Digital transformation is critical to any business, as it helps them remain competitive in the marketplace and keep up with growing customer demand. Digital transformation allows small businesses to apply the right technology within a limited budget, resulting in a better customer experience and a more efficient enterprise.
If you don’t know how to simplify the digital transformation process for your business, having this article on hand as a guide will help you figure it out.
Digital Transformation: What Does it Mean?
The events of 2020-2021 have clearly revealed how important digital transformation is to business success in our rapidly changing society. The outbreak of the pandemic made it clear what features businesses should have to stay on their feet. According to Johnson & Johnson CIO Jim Swanson, “Digital is a loaded word that means many things to many people”. That’s why it’s hard to define digital transformation in today’s world. And yet digital transformation can be described as the integration of digital technologies that can cause changes in the customers’ mindset and provide them with more value.
As consumer expectations increased, the market competition increased as well. For small businesses, staying competitive means embracing digital transformation. Deloitte’s study states that 45% of companies reported a positive impact of digital transformation on business, and they also reported higher net revenue growth. As you can see, financial performance depends on the level of digital transformation tools used by SMBs in their operations. Hence, to thrive in a rapidly changing environment, SMBs should apply digital tools and concepts.
Why Digital Transformation Matters for SMBs in the Post-Covid-19 Times
One of the reasons why SMBs need to go digital is that they need to survive. Today, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, a lot of small businesses are experiencing supply chain disruptions that lead to unforeseen outcomes.
PwC states that 52% of companies plan to cut investments because of COVID-19, while only 9% of companies will make such cuts in the area of digital transformation. That’s why SMBs need to adapt to the ever-changing environment and incorporate the concepts of digital transformation across their businesses. Improving the customer experience is one of the main reasons to digitize your business. The pandemic contributed to the shift in consumer behavior towards online consumption. Under the pandemic, adopting evolving technologies can positively influence customer interactions and help keep SMBs productive.
Digital Transformation in Action: 5 Key Steps to Make it Simple
Develop a money-saving strategy when going digital
When switching to digital technologies, it is important to simplify the process and make it cheaper and easier. As SMBs cannot invest in digital transformation the way large companies do, a simple analytics tool can help integrate existing technology and therefore save money.
Also, customer relationship management (CRM) is one of the stages of digital transformation resulting in a high-performance business. With CRM, small businesses have a better chance to grow their forces. CRM providers usually offer cloud-based solutions for SMBs, resulting in affordable prices.
Identify weaknesses in your business and areas needed to be digitized
To go digital, SMBs must first identify business weaknesses. Identifying the areas that need to be digitized will help facilitate seamless collaboration between different business units. Each internal business unit is a small machine that has potential for improvement, while knowing the areas that need improvement will make your digitization more precise.
As a result, the system will bring all vital business programs into a single engine, allowing small businesses to get one step closer to delivering more value to their customers. Minimizing errors, automation and gradual digitalization will improve company efficiency and be the key to a successful transformation.
Allocate roles and responsibilities among employees
Many employees are not ready to accept the changes related to the digital future of business and oppose the idea of digital transformation. For this reason, the leader of a small or mid-sized business must deal with employees’ fears and doubts. But it’s often the case that business leaders lack the energy to talk to their employees, drive change, and inspire people to innovate. In this case, they can hire a third-party digital transformation specialist or assign digital transformation responsibilities to existing employees.
And while large enterprises can go this way and find consulting firms to manage digital transformation, small businesses don’t have the budget for such innovation. Instead, they can use simple analytics solutions that allow them to make the transition to digital transformation incrementally.
Empower employees with data and advanced technology
Focusing on cutting-edge technology and tools is one of the most important challenges facing SMB executives:
- Providing your employees with accurate information and data can help grow your business;
- Careful research and proper processing of information can positively impact your interactions with customers, employees and partners because it can lead to the satisfaction of all stakeholders;
- Accurate data combined with advanced technology can help create in-demand products.
At the same time, data is becoming increasingly complex, making it difficult for small businesses to use it effectively. Simple digital tools are the way to go. They can help you gather useful analytics that you can share with your stakeholders, making decision-making easier. Meanwhile, investing in machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies will allow you to leverage a wide range of data in the future, helping to increase the digitalization of your business.
Cooperate with tech partner to be one step ahead of competitors
Small businesses often lack the budget to hire a large digital transformation team. That’s why outsourcing some technical tasks will be an effective option. Executives should look for qualified consultants who have experience with SMB digitalization, as small businesses have their specific challenges and issues that need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Highly specialized experts can help identify areas that will show the best return on investment (ROI), they will present technologies that are right for your business and show how effective they can be for you. In addition, digital consultants can help employees by training them to use innovative technology solutions to digitize your business.
Today, in a pandemic environment, many world-class consultants recommend digital transformation as the most important step for every business to stay afloat and succeed in the future. In addition, advanced analytics and simple IT solutions can fit into every small business’ budget. Outsourcing some IT tasks will also help the digital transformation of your business be effective and profitable.
All of this, along with simplifying the digitization process for SMBs, will provide ample opportunity to meet new goals and overcome technological challenges.
Alexey Kutsenko is the Head of Digital Marketing of DDI Development company. He is experienced in the development of the marketing strategy for companies in different industries. He knows how to do the right marketing and watches all current marketing and industry trends.