Why you should digitally transform your company
Now, more than ever, the effective use of digital technologies is a key factor in the success of small businesses. They allow a small company to punch well above its weight and to compete cost-effectively in the market.
Digital Transformation can help an SME to:
- Reach new markets and customer segments that were previously out of reach
- Create efficiencies and optimize internal operations
- Improve the quality and variety of products and services on offer.
In short, Digital Transformation offers a real opportunity for SMEs to grow their businesses in today's world.
Getting started - understanding your company workflows
The best way to start your Digital Transformation journey is to take a step back and understand how your company currently operates. This will help you to identify which areas of the business could be most improved with digital solutions.
Once you have a good understanding of your workflows, you can start to look at the various digital tools that are, both off-the-shelf and via a bespoke solution.
The kind of processes you should focus on are:
- Marketing and lead generation
- Sales processing
- Customer service and support
- Finance and Accounting
- Human resources
- Supply chain management.
Digital Transformation is not a one size fits all solution, but by taking the time to understand your company's specific needs, you can tailor a Digital Transformation strategy that works for you.
Start small and scale
One of the biggest mistakes SMEs make when approaching Digital Transformation is to try and do too much, too quickly. It's important to remember that Digital Transformation is a journey, not a destination.
It's often best to start small, with one or two processes, and then build on your success as you go. This will help to ensure that any changes you make are sustainable in the long term.
It's also worth bearing in mind that your workforce will need time to adapt to a new digital workflow. You are probably going to be replacing manual processes that have been in place for a while, so give your employees the time and training they need to make the transition. It's also important to include your staff in the initial part of the process, after all, they are the ones who deal with it day in, day out.
Dealing with resistance
Be aware of the fact that there is often resistance to the status quo changing. This is especially true when it comes to Digital Transformation, as it can be seen as a threat to people's jobs.
The best way to deal with this resistance is to communicate early and often. Make sure everyone understands why you are embarking on a Digital Transformation journey and what the benefits will be for the company as a whole. It's also important to keep employees updated on your progress, so they can see that change is happening and that it's positive. Communicate the benefits that your staff should expect when the process is complete, such as:
- Increased efficiency
- Improved quality of products and services
- Reduced costs.
Off-the-shelf or Bespoke?
There are many off-the-shelf solutions you can start with, for example:
- Cloud-based accounting software
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
- Marketing automation platforms.
The advantage of these solutions is that they are usually quick and easy to set up and get started with. The downside is that they may not fit your company's specific needs and you may find yourself having to work around the software, rather than the other way around. Another option is to go for a bespoke solution, which is designed specifically for your company's Digital Transformation journey. This can be more expensive upfront but will be tailored exactly to your needs, making it easier to implement and giving you a better return on investment in the long run.
One of the greatest benefits of adopting a bespoke approach is just that, it's bespoke. It will be tailored exactly to your company's needs and will dovetail perfectly with the current way your company operates.
Don't forget, a bespoke solution can also be used to integrate with off-the-shelf solutions and bring them all together into a single point-of-truth system. For example, you may have a CRM system and an accounting system that don't talk to each other. A bespoke Digital Transformation solution can be used to connect these disparate systems, making your life much easier.
Digital Transformation can be a daunting prospect, but by taking the time to understand your company's specific needs, you can tailor a Digital Transformation strategy that works for you. Start small and scale up as you go, communicating with your employees at every step of the way. And finally, decide whether an off-the-shelf or bespoke solution is right for you.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to make the decision that is right for your company. Whatever route you decide to take, Digital Transformation can bring many benefits to your SME business.
These include increased efficiency, improved quality of products and services, reduced costs, and a more streamlined workflow. So what are you waiting for? Start your Digital Transformation journey today!