterprise. Your business will not survive without improving your processes.
What does digital transformation look like for an average business?
Company A is an in home services company that has a simple online form where clients can fill in their name email address and description of the services they would like performed. Company A gets this emailed information and hand writes this information on a piece of paper, and maybe company A has 8 clients that filled out that form for that day. Company A's manager is out in the field and uses a smartphone, so he hand writes this information on a piece of paper and then from the paper he puts it in digitally into a calendar application.
Company A Digitally Transformed
When company A digitally transforms, instead of using paper the form information would be captured into a database and from that database that contact data could be manipulated and entered, for example, directly into Google contacts or directly into Google Calendar. As we can see with this very simplistic digital transformation the company a would save an incredible amount of time with data entry and secondly company a would have this client contact information in digital form and with our example it would be on the cloud contained in the contacts under that particular Google account Gmail address.
Company B is another in-home service provider. An in-home service provider is a business that performs its work on the sites of clients homes. Company B answers their phone takes down the client appointment information, hand writes the information on paper and from this handwritten information it then goes on a company whiteboard where the jobs get distributed to the various work crews. So we have a client call, we have a manager write down that appointment information on paper then that appointment information on paper then gets hand written on a whiteboard so the various technicians or work Crews can then take that information and write it down on their piece of paper so they have their jobs listed for the day.
Company B digitally transformed
Company B's digital transformation would also encompass that initial phone call from a potential client. That prospective appointment information would be entered into an "Admin" form which would then go into a database and if that database was, for example, connected to Google's API's there would basically be no need for paper nor would there be a need for the Whiteboard. Management would simply hit a button and create a Google Calendar entry with that information. Instead of a whiteboard the crews would each have a smartphone and the manager would distribute those jobs electronically to that particular technician or crew smartphone. So no need to write down, no need to write on the Whiteboard and no need for the crews to hand write their jobs on paper. It's all electronically assigned via a shared Google calendar.
This is a very very simple digital transformation, but see a lot of small businesses operate with multiple paper processes and by eliminating that paper, and automating some basic processes, we save a ton of time, save transcription errors and get the jobs to the crews digitally.
What does a digital transformation framework look like?
This is a very very simple digital transformation. A business is digital transformation will vary based on that particular business has specific challenges and goals, as well as the availability of technology to help that particular business transform. However there are case studies and publish Frameworks that all business owners should consider as they embark on this digital transformation. For instance there are certain defined elements of digital transformation:
a digital transformation framework for the customer experience would be providing your clients with quick, easy and seamless service that goes above and beyond just the typical phone call meeting at a retail location or if your business that provides in-home services meeting them on the job site in their home.
one example of a digital transformation framework would be the core digital representation that just about every business has which is your website. Your website is the first thing a client sees or in most cases (because the website speed is so slow) doesn't see and that gives the first impression to that particular client. Part of any company's digital transformation would also need to include transforming the customer experience and interaction with the business's website by making that business website as fast as possible.
Another part of digital transformation for the customer experience is digitally communicating with that customer via text message or email. When is the last time you called Amazon to order a product from them. Never! Amazon has trained customers to deal with them with a web interface and email only. It's quick, efficient, easy and cheap.
Agility of business operations
Leadership and culture
as for the leadership and culture of a business either a single owner operator, a mom-and-pop shop, or a small to medium-sized businesses the fact of the matter is- the old dog had better learn some new tricks and learn them very fast. It's a matter of business survival, businesses that don't do everything they can to digitally transform are going to be beaten by their competitors who do, who run their businesses with automated processes, better customer service, lower cost of operations, and a digitally educated mobile Workforce.
Digital technology integration