Digital Transformation

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If there’s one thing that’s certain in business (and life), it’s that there will always be continuous change. In the evolution of how organizations function, there’s no doubt that technology plays a large role and innovation is a key to success. With the term “digital transformation,” being used all over, it’s time to ask and answer: “What is digital transformation?” 

We’ll look at digital transformation trends and how to enact your own digital transformation strategy to drive your organization forward. 

What is Digital Transformation? 

Digital transformation (DT) is the application of technologies to enhance business processes and most importantly, customer experiences. In essence, all technology in use should work to boost customer value as an outcome, whether it be through streamlined process, improved issue resolution, connected data, or the use of analytics for informed decision-making, etc. 

Digital Transformation

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Along with implementing new technologies, the term also refers to the overall cultural shift in how a business chooses to view and adopt technology. This is because transforming digitally calls for a continuous review of how technology works, along with the willingness to experiment and try new solutions as they become available. 

Like the term implies, digital transformation is in fact transformative for a business. Ultimately, it can spell survival for businesses, especially those operating in highly competitive environments (which, let’s face it, is pretty much every business). 

Through long-term effort, a business has the opportunity to improve over time and adopt new technologies in an effort to constantly get better. Keeping up with digital transformation trends helps to make this possible.  

What are Key Components of Digital Transformation? 

Many people seem to confuse the actual technologies in use with the idea of digital transformation on the whole.

While automation is easy to confuse with the term, the difference is that automation is a means to achieve digital transformation. You can have automation without digital transformation, but not the other way around. 

To clarify further, DT involves three main components, namely: 

Technology

Technology is integral to digital transformation, but there are many different types of tools that can be in use, including:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI is the use of machines or software to mimic the intelligence of humans with or without human intervention. 
  • Internet of Things (IoT): IoT refers to devices that have sensors and the ability to process, so that they can connect with other systems and tools to exchange data. 
  • Cloud Computing: Cloud computing delivers computing services (i.e. servers, databases, software, analytics, networking, intelligence, etc.) over the internet (a.k.a. “The cloud”) to enable accessibility and cost effective resources as opposed to on-premise servers. 

Keep in mind that this list is greatly abbreviated, but it paints an example of how wide-ranging technologies can be. 

People

At the real heart of technological transformation are those within your business that actually apply and use the technology to help get their jobs done more efficiently. Not only are employees key, but leadership is also critical to achieve successful digital transformation. Usually, the changes start from the top, so it requires leadership to clearly communicate how technology will augment and support the organization’s people. Change management is critical to quell fears and promote buy-in. 

Processes

With the countless business processes at play at any given time, this is what your technologies and people, act upon. But, in order to successfully implement technologies to improve processes, you must first have a clear outline of what processes are in place, and also where inefficiencies reside. Process mapping tools are a great way to visualize your existing processes to determine how to involve technological solutions to optimize them. 

Best Practices for Digital Transformation Implementation 

Adding new technologies within your business should be a pleasure, not a pain. But, to do so without hurdles, you’ll want to remember the following best practices: 

1. Develop a digital transformation strategy

Sometimes, the hardest part is knowing where to begin. In order to devise a strategy, it’s recommended to focus on specific domains that drive value for the business. For example, you can look at customer journeys or critical business processes. Then, you can identify what type of change you wish to make to then narrow down what resources are required. 

Let’s consider AI-enabled speech recognition tools to see how this can be accomplished in action. Maybe you wish to enhance efficiency or make critical processes more safe for your employees. aiOla’s speech recognition technology would be the perfect resource to use because it can capture business-specific jargon, enable teams to breeze through processes hands-free, and ultimately, improve their safety as they can get their work done (i.e. on manufacturing floors) through just the use of speech. It’s also easy to implement as aiOla doesn’t require any changes to be made to your existing workflows (this makes it more likely to be adopted without employee pushback). 

2. Aligning digital initiatives with business objective

Rather than throwing technologies at your team to see what sticks, implement with purpose. All digital initiatives and chosen digital transformation trends should be aligned with overall business goals. Testing and experimenting can help to see if the technologies you add into your business are achieving the outcome you’d hope for. 

3. Manage change and resistance within organizations

Importantly, change management is going to play a big role in whether or not technology works in your favor. This is because technology doesn’t exist in a silo without people. It takes people to make proper use of it. Leadership has to take on the role of communicating and showcasing the benefits of new tools so that teams (and key stakeholders) are on the same page. 

The Many Benefits of Digital Transformation

The application and use of innovative technology is there to help your business perform better and support customers in new and improved ways. 

Ultimately, with the deployment of new technologies and a team that welcome change, your business stands to gain:

  • Increased productivity
  • Better customer experience and support 
  • Improved employee satisfaction 
  • Greater competitive advantages 
  • Enhanced market positioning 
  • Decreased mistakes and risks 
  • Stronger compliance 
  • Better data capturing abilities 

Think about it like this– when your processes run more smoothly, both customers and employees get to indulge in better experiences. This results in improved retention, customer loyalty, and ultimately, sales! But beyond the bottom line, businesses also gain access to connected data and systems which improve decision making capabilities and the ability to constantly innovate. 

Digital transformation works to enhance the value of your goods/services for customers and end users, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to be on board. 

What to Expect and How to Monitor Efforts 

When welcoming new technologies and ways of doing business into your business, it’ll necessitate constant monitoring and oversight. You wouldn’t want to make a huge investment without knowing whether or not it’s working to achieve your intended goals, right?

That’s why it’s helpful during the planning stages to define what key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll need to track to gauge the impact of a newly introduced technology. For some solutions, the impact is immediately recognizable. 

For example, when you implement aiOla’s speech-enabled technology to help execute mission-critical workflows, teams will notice on-the-spot how much more efficiently and accurately processes get completed. Additionally, on the business side, you gain the added benefit of capturing otherwise lost and unstructured data through speech. With this access, your team can anticipate issues before they arise, all thanks to pattern recognition and trend spotting. In turn, teams can carry out issue resolution quickly to keep everything on track and running smoothly, even across different locations. 

Closing Thoughts

With the countless digital transformation examples you can apply within your organization, it’s no wonder why the term pops up everywhere these days. Digital transformation technologies exist to help streamline business processes, improve customer value, and secure a business’ competitive edge. 

Now that you can answer, “What is digital transformation,” the real question remains–  where will you begin?