When we talk about digital transformation, we don’t just mean business technology. Digital transformation is about people, processes, and technology working together. Big and small businesses thrive better when these three elements are present and cooperate with one another. When we talk about digital transformation, we understand that it’s a cultural, organisational and operational change of a company or industry. It happens when you integrate digital technologies into your processes to make your systems more efficient. 

Today, a lot of businesses adopt digital transformation for the wrong reasons. They think it’s a “trend” that they need to join in or it’s what their competitor is doing so they need to copy. But digital transformation isn’t a fad nor something you adopt because you’re a copycat. Our understanding of what digital transformation is and why we should do it should be deeper than that. 

Digital transformation is about leveraging technologies to create new value for your customers. It helps you to innovate and adapt quickly to changing circumstances like what we experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

So how should you start with digital transformation for your small business?

Digital Transformation Areas

Digital technologies affect our work and personal lives. They have changed how we do business and will continue to do so. They’re continuously growing and evolving, so we can start by breaking them down and obtaining an understanding as to where we can implement them.

Business activities/functions: Marketing, operations, human resources, administration, customer service, etc.

Business processes: One or more connected operations, business process optimization and business process automation such as robotic process automation (RPA)

Business models: How businesses function and create value and revenue, how it effectively transforms its core 

Business ecosystems: The network of partners and stakeholders, as well as contextual variables such as legal or economic priorities and evolutions.

Business asset management: This talks about traditional assets but also less tangible assets such as data.

Organizational culture: Achieved by acquiring core competencies across the board in areas such as digital maturity and leadership, enables a business to be more “future-proof.” 

Ecosystem and partnership models: Leads to new business models and revenue sources to achieve digital transformation success.

Customer, worker and partner approach: People and strategy come first in digital transformation. Any stakeholder’s shifting behaviour, expectations, and requirements are also critical.

However, it’s crucial to remember that digital transformation is not the only way to address human issues such as employee satisfaction or improving customer experience. You still need to involve people to empower them in the process. Technology is only an additional facilitator and enabler.

The Key Takeaway

Digital transformation is not only important for your business technology needs. The human element and the processes involved are also important factors to consider at all levels. It will also help if you already have goals in your mind before you pursue the transformation.

You don’t have to overhaul everything. There will and should always be an ‘offline’ aspect because people don’t want ‘digital’ for everything. Your consumers will still value personal and face-to-face interactions over a bot answering everything. 

A comprehensive digital transformation strategy needs to create new capabilities and enhance existing ones for your business. It needs to leverage the opportunities of new technologies while also considering the “human element” to have a faster and better impact in the future.