Digital transformation. A big phrase that conjures up images of consulting, deep dives into existing processes, comprehensive system overhaul, and more – each as intimidating as it is time-consuming. And let’s not forget that each of these imply heavy costs as well.
Additionally, with poor definition of goals, timelines and even what success looks like, it’s hard for team members – from top management to admin to every member of the team – to understand the point of this upheaval of processes.
The answer is to break down the imposing monolith of digital transformation into easy-to-manage pieces, and to make incremental progress along the path, achieving smaller successes first and gaining momentum as you go. And bear in mind that each of these steps need not involve huge costs either.
Here is a look at how to embark on this journey in a smooth, results-oriented and cost-effective manner.
A: Assess – Prioritize achievable goals and quick wins
What is the process that you would like to go digital with first? Don’t examine your entire business operations to find every little thing that can be improved through digitization. Identify one or two clearly defined sections of your process (be it in lead generation, customer service, marketing, HR, finance or operations) that are clearly unnecessarily cumbersome and involve significant manual effort. Work with your tech partner to take those manual processes digital.
Shoot for small wins that are achievable, and show real success. When the goal is small, it’s easier to get your team to understand the larger plan, and get on board. Seeing success also helps build enthusiasm for further digital transformation.
Let’s look at a simple example – say you want to streamline your social media management. In the conventional, manual approach, your digital marketing team would take each approved post and manually post it on each social platform. At the end of the month, they would visit each platform and pull analytics data for each post and for the page as a whole and compile it in a spreadsheet for reporting. This is a manual process that is ripe for digital transformation.
B: Budget – Choose pragmatic and cost-effective solutions
Digital transformation doesn’t have to cost the earth! A good partner will suggest pragmatic solutions to your specific problems, at costs that make financial sense for your business. This could involve recommending the use of plug-and-play SaaS or even open source tools to manage your processes.
The right solution need not always be the most expensive one – define how much you can afford in terms of budget and timelines, and make smart and effective choices.
You should not have resources doing manual work that automated systems could do much better. So as long as you are deploying tech solutions to improve the quality and efficiency of your processes, and to help you gain greater visibility into your operations, at a cost that you can afford, you are well on your way to digital transformation!
To relate this to the example of social media management we looked at earlier, the largest scale solution here could be to build a custom platform to handle the tasks of posting, monitoring and reporting.
A far more pragmatic approach would be to consider subscribing to a SaaS solution that already has these features available at a fraction of the cost, delivering nearly all the functionality your team would need.
(C) & D: (Create) and Deploy – Get off the ground with the right-fit solution
The final step is to create a custom solution when needed, and deploy the developed or selected solution. The roll out of the solution and its acceptance by your team are vital to the success of your organization’s digital transformation journey.
That is, after all, fundamentally the meaning of digital transformation – using digital tools to reduce human intervention, thus saving time and money, and improving quality.
Linking this back to our social media example, therefore, signing up your digital marketing team for a subscription of a third-party platform that acts as a single point of posting and data gathering is a great example of deployment of a solution on your digital transformation journey.
With the tool allowing your team to automate the posting and analytics process, and therefore saving them a great deal of time and effort, they can reallocate their time to more productive tasks. In addition, the digital process reduces errors and reduces individual dependency.
There is nothing like demonstrable benefit when it comes to making an abstract concept like digital transformation seem more tangible, and to getting an organization-wide buy-in into the premise.
At CloudNow, we’ve seen too many businesses get bogged down in long, elaborate consulting processes and simply give up on the idea of a digital transformation altogether. We firmly believe that actually getting started is often the hardest – and certainly the most important – part of your digital transformation journey.
CloudNow is the trusted partner of dozens of small, medium and large enterprises in their digital transformation journey. Do contact us today for a consultation. Let’s get started together!