How to Digitize Your Business: 4 Strategies for Success

8 minute read

It’s almost impossible to remember a time when businesses didn’t have computers connected to the internet and multiple digital applications used on a daily basis. As the modern world became shaped by technology, so did the business world. And that’s how digitization came to be.

Digitizing a business refers to using modern technology to improve the continuity of business growth. When a business goes through the process of digitization, it can facilitate a better informational exchange. This is done by promoting consistency, reinventing profitable methods best suited for the company, and enhancing quality.

While this digital transformation has been prominent for a while now, the last few years saw a real boom of businesses that decided to go digital. One of the most common examples is how a lot of retailers transitioned from their brick-and-mortar stores to online eCommerce shops.

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Why go digital?

There are many different reasons why businesses choose to go through a digital transformation, but let’s take a look at some of the most common ones:

  • Reduce costs. Companies can save a lot of time and money with certain digital applications, especially the ones that use AI and machine learning to accomplish some essential processes effortlessly.
  • Drive innovation and efficiency. Many businesses have come out with their own programs that were game-changers in their industry and provided their customers with innovative and efficient solutions.
  • Outdo competitors. Some companies are still hesitant about digitization, and if you show customers that you’re more willing to accept innovation than your competitors, you’ll have more business.
  • Anticipate change. We can never know what the future brings, and in these uncertain times brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking for some security in their life. If you manage to have some idea of the changes that will happen, it will be much easier to face them when they come.

Now that you have a general idea of what digitization is and why it’s important, let’s take a look at the different ways you can digitize your business.

1. Research and planning

Before you can include various tools and software in your day-to-day operations, you need to think about what exactly you need from that technology.

Remember that digitizing your business needs to help facilitate its growth, not withhold it with the wrong type of digitization.

Prior to making any big decisions, you can’t take back, consider how digitization and its processes could prevent your company from engaging in ineffective programs and protocols. This type of blunder could lead to a negative response from customers and target audiences, so make sure to tread lightly.

You might be in a rush to complete your digital transformation as soon as possible because the market is quickly becoming competitive and more and more of your competitors are going digital. But as we already said, digitizing should exemplify your advantages, not your weaknesses, so there’s no need to rush.

Here are all the steps you need to go through during the research and planning stage:

Identify your daily processes

Take a look at all of your daily processes, and think about how they interlink and interact with one another.

Let’s say that your business puts a heavy focus on documentation.

In that case, you would need to find a way to create, edit, transfer, store, and finalize all of those documents and think of a program that will support digitization for your specific needs.

After you do that, your team needs to establish a set of protocols that will help you streamline the company’s digitization. The two most important aspects to focus on are improving staff productivity and increasing customer experience.

Gain evidence

You should never start a business project without any evidence, and if you want to ensure your digitization works as planned, you need to gain the necessary evidence. Think about all of your strengths and weaknesses, things your competitors are doing to attract customers, what you can expect in the future, and what your customers want to see.

Create objectives

Consider all of your objectives and the goals your organization is trying to achieve. Then use a model or a process to develop those business objectives.

Define the process to launch your strategy

To launch your strategy, you need to have three factors without which you can’t hope for success:

  • High-level advocate that will support your business transformation and be able to adopt the right digital tools, technology, and techniques.
  • Clear and memorable vision that tells your customers exactly what you’re trying to achieve.
  • Digital team that will be able to transfer knowledge and provide support to your existing and new staff so they can adapt to the digital transformation as smoothly as possible.

2. Focus on the user experience from start to end

Many things play an important role in shaping the image consumers have of a company. This includes the distinctive features of customer care, ease of use of the product, its reliability, advertising, and services, just to name a few.

When you’re going through digital transformation, it’s very important to remember that you need to keep the image of your company positive and make your customers your number one priority. And for this reason, your main goal needs to be to deliver an end-to-end user experience.

An end-to-end customer experience incorporates each and every aspect of your company’s offering, and since that’s the case, you need to include staff members from multiple teams during digitization. This way, you’ll be able to enhance communication through the customer experience.

So how exactly can you focus on user experience from start to end?

Choose the people for the digitization process

Since digitization is so important, you need to build a productive team of staff members you know you can trust. Ideally, these should be standout members from the departments you want to digitize, those who have a great work ethic and strong communication skills.

Hire on additional staff if necessary

Depending on your goals and the number of people you already employ and the digitization goals you have, you might need to hire additional staff members that have specific skills you need. Some of the roles you might consider are user-experience designers and data scientists, as they are of great importance for digital transformation.

Make sure your customers are comfortable with the digitization

Another important thing to remember when it comes to end-to-end user experience is that if you’re truly looking to achieve a customer-centric digital transformation, you need to think about what technology your customers want to use and are comfortable with.

Imagine a scenario in which you spend a lot of your time and the company’s resources to complete digitization, only to find out that your customers don’t want to use digital technology. Not only will you have wasted all of that time and money, but you’ll disappoint your customers as well.

Just to be clear, this isn’t very likely as people of all ages are now at least somewhat comfortable with technology, and digital touchpoints are very present in the customer experience overall.

Think about what your customers want to see

Whether or not your customers are going to be comfortable with the technology isn’t your only concern. You also need to decide whether or not they will want to use your solution in the first place.

