According to Salesforce digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new – or modify existing – business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. This reimagining of business in the digital age is digital transformation.
Source: What is Digital Transformation?
What is Digital Transformation, and what does it mean for organisations?
Lets break this down and look into the different aspects mentioned by Salesforce that make up an organisation. Business processes, culture and customer experiences all working together to meet changing business and market requirements.
I read a quote the other day, “To build a company like Amazon, Bezos says to follow these four values
- Customer obsession
- Eagerness to invest
- Long-term thinking
- Operational excellence”
It very much falls in line with how Saleforce view digital transformation. But, how can technology play a part in all this?
And, what does the Government see in all this?
The Australian Government have in fact set up a Digital Transformation Agency. Their aim is to build platforms and tools for people to interact with the government. There we have it, it’s customer/people focused, investing, long-term thinking and will improve their operations, not to mention their projects aim to build digital skills across the Australian Public Service.
Other products that many of you have probably already engaged with is myGov. This allows people to carry out transactions with government in one place with a single login. But even further they have frameworks and standardisation for agencies, like ours, to use cloud-base technology, a platform to create better user experience, web hosting, digital identity, Google Analytics for government and the list goes on.
So, Governments investing, modern day companies seems like it will be left behind without it, how and why do we actually implement it?
Retooling organisations for the new age
I believe before a good application is designed it’s important to have systems and processes in place. This all stemmed by the influence of The EMyth by Michael E. Gerber. According to Gerber “people who own businesses… work far more than they should for the return they’re getting. The problem is not that the owners of businesses… don’t work; the problem is that they’re doing the wrong work”. He goes on to state that “statistics (in the United States) tell us that by the end of the first year at least 40 percent of (business) will be out of business (in their first year). Within five years, more than 80 percent of them – will have failed.” He then emphasises that when a “Business Development Process is systemised and applied by the business it has the power to transform any business into an incredibly effective organisation. He states that when the business commits to this the company stays young and thrives.
He’s ultimately talking about developing systems and processes to drive operational excellence which has a profound impact on culture and therefore the customer wins. It’s long term thinking and taking the time to invest in the business.
We believe that taking this a step further, and building a digital platform around this concept is how digital can transform your company.
Leveraging existing systems to transform an organisation
Let’s paint a scenario. You’re business has been around for 5+ years, up until now it’s been scaling better than planned. You have the right people in place, the right processes, but there’s still a break down. Over the past few years, you’ve committed and invested in technology and particularly in the cloud space, in products like Xero, CRM like Zoho, Salesforce but there’s still a few issues that need addressing.
The problem we’ve identified is that all though these platforms serve it’s specific purpose there’s still the issue of systems not working effectively within the different departments of an organisation:
- The sales team aren’t pricing the project or product properly;
- There’s no clear strategy to on-board a client;
- Jobs aren’t getting scheduled to the right team member;
- There’s no visibility on where a project is up to;
- Finance have no visibility on clear metrics on operations, without having to manually enter data into a spreadsheet;
- Management are making poor decisions.
The list is endless.
Integrating existing tech stacks
Enter digital transformation. With a powerful system each one of these issues can be solved with a good tech stack that can leverage your existing platforms. Initially it was thought that the major benefit of Cloud, was that you could access the application from anywhere around the world, at any time. These days, the benefit is that these platforms are capturing data that can easily be exposed, to plug into another cloud based application.
Leveraging digital transformation to reduce overheads
We’ve recently worked with a client to transform their business. This business services volume property builders, where there could be as many as 50 on-site jobs a day. Early days, the business owner would take out his Melways and figure out the best route for his drivers. This could take at least 2-3 hours every night! With a basic tech stack, we’re able to reduce this down to about 15 minutes a day.
By leveraging the builders CRM system.
We capture these jobs in real time via API and pull them into our system, sanitise the data points, to make it easy to identify what region the job is in, and smart UX to make it fast to assign a job to the right technician working in that region on that day. Not only that, but then the technician can log into the system, update the job with critical information, and when that job is completed, in real time update the clients system to alert them the job has been completed. Oh, and when admin approves the job, it instantly gets invoiced to Xero, their accounting platform.
This isn’t to say all the issues within the business are now full-proof, but as time goes on, new issues arise and with planning and strategy we have the data captured, to make the right decisions and eliminate problems in the business.
Enhancing systems for consistency when quoting
Another job we’ve recently completed is consolidating a complex pricing algorithm into an online portal.
This gives piece of mind to the business owner that when his staff put through the order, there isn’t going to be discrepancy with quotes and effect the bottom line.
Taking that a step further, that system is now exposed to the client so they can create their own quotes without having to fax (email or call) with their order. The major benefit is that: the spreadsheet is eliminated, taken the human error out of creating a quote (there’s a lot of conditional logic to say that this product can’t be sold with this additional item), and management gets clear reports across the board on their best clients, products that sell, margins, so they can make decisions on how to grow the business more efficiently.
In these two case studies, we’ve identified the problem, strategised the solution and with a few quick wins helped the client consolidate and project the business outcomes aligned with the business goals.
What area the next steps
In summary, we believe that digital transformation is leveraging smart technology, working with your existing applications to assist in helping businesses perform more efficiently.
First identify the issue, workshop the solution (ensure it’s not complicated), work with the data on hand, and create efficiencies in the business that will benefit your staff so they’re not overwhelmed with workloads and clients get their project delivered on time and in budget. Then, expose the right metrics to finance and management to make better decisions, and you’ll have a business like Amazon, or a well oiled, stable, machine like the Australian Government.