Many companies jump on the Digital Transformation journey without realising the time frame of the change, all the potential downsides and the amount of work you have to complete to achieve set goals.
However, before we go any further, let’s define what is digital transformation and why everyone is talking about it?
Digital Transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new, or modify existing business processes, culture and customer experiences, to meet changing business and market requirements.
It is a “reimagining of business in the digital age”.
Put simply, it’s about looking at what you want to do or are currently doing and seeking to improve that experience using digital technology.
Once you’ve decided to embark on your Digital Transformation journey, you need to be aware of the potential pitfalls you can get on the way to your goals.
We’ve talked about the main pitfalls in Digital Transformation in our previous blog post – read here.
Now that you know the main downsides of the trends, we want to showcase to you what sort of technologies will you need to succeed.
We found the next 4 key technology areas in Digital Transformation that are central to every successful project.
1. Visualisation and Insights.
The phrase “a picture paints a thousand words” is most appropriate here. Think about what data is needed to help improve and understand processes. Then, how this can be shown so that anyone can get the information they need at a glance, rather than having to drill down through reports or spreadsheets.
There are many technology vendors, such as the 3 Gartner Leaders – Microsoft Power BI, Tableau and Qlik. They all provide excellent solutions to help you not only visualise the data but also interact with them to drill into insights that surface. Many of these also have Artificial Intelligence backed engines so that they will spot trends in your data automatically and highlight anomalies or outliers.
2. Data Management.
Whilst visualisation & insights can be powerful to help you get the most useful information as part of your Digital Transformation – without clean, reliable data, it can be a disaster.
We had one example of a customer who had sites across Europe and wanted to know the total number of each item sold across all sites. When we started to look at the data, they had the same item being sold in 15 different sites with 15 different names – and no link between them in their systems.
Looking at your data and understanding it should be a top priority at the start of any Digital Transformation project. You need to ensure you have, or can get, clean data to enable you to achieve your goals.
There are lots of technologies out there that offer data management capabilities, so when reviewing, look for these 3 key features:
- Workflow – looking at how the tool can force a ‘journey’ of data to ensure data is entered correctly and keep it simple for users.
- Approvals – seeing how data is governed and audited to ensure its accuracy and integrity.
- Security – understanding how the data is secured can restrict who can see or edit pieces of data.
There are many ways to implement automation as part of a Digital Transformation project, but often the simplest place to start is by looking at what tasks need to be done by the process under review. By understanding how important each of these tasks are and how often they are done, you can identify those that will have the biggest impact by automating them. You should also review how complex they are to perform, as those less complex tasks should be easier to automate, and thus will give the greatest return for the least investment. You should also seek to automate any approvals or business logic if the criteria for it can be defined.
As a simple example, let’s imagine you have a process when each new customer requests from your sales team approval from credit control. You could automate some of those approvals based on a rule. For example, only those who are requesting a credit limit greater than £100. You might not believe it but the time saved could be worth more than the risk of letting some be auto-approved.
Of course, it would be safer to add some more business logic to this to reduce the risk. For instance, you could segment the customers into industries and have that auto-approve limit variable by customer type. However, in any case, it’s about looking for the processes and understanding where automation can save time and add value.
In essence, integration is how your systems will interface with each other – and getting this right can be the difference between a successful Digital Transformation and a failed one.
These days, most systems have an API (which stands for Application Programming Interface) or some other interface which allows systems to be programmed to either send or receive data with each other. However, just because they have an API, doesn’t mean they can interface with other systems in the way you want or need them to. APIs typically have a specification – and this outlines what you can do with them and what you can’t.
For example, your accounts system might have an API to let you export your data to a visualisation tool. Although, if it doesn’t have an API to create invoices, then you might find it difficult to integrate with your online shopping site. For this reason, it’s recommended that you review your existing systems for the integration methods they support and use that to help plan your Digital Transformation journey.
In some cases, this can highlight what systems you have that may need to be upgraded or replaced to achieve your goals. However, no matter the fact, always ask your Digital Transformation partner if they can review other ways to integrate your systems.
In conclusion, there are many points you should be aware of when you decide to upgrade your business and make it digitally available. This is the reason why you should choose a Digital Transformation partner that can lead you to the best practices from the industry where your business is placed.
Chat with us to learn more about Digital Transformation and how it can change your company!