Make sure your digital touchpoints and tools are as valuable as possible so customers will want to keep using them as much as possible. After all, if you don’t think about your target audience’s wants and needs and if they’re ready to accept your digitization, you will fail in your goal of focusing on the user experience.

3. Incorporate cloud-based technologies

Nowadays, the cloud is everywhere. It’s practically impossible to find a business that went through digitization and doesn’t use at least a few cloud-based technologies. According to the majority of global IT decision-makers, 95% of all workloads will be in the cloud within the next five years.

Every company that goes through digital transformation needs to upgrade its old IT infrastructure and integrate new technology that improves its business by automating it and speeding it up. Several examples of these technologies include big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

There are also digital tools to close deals faster, as well as productivity tools for employees working from home, and much more. All of these technologies require a lot of storage space and computational power, so businesses integrate them into the cloud.

Cloud-based technologies that are most frequently used in business are CRM, (customer relationship management) and KMS (knowledge management systems). These are used in businesses of all niches and sizes, and some great examples of these tools are Hubspot and Workato.

The purpose of both of these tools is to provide a centralized location for the accelerated management of choice information, such as leads.

However, you may need to incorporate more than these two cloud-based technologies, and the additional ones you choose will be based on the services your company provides. The software you pick needs to complement the services your customers receive.

Let’s say for example that your organization works in the financial field. If you’re looking for software that will fit your niche, you may use a secure service through which you will deliver digital documents to your clients.

Why you need cloud-based technologies

Cloud computing comes with multiple benefits:

  • Cost-effectiveness. No matter what kind of requirements your business has, you can find a cloud solution that is tailor-made to fit your needs. Cloud-based solutions come with a scalable framework model, where you only have to pay for the services you use.
  • No need for an IT infrastructure. Before cloud computing, businesses would need to set up IT resources in-house, and their maintenance required a lot of time and money. With the cloud, it’s all different and there’s no need for robust infrastructure.
  • Enhanced security. If you store personal data in-house, a security breach could be disastrous. Cloud hosting is not only safer but it also stores your data in a distributed system and has multiple backups. So even if something happens to one security node, the other ones will stay intact.
  • Possibility of parallel collaborations. If you use a cloud solution, you can have parallel collaborations with people regardless of hierarchy. Multiple teams can work together and access the same data, no matter if they’re in the same office or are working remotely.

4. Review customer and employee feedback

Most of the time, people don’t accept change easily. Even though digitization comes with a lot of benefits, there is a possibility some of your customers and employees won’t accept it right away. For that reason, it’s important to check in with both groups during the process.

Customers’ opinions matter at every step of the development as their feedback will help you discover everything that needs to be changed and how the program can be improved. It can also allow you to find any bugs before they become an issue.

You can give your customers and employees reference documents through which they can provide you with answers to some common questions and solve common troubleshooting issues.

They can also use it to direct support tickets, but if you’re working with a third service provider, they will provide your users with support.

Why you need customer feedback

Customer experience and satisfaction need to be your number one priority, and here are all the reasons why you need to ask for customer feedback:

  • Customers don’t tolerate bad experiences. In this digital world, it’s easier than ever for customers to be in contact with businesses. While that has many benefits, it’s also a double-edged sword as it’s easier for a customer to have a bad experience and to switch to one of your competitors.
  • They communicate via multiple channels. Nearly 49% of all web traffic comes from mobile phones and whatever you create, it needs to be mobile-friendly. It’s important to communicate with customers to make sure the mobile version of your solution is satisfactory.
  • Customers demand personalization. One of the fastest-growing trends in customer experience is personalization and customers nowadays expect companies to provide at least the minimum personalization, such as knowing their entire purchase history.

How to get employee feedback

When you’re collecting feedback from employees, choose one person that will be in charge of change management and educate all the other employees on the changes that are happening.

It’s important to give your employees a voice and not just push an upgrade up to them, especially since this is a big change for them. Gather input and feedback as early and as often as you can.

Even before you start the digitization process, you need to talk to your staff, see what their daily lives are like, and decide whether that technology will improve their workplace experience. If the answer is no, try to find solutions that will help you find the ideal technology for everyone.

Of course, feedback shouldn’t stop in the early stages of implementation, it should be continual. When you track the employees’ experience through regular feedback, you can spot any issues before they create a bigger problem and have a positive influence on the company morale and productivity.

Many businesses that go through digitization don’t manage to establish new ways of working just because they didn’t involve their employees on time or didn’t collect enough feedback from them.

To avoid this mistake, you need to directly involve those people who will work with the technology every day to get a better understanding of their jobs and gather ideas on how you can improve them. After all, they are the ones who will be affected by this change more than anyone else.

Wrap up

Digitization is one of the best things you can do for your business in the 21st century. And this is not only because a lot of your competitors have already gone through the digitization process.

Another reason you need digitization is that technology will make your business more efficient, boost company morale, and increase customer satisfaction. But only if you do it right.

All this probably seems complicated to you right now, but there’s no need to worry because Sleek can help! 

There are also a multitude of resources available on IMDA that can help you on your journey to digitization. And if you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to us. We are always here to help.

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