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There is nothing new about digital transformation. While the term was coined back in 2011, the process of using digital technology to optimise your business goes back at least to the end of the last millennium. Despite this, and despite the acknowledgement by just about everyone that industries need to integrate technology into their systems in order to grow and thrive in the modern world, true digital transformation has, more often than not, been viewed as a grudge purchase rather than a business opportunity.
A case of simple misunderstanding.
Adapting to an increasingly digital world and taking advantage of digital technologies to improve operations and drive customer value is important for any modern business. Yet, historically, there has been a misunderstanding as to what true digital transformation entails, with many companies seeing it as merely adding a digital layer to their already functioning business. Fortunately, that perception is changing, making way for a realisation that the digital business environment is fundamentally different from the traditional one. It isn’t just about adding a new process here, upgrading your IT infrastructure there, it is a structural change that involves an evolution of process as well as company culture. And it needs to be driven from the top, not from the IT department.
So, what has triggered this change in attitude? Well, the world is. Globalisation, digital transformation, business automation and increasing security threats are already driving the changes that are happening in industries both global and local, and now we have a pandemic to add to the mix.
The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted troubling issues that many businesses have been experiencing. Businesses that were merely surviving, hoping that 2020 might afford them the opportunity to get ahead, have gone under. Businesses that were simply ‘making do’ with their digital infrastructure, adopting the attitude of ‘why fix it if it isn’t broken?’ have found themselves scrambling to operate efficiently in the new, Covid world. On the positive side, the test case for remote working has been undertaken on a global scale and, for many, has proven a success, and numerous companies have used technology to adapt quickly, changing their processes and, often, their business models in order to continue operating.
The new way of working.
The pandemic is a wake-up call for businesses that have been late to the digital transformation party. In an unforgiving environment, they are scrambling to play catch-up and cobble together some form of digital competence that will see them through the crisis. Businesses that have already developed and implemented digital strategies, on the other hand, have a decided competitive advantage when trying to navigate the new way of doing business. Yes, they still face challenges, after all technology isn’t the cure-all for every business obstacle that the pandemic has created, but they have the tools and infrastructure needed to adapt and remain nimble in an ever- changing business environment.
“The pandemic is a wake-up call for businesses that have been late to the digital transformation party. In an unforgiving environment, they are scrambling to play catch-up and cobble together some form of digital competence that will see them through the crisis.”
Through technology they can improve efficiency and reduce waste by streamlining operations and automating manual processes – a decided advantage in our highly competitive landscape. They are also able to optimise the performance of their staff, allowing them to collaborate no matter where they are working from. Data has value, and digitally-enabled businesses are able to mine their customer data and turn it into valuable information. Finally, in a world of increasing cyber threats, they are better prepared to identify and nullify danger.
Living in ‘the new normal’ has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that technological innovation is essential for business longevity. Now, rather than a grudge purchase, it is, rightly, being seen as an essential business tool that allows your company to operate efficiently, seamlessly and collaboratively. The right systems, when integrated into your business structure, can elevate your business, giving it the advantage it needs to innovate in difficult times.
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