For many small to medium-sized enterprises, digital transformation is about a lot more than just change. It’s about leveraging the full power of modern technology to your advantage, making sure that the tech you and your people depend on is properly aligned with both your organisation’s long-term needs and the needs of the audience you’re trying to serve. Naturally, this process isn’t as simple as flipping a proverbial light switch — it takes a great degree of thought, planning and, yes, preparation.
Digital transformation will bring about disruption both in ways you can predict and those you can’t —this part is largely out of your control. What you can control, however, boils down to how you choose to prepare for this transformation in your organisation’s life. If you’re considering how to go about it, there are a few key things you need to keep in mind.
Without a Digital Strategy, Transformation is Meaningless
One of the key steps you need to consider when it comes to preparing your business for a digital transformation involves the development and execution of a digital strategy. Without a digital strategy at the heart of your efforts, you’re really just buying into the latest technology for the sake of it. You don’t have a clear view of the value that you’re going to unlock or, more importantly, how you’re going to unlock it.
To eliminate this challenge, you need to take a granular approach to digital strategy development. Once you’ve decided on the shape that your digital transformation will take and, more importantly, why this is the right move at this particular time, you need to prepare both your functional team and your key users. Arm the people who configure, manage, and support your systems with the information and resources they need to act, and make sure that key users have a voice in any and all decisions that are being made.
At the same time, use the disruption represented by a digital transformation to train all of your users to perform at the highest levels. Remember that every change represents an opportunity, provided that you know how to take advantage of it. Design your training with criteria like sustainability and accessibility in mind, and get people comfortable with the fact that they’re going to be thinking and acting differently than they’re used to.
Likewise, you need to measure performance, seize opportunities to optimise it, and measure it again all throughout this process. But again — without a digital strategy driving your efforts from the very start, all of this will be difficult to achieve.
Don’t Fear Your Competitors — Learn From Them
Take comfort knowing that if the idea of digital transformation makes you nervous, the same can likely be said of your competitors, too. This is one of those times where it’s actually a great idea to take a look at what your competitors are doing, particularly in terms of their own innovation and digital transformation strategy efforts.
How are their product, marketing, and operational initiatives changing during this time? What collaborative endeavours are they now able to execute with customers and how? What recent technology acquisitions did they make? Are there any new entrants into the market that you need to be aware of?
The answers to these questions can also help guide your own digital transformation efforts to ensure that they’re properly aligned with the needs of the marketplace you’re trying to serve, but can also help identify potential problems. Did your biggest competitor just make a massive mistake with their digital transformation efforts? Learn from their mistakes and avoid doing the same.
Understand That You’re Playing the Long Game
Perhaps the most important thing that you need to keep in mind while preparing your business for a digital transformation is the idea that these industry shifts will continue to happen and you need to anticipate them. Digital transformation isn’t something that you do once and then forget about for the next decade. It may have been like that at one point, but those days are long gone.
The world around us is rapidly changing — think about how different your professional life is today versus a few short years ago, before smartphones and other mobile devices became such a ubiquitous part of our daily lives. The technology that you use today may very well be inadequate six months from now, and replaced by something “bigger” and “better” that benefits your organisation in ways you haven’t even conceived of yet.
At the same time, consider the fact that 90% of SMEs are falling behind in digitalisation in some areas. Why is that? The answer is simple — because they have yet to buy into the idea that “change” is no longer a simple box to be checked. It is and likely always will be a way of life from here on out.
The key is to not be afraid of this idea. Rest assured, change can be a good thing for small and medium-sized enterprises in particular. Because every time technology takes another massive leap forward, the world gets smaller and you get closer to your audience.
Change is a constant and provided that you, your company leadership, and your employees are all ready to embrace opportunities for digital transformation as they occur on a regular basis, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the positives and as few of the downsides as possible.
Powernet: Your Partners in Digital Transformation
At Powernet, we understand that the change represented by digital transformation can be a stressful time for your SME — but when approached from the right angle, it can and should be an exciting one as well. You’re about to take steps that will guarantee that the technology you rely on daily is better aligned with your long-term business objectives, guaranteeing not only better business outcomes but also the most important benefit of all: a superior level of service that you’re able to offer to your own clients, no exceptions.
If you’d like to find out more information about preparing your business for a digital transformation, or if you have any additional questions about how a managed service provider might be the right move for your SME, don’t delay — contact Powernet today.