Forced Digital Transformation – How to Adapt
If there is a silver lining to the COVID 19 economic shutdown it’s that it has forced the hand of SMBs from across the world. They must either accept that digital transformation is inevitable, or prepare to close doors for good. Now we know “forced” doesn’t exactly sound like a silver lining, but it really is in this scenario. Digital transformation (DT) provides for better cyber security, productivity, and business continuity and lets you keep up with the competition while leaving those who do not adopt DT in the dust. That said, you may feel a bit intimidated and unprepared for DT. Many companies actually fail in their initial attempt which costs time and financial resources that they may not have during this trying time. Fortunately, you have found this article. Below is a practical look at how you can prepare your company for successful digital transformation.
5 Key Steps to Achieving Digital Transformation as Quickly and Efficiently as Possible
1. Define Your Goals
Even though you’re going into this with little time to plan, don’t go blind into digital transformation. Consider the available budget for each department, then define goals by their respective needs. Remember that DT should be company-wide, so touch on all divisions within your organization to see where improvements can be made. For example, operations in one department may be getting repetitive and will benefit from immediate automation – freeing staff up to work on more important (revenue generating) tasks. Alternatively, staff in some departments may be required to work remotely, demanding a cloud-based productivity tool (more on this below) that allows them to do so effectively and securely.
Before making these decisions solicit input from everyone in the company. As a high-level executive you may not fully grasp where technology can improve workload and operations by department. In addition to getting feedback from staff, tap into the data you have available. Diving deep into your CRM, website analytics, and other data-capturing tools that you use can help you make more informed decisions. If you don’t have access to this kind of data, you can clearly see why forced digital transformation is a good thing.
2. Leverage the Power of MS 365
While you can use a variety of productivity tools to help you achieve successful digital transformation, there is no software as a service (SaaS) than can turn things around in the right direction (and quickly) quite like Microsoft 365 for Business. You’re already familiar with Office 365 as a cloud-based service that brings together the best tools for the modern workplace. But by integrating MS Teams you enhance productivity like never before. MS Teams serves as a hub for staff and project group collaboration in Office 365, integrating the people, content, and tools that employees, executives, and contractors need to be more engaged and effective at their respective jobs. Factor in the AI-powered platform Microsoft MyAnalytics and you’ll gain a tool that actually helps staff spend less time “working” and more time “creating” while enjoying more downtime – something that effectively fosters productivity by preventing burnout. It will be easy to get buy-in from your staff when they witness the power of MS 365.
3. Train Your Staff on DT
Fear of the unknown is one of the biggest reasons companies hold off on digital transformation. But ironically fear is now the driving force, as the global crisis (economic and otherwise) has made it downright mandatory for companies to shift operations online and into the cloud. However, it still remains to be a barrier when it comes to human resources. From warehouse to upper management your staff has become accustomed to doing things a certain way, no matter how antiquated. Resistance to change will stifle your ability to capitalize on the benefits of DT, but thankfully the barriers come tumbling down through education.
Make sure everyone in your corporate hierarchy (including key suppliers/partners) is trained on what changes are being made and ensure that everyone who is impacted, either directly or indirectly, is educated on how to use this technology. This is important not only to promote efficiency in their respective positions, but to create redundancies so that operations and emergencies are covered even when a key member is not available.
It’s important to note that by following the advice in item #1 above, staff and stakeholders will have already been brought into the DT decision making process. Follow-up training upon IT integration will be much easier when they are already invested.
4. Train Customers and Clients Too
Even companies who have successfully introduced digital transformation into their workplace environment often miss this one. Your customers and clients need to be kept up to date as well. There may be changes that impact them directly, such as purchasing processes, product delivery, and how you manage their data. The latter (data) is of upmost importance because their are also cybersecurity implications. Need an example?
Last year, Coast Capital Savings accounts were compromised in an email phishing scheme that cost members hundreds of thousands of dollars. Claims were made that the federal credit union was negligent in safeguarding member accounts. Among concerns, impacted members cited the allowance of weak passwords to “protect” their accounts. Some believed that the institution should have better advised members on password management best practices. Since corporate responsibility is closely tied tightly to the digital age we live in, the onus falls on organizations to show that every reasonable effort was made to educate customers and clients on risk, especially as it applies to your own DT adoption.
5. Secure a Partner in DT
Outside IT support services are critical to successful digital transformation. It’s tempting to cut costs and secure the hardware and software needed to transform operations on your own, but without expert guidance you are likely to invest in the wrong tools, ones that are not scalable nor customizable to account for the goals you set (as per item #1). Plus, it’s a ground-up process, which means that you need a partner to assist with everything from budgeting and physical office set-up (which may require a relocation) to in-house IT staff scheduling and third party management.
SAV Technology has ushered a sizable number of small, medium, and large businesses into the digital transformation era. While the clock is ticking in 2020 it’s certainly not too late. Simply contact us today to start with a friendly conversation.