12 Feb Digital transformation: Positioning your business to stay competitive
Author: Katie Bussières – President – Nubik
No matter the sector, each business deals with its own particular issues and unique challenges to overcome. To be among the high performers, and the most competitive, you can’t leave anything to chance in any facet of a business. This might be cementing business opportunities, ensuring proper financial controls are in place, or retaining customers. Even businesses that have undergone significant growth inevitably get to a point where they have no choice but to undergo some form of transformation. What are some of the triggers? They could have to deal with new realities of the marketplace, advancements in technology, changes in customers’ demands and expectations or increased competition in the marketplace, among others.
The term “Digital Shift” refers to using new technologies to delegate tasks that are intensive – in time, resources, or costs – in order to better position your business and stay competitive. These technologies operate across several levels:
- Significantly reduce the amount of delays due to interruptions.
- Create a higher level of security than one you could pay for. You may not have been willing, or able, to spend that much to achieve this level of security. Cybersecurity is now accessible to all, no matter the size of the company, or their IT budget.
- Allow you to access your data no matter where you are, and allow you to stay up to date on what’s happening with your business, even if you’re out of the country and have limited IT capacity. A tablet or a phone will work just fine.
- With very limited investment, allow you to benefit from innovations your cloud provider offers – on a recurring basis, and much sooner than what you could have paid for. These innovations are often delivered transparently and seamlessly, and require zero effort from you.
- Make Artificial Intelligence much more accessible (when using certain platforms).
- Above all, don’t require you to maintain dedicated servers.
To be successful, a digital transformation has to help the business better meet its customers’ needs and expectation. It stands to reason then, that the customer experience must be front and centre when thinking about all the aspects of transformation. At the end of the day, the customer experience must be enhanced.
The customer experience happens on various levels, whether it’s improved response times, bid obtention, the quality of the bid, service delivery, product acquisition, or after-sales service. In short, improvements can apply to a wide range of scenarios.
There are huge savings in time (and money!) to be made by optimizing or normalizing certain tasks – you can trim the grey zones and this doesn’t even take into account a decreased risk of errors, or the benefits of standardizing client communication, for example.
Enhanced data analysis has an impact on decision-making and on your relationships with your customers. Data collection is one thing; interpretation is another. Data must be at the heart of every decision, whether big or small. Make decisions with the deepest level of insight on all possible outcomes – this is what will differentiate you from the competition. Also make sure you’re working with the best possible data – both in terms of quantity and quality.
Thanks to new digital technologies, there’s an infinite range of possibilities available to automate certain tasks, in order to review and fine-tune operations. Business processes can be enhanced and significantly improved using technologies that are used by most people every single day.
- You can optimize a delivery-person’s route by using geolocation services.
- You can assign tasks or projects based on the abilities and resources available on different teams.
- The billing process can be triggered by a delivery or service person as soon as they obtain a signature after a service is delivered to a customer.
- Managing online customer requests can be done via online chats.
Today’s technology has a lot to offer, which means processes should be reviewed to take into account the latest technological evolutions, and achieve significant gains in efficiency.
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Once you’ve reviewed and updated your business processes, a large portion of the tasks that likely took a large chunk of time from your managers, will now be automated. For example, updating a variety of Excel reports, which was previously done by your accounting team, sales team or even operations, is now non-existent. Not only do you and your leaders have new information, but also you didn’t have to invest any time to prepare it. This time can now be used to analyze the data, increase your grasp of the issues, and as a result focus on the human element of managing teams to improve your level of employee retention. Your leaders will now be able to focus on strategic priorities, rather than clerical tasks!
Your leaders’ most effective help will come from technology and your management system as you take your first steps in delegating tasks, which will benefit the workers as much as it will management.
To sum up, there have been fundamental changes in our relationship with the technology that we use each day, in every aspect of our lives. It has seeped into how we parent, how we act as consumers, the way we get around, our leisure activities, even how we exercise and our dietary patterns. Correspondingly, businesses also must embrace these technological developments – their employees, business partners, their competition and actually the entire ecosystem in which they operate has changed. Hopefully these changes will also have the same positive impact on your business, and will enable a transformation that results in tremendous gains.
You should constantly be looking at your business through different lenses to make sure it stays competitive. Are you doing it?
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