As a business owner, you are probably being inundated with calls to transform your business for the digital age, especially now. Digital transformation is essential to keeping your business going right now and even after this season of life, we’ll continue to see more digital transformation than ever before.
Some industries are better set up than others to take advantage of all that a digital transformation can offer. For example, we at Mutually Human have had a fairly seamless transition to remote working during this pandemic as we are used to having employees set up in different locations. Car manufacturers, on the other hand, have many more structural challenges facing them when considering a digital workforce.
But whether the transition is seamless, complicated, difficult or easy, there are many benefits your company can realize from a digital transformation that can make it all worth it.
7 Benefits of a Digital Transformation
While this pandemic may be a once in a generation occurrence, many things are not. Tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters happen on a regular basis. Having a business that can operate fully, or even mostly, digitally will allow you to continue operations no matter what happens.
Reduced Costs and Increased Efficiency
A digital transformation will allow you to automate and streamline your business processes. This can create efficiencies, both in time and cost. One of our clients experienced huge savings in time and money through their digital transformation. As a summer testing program, they received all student tests through the mail, recorded them, graded them, recorded the grades, and then mailed out the results. By undergoing a digital transformation, they were able to completely automate this process and allow students to upload their tests and receive their results, all through their phone.
Spreadsheets, for example, are a great and important first step of digital transformation, but they can be outgrown and many companies hold on to them long after they have become unwieldy and plagued with processes seemingly designed to introduce inaccuracies. For example, a client of ours used spreadsheets to track client cases in individual spreadsheets. When it was time to collect or record information about a client, an employee had to touch hundreds of spreadsheets. A true digital transformation will help you reduce much of this and increase efficiency.
News flash: Humans are not always perfect. As if we didn’t already know that, right? Manual processes will always have some element of human error. Transforming your manual processes to using custom-built software allows accuracy to improve. Software can do calculations for you, provide reports or dashboards, send alerts and notifications, and more. These types of features can reduce errors or surface items that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Remember the spreadsheet example? Think about the chances of missing a couple of the hundred spreadsheets when updating client information. Custom software would allow that change to be made once.
As you digitalize, you will have easier access to a lot more data than you had before. This access can give you more insights that will allow you to optimize service, cut costs, reduce waste, and make informed business decisions.
A few years ago we had a law firm as a client. They also struggled with too many spreadsheets, no centralized system for organization, and really needed custom software to help create a digital transformation in their organization. With this approach and diving into a digital transformation, they are able to not only access their data in a much easier way, but can actually utilize their analytics more.
Remember that data is only as useful as what you can glean from it. If you have lots of data but no way to quickly understand what it’s telling you, are you able to effectively use that data?
Improved Customer Service
To understand how much a digital transformation can revolutionize the customer experience you just need to think about hotels and airlines. A handful of hotel chains now allow you to not only check-in online but use your phone as a hotel key. This allows you to bypass the front desk entirely if there is a line or it’s late and you just want to get to your room. Airlines now all allow you to check-in online and use a digital boarding pass, meaning the only line you face now is at security. These two industries have taken a friction-filled part of the customer experience and made it much smoother. How many customers do you think are making their decisions based on the removal of these friction points?
Ability to Offer New Products/Services
Sometimes a digital transformation is about taking what you’re doing and just shifting it a little bit and sometimes it’s about creating something entirely new. One of our clients – IEE is a great example of this.
IEE is an educational consultancy that provides in-person training to teachers. They go into classrooms, observe and coach teachers in areas that they can improve in. This is the main service they offer, but they began to realize that there is a large group of teachers that want coaching, but don’t want extensive in-person coaching. Together, we built an app for teachers that provides content and coaching virtually. This is a whole new product offering that can be a completely new revenue stream now.
The world of COVID-19 opens a really interesting perspective on what it means to be competitive. Now businesses are forced to interact with customers in mainly digital ways to stop the transmission of this disease and flatten the curve. However, even in a normal, non-pandemic world, the customer experiences companies that have transformed digitally can change the way that customers make decisions. How much of what you buy on Amazon did you use to go to a store to buy even if it is a little more inconvenient at times?
Regardless of your industry, product or service, you have competitors that are already pursuing these kinds of transformations so there will be a day when you will fall behind. At some point in the near future, it won’t be about getting ahead, it will be about keeping pace.
To learn more about creating a digital transformation in your organization, check out our latest podcast episode where we cover this and more!