You have probably heard the term ‘digital transformation’ so much in recent years that it’s become like a car alarm…it’s honking continuously but you don’t even pay attention anymore. What it is, and how you can achieve it has become so convoluted, that we’ve tried to simplify it below into real-world terms that can be practically implemented.
In the simplest terms, a digital transformation should focus on revamping:
Processes look different in every company – some are still working with, distributing and storing paper, others are using electronic files. But true process transformation can only happen when your processes actually change. For example, how do you currently approve invoices in accounts payable? Are they physically distributed during which they often get misplaced on someone’s desk? Do they get emailed out but have no tracking or monitoring for responses?
A digital transformation can only occur when new technology is implemented to create new processes. For an invoice that means automating how it is received, categorized, distributed and approved. Invoices can be captured electronically, automatically processed and routed through electronic workflows, and approvals can be completed from anywhere, on any device. Simply put, transforming processes, like described with invoices, makes your company more efficient by reducing the time it takes to complete essential and previously manual tasks.
As with processes, simply implementing the newest technology doesn’t make for a digital transformation – you must make significant changes to the way your business operates, and how decisions are made, using that technology. Operations can forever be changed for the better with increased visibility to your processes. Employees can access any documents from anywhere, managers can track processes and make adjustments in real-time, and executives can identify ways to decrease costs and maximize productivity throughout the organization.
Let’s use invoices again as an example – creating automation with workflow is key, but so is setting up alerts for when an invoice sits in someone’s inbox too long. Many businesses incur late payments by not processing invoices in time, so creating ways to eliminate late payments impacts your bottom line. The same can be said for using technology to streamline operations in HR. For instance, ensuring employment applications aren’t lost and are processed quickly so you can hire the best candidates changes operations. Creating self-service portals so employees can access their own documents, or managing licenses and certifications for technicians simplifies day-to-day tasks, thereby creating operational efficiencies so employees can focus on bigger picture issues.
In many ways, transforming your processes and operations inherently transforms your customer experience. For customers, it’s just easier to do business with a digital company. Communications is easier, because your company is able to support your customers in a more-timely manner. And let’s face it, becoming a customer-centric business is a clear necessity for any business.
In today’s digital world customers have much better information about your competition so you must find ways to keep these ‘always-connected’ customers connected to YOU. A recent article in Forbes stated that 56% of CEOs say digital improvements have led to increased revenue, and that digital transformation and a focus on customer experience can generate a 20-30% increase in customer satisfaction and economic gains of 20-50%. Transforming how your business runs, while keeping customers top of mind, will result in positive gains.
While it’s not an easy concept to get started on, we have an easy answer about where to start – eliminate your paper. Going paperless is truly the first step in any digital transformation, because to be a digital company, your company’s data MUST be digital.
We would love to help you find the right solution. If you are interested in learning how to start your digital transformation journey, there is a webinar on going paperless with your Sage 300 system on January 27, 2021, at 11am PST/2pm EST. You can also reach out to us with your questions or your contact information and we will get you registered.