Digital has worked its way into every structure of our lives. From smart home devices to starting your car remotely from your smartphone, it’s everywhere you turn. The same is true for your business.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the concept of creating new digital technology within your organization or modifying old technology. These modifications benefit the following areas of your business.
- Company culture
- Customer experience
- Business processes
Using digital transformation, you can essentially reimagine your business. It doesn’t focus on any one department of your organization, such as sales or marketing but permeates everything, including how you think about business and engage with customers.
The struggle for some organizations is that there is always another technology project. Prioritizing and organizing these projects can feel overwhelming and all-consuming. Instead of viewing them as IT or technology projects, view them as operations projects and prioritize them in that way.
Small businesses have a wealth of opportunity to set up their business right the first time so as not to have to transform later. These organizations mustn’t shortchange their technology as it could hinder their ability to enter the marketplace and compete effectively.
As you build out your technology and resources, consider how you can future proof it by building a strong foundation from the start. Try never even using paper ledgers or other old ways of doing business so that you don’t have to go back and transform it later.
For companies just starting and ready to undergo digital transformation, we offer helpful information to get started.
Why Digital Transformation Must Be Customer Centric
Your business should center everything it does around its customers. If it doesn’t, your digital transformation efforts won’t pay off because you’ll struggle to get business.
So what is a customer centric technology change? Consider an organization with an outdated financial and accounting system. And because it’s obsolete, customers’ process to order from you or make an online purchase is convoluted and lengthy.
Recognizing the need for change and more straightforward financial resources, the organization makes an update. But they don't view the change through a customer lens. Everything on the company-facing end of things improves but the customer side doesn't get a facelift. The old way of doing things remains, but now the company has enhanced dashboards for viewing money coming in and going out.
Such changes show a massive missed opportunity for organizations undergoing digital transformation. In this example, the organization is simply focused on digitalization instead of digital transformation. That’s because their views were internal and not on the customer.
A better example of a financial system change would be to allow the customer to build a profile and login when it’s time to reorder or purchase something new from your organization. This streamlines the ordering process once you have their necessary information and can still work wonders for what your finance and accounting team deals with on the system backend.
The big difference here is that now you’ve made it easier to do business with you and improved your customer experience. Now customers are more likely to purchase from you again and share their positive experience with others as word-of-mouth advertising.
Why Digital Transformation Matters
Digital transformation is important for so many reasons, but the biggest is that it enables you to compete. If your competitors are adapting to customer needs faster and better than you are, customers will naturally gravitate toward those competitors – no matter how good your products or services are.
Organizations must be agile and can’t get set in their ways. Perhaps one of the most significant examples of our time for why agility is so important is the coronavirus pandemic. Suddenly, organizations around the world had to pivot how they did business.
Sadly, many organizations had to close their doors. Consumer behavior might change permanently due to the pandemic, and the organizations that can adapt quickly will likely be the largest market shareholders in their industry.
The reality is that regardless of the challenges businesses face in the future, digital is here to stay. Organizations that embrace the digital age fully will be the ones that thrive and succeed the most. Businesses can’t afford a “wait and see” perspective because it’s clear that technology isn’t going anywhere.
What Are the Possibilities with Digital Transformation?
The concept of digital transformation is not so much about completing work faster within your regular routines. Instead, it’s about asking how technology can adapt the way you do things to delight customers.
Consider a company like Amazon that changed the way we live. They started small as an online new and used book distributor. As they learned what customers liked about the online shopping experience, they expanded.
Today, Amazon has products and services in just about every imaginable category, and they grow that offering daily.
Or instead, consider the Google search engine. When it started, the concept of searching the web was still new. And while the company has many competitors, somehow the term "Google" has become a verb in the English language synonymous with the concept of looking something up.
How is it that companies like Google and Amazon have become so ingrained in our lives? It’s simple. They viewed digital transformation through the eyes of the consumer to learn what could be possible. And from there, they never stopped asking questions and adapting to meet new customer wants and needs, perhaps even before the customer knew they wanted it.
How Can Businesses Get Started with Digital Transformation?
Getting started with digital transformation is about listening to your customers more. Start tracking reasons for customer service calls to learn your customers’ pain points. And once you know these pain points, you can begin to resolve them.
According to Conversational, there are four main reasons why customers contact customer service.
- They’re looking for detailed information on buying from you, including product specifications, shipping and warranty information, return policy details, and a detailed feature list.
- Something went wrong, or they’re unhappy with their service. During these calls, customers might share a dissatisfaction with the product or service, make refund demands, request store credit or information on upgrading the product or service to make it better.
- The customer has questions about information on your website or how to make a purchase. In this case, something about your website is unclear, or customers are unsure about how to take the next step in making a purchase. This might be due to technical errors, oversight, or it just might be too confusing for customers.
- They want to talk to someone about an exception or a question your website information cannot answer. Calling your organization gives them a chance to explain themselves and feel like their voice is heard, perhaps even by talking to a supervisor.
So how can your organization take this information and start using it for digital transformation? It begins with filling in gaps in the customer experience. Technology can play an essential role in doing that.
Start tracking more detailed trends about such calls. Instead of just broadly categorizing something as a website question, go deeper into what the call is concerning. Are users unable to access their website login? Is there a checkout option that’s missing or customization on a product you need to add?
These are examples of tiny changes. But starting small can help you shift your mindset and your organization’s focus to be less focused on how technology changes internal processes and more focused on how it impacts the customer.
Digital Transformation Tools
Some organizations need to start back at the beginning and build a strong technology foundation for their business. This might mean reevaluating several aspects of your business, including the foundation of your network.
A cloud-based network provides added security and flexibility to your organization. By leveraging the cloud, you can enable a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to provide your team more flexibility. The more flexible your team is, the easier it will be to build flexible customer solutions to everyday problems.
Using cloud services, you can also improve the speed and responsiveness of customer-facing technology. Whether you’re a SaaS company looking to speed up your software or an online retailer hoping to make the checkout process more streamlined, cloud technology can help.
AOP offers superior customer service and solutions when it comes to cloud services. When you work with us, you aren’t just purchasing a service you have to figure out yourself. We’ll guide you in the migration and ongoing use of the cloud. And you’ll find incredible speed and performance improvements compared to local hosting.
Ready to learn more? Schedule a free 30-minute consultation call with our experts. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about cloud services and explain how you can use cloud services in your digital transformation.