In its simplest form, digital transformation is the journey of using digital technologies to build new (or modify existing) business processes, cultures and customer experiences. Such changes are usually embarked upon in order to meet changing business and/or market conditions.
This transformation can take many forms, and is not ‘one size fits all’. For example, for a doctors surgery, digital transformation could take the shape of video call appointments. For a financial bank, it could be the development and launch of an online banking app. One of the most famous digital transformations was Netflix, whose journey saw them transform from a DVD distributor, to a leading online streaming service.
This reimagining of business processes ultimately aims to improve business operations by delivering better value for customers, improving business efficiency and productivity, keeping a better control of cost and helping to better manage risk. It is not always as simple as new hardware and software, it involves a change in mindset and the adoption of a new digital-focussed strategy.
Digital transformation can benefit businesses and organisations of all sizes and industries:
- Manufacturing— the internet of things (IoT) can increase efficiency and profitability by enabling predictive maintenance and process improvement, reducing machine downtime and scrap material.
- Retail— digital technology uses digital devices, channels, and platforms to create an improved customer experience.
- Healthcare— digital technology can improve patient outcomes and reduce costs by enabling remote patient monitoring, telemedicine, and personalised medicine.
- Financial services— digital technology can improve customer experience, reduce costs, and increase revenue by enabling mobile banking, digital payments, and personalised financial advice.
- Education— digital technology can improve student engagement and outcomes, and reduce costs by enabling personalised learning, online learning, and digital textbooks.
Although digital transformation can be expensive, the benefits outweigh any of the costs involved. The costs of this new technology and training can ultimately result in an even greater return in the form of customer loyalty, efficiency, and speed, as well as operational efficiency. It can also assist in making a business more appealing as a place of work, especially to those new to the job market, who may value this investment in technology from a potential employer.
Digital transformation is not without its challenges. Some businesses struggle with buy-in and understanding across the business, especially where the workforce and processes have been unchanged for a long period of time. Such challenges can be overcome with careful and sensitive management, where training is prioritised, not rushed and given the importance it deserves.
If you’re unsure where and how to start your journey of digital transformation, then reach out to our experts. You can ask them the tough questions, and they can help you spot any problems or opportunities within your current operations.