There’s no doubt about it, digital transformation remains a difficult concept to deliver on within an organisation that’s been around for 5+ years.
At its core digital transformation will use technology to replicate an existing process into an online platform, but ensure it transforms that process into something significantly better. However, digital transformation is more than just tech.
I read somewhere (so can’t claim it); that digital transformation is not “about predicting the future, it’s about reinventing processes which may be working well. But if nothing is done, because the organisation believes the processes are already working well, then companies will inevitably lose customers to agile, responsive and client-obsessed organisations”.
Lets remove the word ‘digital’ for a moment
The real objective needs to focus on identifying key concerns within an organisation such as; improving internal communication, get better visuals on our productivity/finances, sell more products, schedule in jobs more efficiently, reduce overheads, improve the customer experience.
Really, transformation needs to start at the business goals and objectives, ask the right questions, and then frame the issues at hand. The issue needs to be presented to the whole organisation, not just the department that issue belongs to. Now you can outline a strategy that will transform the business, and then, only then, add the term ‘digital’.
“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it,”
This step is critical to successfully transforming an organisation, I highly recommend reading the Harvard Business Review – Are you solving the right problem to better understand this concept.
Taking the next step and solving real life problems
“We have two separate cloud based systems that don’t talk to each other”
This is one of the most frequent issues we hear. A customer has a cloud based proposal system, that doesn’t integrate into the project management tool. So, the interim solution is usually Spreadsheets. With Digital Transformation, that can easily be solved with what we call middleware. The concept is that there’s a ‘script’ that lives on a server, that has functional (via API) that can take data from one system, and pass it into another system.
“Our clients call us up or email us with their order details, but there’s no consistency with pricing, and it takes staff too long to put together the quote”
The expectation of a customer is that they receive quotes for products instantly. In fact, they would probably prefer to not even speak with a sales person. Problem is, quoting a product or solution isn’t like getting a quote for a t-shirt. There are a lot of moving parts… that has evolved over many years. All this information is stored in a spreadsheet, and the issue that pricing is inconsistent, mainly due to human error, or work overload.
In this scenario, digital transformation can consolidate the pricing model into an online portal where not only staff can easily quote, but that system can be exposed to the customer. This will save on time, bottom line and create a much better user experience.
“We have an ERP system, where all our products are stored but our eCommerce platform doesn’t talk to it. We have to manually update products, and orders.”
Organisations spends hundreds of thousands of dollars, and months of internal work implementing complex ERP systems. On top of that the organisation has a specific requirements and workflows that need to be processed before the data can transfer from eCommerce to ERP, and vice versa. Digital transformation enables this. The problem in the current eCommerce tech space, is that platforms out there, like Magento, ultimately cater for B2C transactions. But what’s required is a B2B system, that intertwines with organisations workflows.
Our team are in the field, doing site visits, and we have 100’s of jobs per week, but we’re spending hours per day, scheduling in the jobs.
I’ve got great news. This can be automated! Imagine being in a world, where your team log into their mobile phone first thing in the morning, and the system tells them where to go. Rather, that admin spending countless hours of figuring out which staff to assign to which job. Further to this, imagine having a system that automatically connects to your clients system, and pulls down those jobs automatically. And taking this another step forward, imagine once the job is completed, the staff could log back onto their phone, update the job with relevant data, and in real time that could update the clients system and generate the invoice for the client.
All this is possible with digital transformation.
I’ve outgrown the CRM system that i’m using, and i’m not sure what to do next? Keep it, and work around, or find another solution.
This is a common story and one we hear quite frequent. From our experiences getting 2 years out of a CRM platform, is around the mark. Why? Two years ago, the company had problem A. The problem was easily solved because the organisation wasn’t using any platform at the time. So, they jumped onto a cloud based CRM. This had great success, it transformed how the business communicates internally within their team. But now, the problem seems to be that the CRM doesn’t communicate with the next department within the organisation.
This gets solved with the digital transformation mindset. Understanding, and outlining the current processes and optimising them can help drive a CRM application that can integrate with the existing platform and solve the issue. As an example the sales use SalesForce, marketing use Mail Chimp, and operations use Trello, and finance are stuck in spreadsheets.
Identifying and outlining the workflow and processes between all these department can outline where the gaps are, and with a CRM application that is built for digital transformation, can fix the issue.
“We have no visibility on productivity metrics, finance metrics and I just go on gut feel to make decisions.”
Which company hasn’t been guilty of this. But as we all know, a successful organisation, or CEO/CFO know their KPI’s at any given time. But the problem is that we have too many systems that store data, and organisations are just using spreadsheets to update the KPI’s on a weekly basis.
Taking this a step further, if all the data is consolidated into the one application, not only can everyone in the organisation get the right metrics, but that data can be fed into Machine Learning tools to even further solve problems.
Innovate, get creative, but don’t forget the basics. Many organisations and people get swept up by chasing the latest online tool, technology, or buzz words. Challenge your current processes, and like that HBR articles preaches ask the right questions, then ask again, and again, and again. Until you contextualise the problem.