Digital transformation and mobility have evolved from hypes to must-haves for businesses of all sizes. Both large and small-scale industries across the world have either already adopted these technology trends or are planning to do so. The adaptability and readiness of an industry for digital transformation have become indicative of its ability to survive in today’s competition and achieve growth.
I’ll take a step back here to explain digital transformation and related processes:
Digitalization of Business Processes
Business processes, especially retail and supply chain, are largely benefited by digital transformation. Automation of processes such as inventory not only eliminates understocking and overstocking issues but also decreases the time taken for resupply.
Digitalization also increases the accuracy of processes and provides real-time updates. This enables companies to avoid redundancies of work and focus on their core competencies and explore new opportunities.
Digitalization of customer experience:
This is the most important aspect of digital transformation. It broadens the customer reach for any business and can be achieved in the following ways:
- Making information about the company and its products available online,
- Automating some of the customer care processes, and
- Gathering and analyzing data from different social media platforms to analyze customer
The focus of the approach is to enhance customer experience by the integration of the latest technologies. For example, in Retail and eCommerce, digitalization helps gather important data about customer preferences, location, browsing pattern, and fit. The information helps the companies evolve into a customer-centric model and away from the earlier product-centric model.
Digitalization of work culture
The digital wave is changing the way people live and work. The proliferation of mobile technology and expectations of 24*7 availability demands changes in work culture. Mobility, big data, and cloud computing are the biggest enablers of digital workforce.
- Mobility: It mainly refers to the 24*7 availability of the workforce through the use of smart and connected technologies. It is also the first visible step of digital transformation for any industry. It allows the workforce to access data, collaborate with their teams, and be available for customer support from anywhere.
- However, it is not only about adoption of the latest technologies to optimize resources. It must go beyond that and should lead to a dynamic change in the way a company strategizes and seizes opportunities. Mobility in the workforce by itself cannot lead to a successful digital transformation without the latter.
- Big data: The proliferation of big data is leading to digital transformation of both big and small enterprises. The successful analysis of big data can arm companies with better understanding of customer preferences and the most successful way to approach them.
- Gone are the days of small focus groups and indirect marketing to reach target customers. Big and small-scale industries can now mine the veritable trove of big data available in almost all industries to perfect their customer reach. However, the very vastness of the big data creates panic among many industries about the best way to analyze
The best approach regarding this would be to attempt it slowly and on a small scale. Instead of trying to extract all the information contained in the big data at one go, analyzing the data for information about a few critical business processes would be best.
- Cloud computing: Cloud computing allows both big and large enterprises to modernize their IT infrastructure and innovate the way they serve their A secure cloud platform is the cornerstone of a mobile workforce, and should be the first focus of companies going for digital transformation.
They allow workers to access data and collaborate with teams remotely. Digital transformation of the workforce dramatically increases output and productivity.
The Current Status of Digital Transformation
Even though digital transformation is the need of the hour and has a myriad of benefits, its implementation in companies has been far from successful. Merely adopting all the latest technologies, such as Internet of Things (IoT), big data, analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and expecting high Return on Investment (ROI) and instant profit is naive and wishful thinking.
Digital transformation has to face the same roadblocks to success as any new change— resistance to anything new, confusion between the old and new formats, lack of proper training of the workforce, and, most important, lack of proper planning and execution.
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The Future Roadmap
The most important step for digital transformation for both large and small-scale industries is the recognition of the fact that digital transformation is not just digitization of the existing business processes, it is the process of utilizing the latest technologies to make all business processes better and more efficient. Like any other process, it has to be followed consistently and for a long term to yield maximum benefits.
The following are the ways both small and large-scale industries can increase their adaptability to digital transformation:
A complete change in the company mindset, from the top management to the lowest rung, is required for successful digital transformation. The largest part of the IT budget in many enterprises is still being spent on maintaining legacy infrastructure, and the general workforce is not ready to accept and adapt to new technologies thinking that like all new changes this too shall be gone. Hence, a dedicated commitment to change is a prerequisite.
● Identifying goals:
There is no one fix all approach for digital transformation. The approach for successful implementation in one company may not at all be relevant for another company. So, identifying goals specific to the company adopting digital transformation is the first step. As each company is unique in the way it functions, the goals would also be unique. The goals should be for both short and long terms and be measurable.
● Continuous training and positive reinforcement:
The latest technologies and tools would be ineffective without their proper utilization by the workforce. For this, proper training and positive reinforcement for effective utilization should be provided to human resources. The training should not be a one-time affair but given at regular intervals to properly detect any gap in knowledge and remedy them. The positive reinforcement can be either in the form of reward or recognition for successful utilization.
As we all know, it is not the strongest that survive a change, but the one most ready to adapt to the change. The future of the world economy is in digital transformation, and any company, be it large or small, unable or not ready for the transition is not going to survive.