Digitisation, which refers to the integrated use of analytics, big data, the cloud, the Internet of Things (“IoT“), mobile, and application development, has changed how business will be done forever.
For some, digitisation is a push for efficiency, a better customer experience, reduced cost and a better work-life balance. For others, it’s a new coat of paint on an old system – it’s superficial at best, says Rob Lith, business development director and Sacha Matulovich, marketing director at Connection Telecom.
Below they explore 5 ways in which your business can become better equipped at truly going digital.
1. Ask Yourself Why You Want To Go Digital
“It’s simple really,” says Lith. “If your digital initiatives don’t align with your business goals, they’re unlikely to benefit you, and may even do more damage than good. Going digital should be about making a process more efficient, reducing its operational cost or adding new value for customers.”
2. Start With What You Need Your Tech To Do For You
“The easiest mistake to make,” says Sacha, “is to give the oil to the squeakiest wheel. By this, I mean to purchase software or technology based on the pitch of a salesman. They will promise the world, but the software they’re selling is destined to be retired to the shelf.”
Before you get trapped by the allure of a one-size-fits all business solution, rather commit to a business analysis, in which you endeavour to find your businesses’ weak points, such as the most costly or laborious processes, and then improve those areas of the business first.
Examples of this could be an automated HR, CRM or accounting suite which can do wonders for your respective departments, speed up or completely automate the tedious stuff, which is exactly what every small start up needs.
This about the tools that your workforce needs in order to best do their job; “Are your employees returning to the office after visiting a client because the tools they need to do their job are only available in the office?” asks Matulovich. “Thanks to cloud, those tools can be mobilised, as an app for example; just imagine the time saved.
3. Ask The Right Digitisation Questions
“Ask yourself, before investing in anything, what value is there to be gained,” says Rob. “Does it streamline operations, enhance your productivity, improve speed-to-market, mobilise your employees, or allow for collaboration between business units or offices?” if not, then it’s important to weigh those benefits against your cost to company, not just initially, but over the long term.
It’s also important to understand the skills and time requirements – do your employees have the necessary skill set, or will they require a comprehensive on-boarding? Everything you do needs to be assessed and essentially rated on the ‘juice vs. squeeze’ methodology.
4. Talk To Your Staff
You hired them because you saw their value and potential. Take advantage of that. Sometimes, the best people to get on the ground feedback and advice from could be those who you least expect – your team of staff.
“One of the best questions to ask is what are your employees currently using,” suggests Lith. “Your employees have likely already come up with a solution, and it might be just what you need. You don’t want to invest in expensive collaboration software when some of your employees have already been using Slack, Skype or WhatsApp with great success, for example.”
They know what works, what’s efficient and what helps them on a day-to-day basis. This in turn will also create a sense of rapport with your team and encourage further collaboration down the line.
5. Prioritisation Is Key
Poor prioritisation is a common offense in the world of digital business. When you’re handling money for clients, then investing in web conferencing software, as an example, should not be your priority.
“It’s about not biting off more than you can chew,” says Matulovich. “It’s easy to say that technology should give you the best of everything, but most businesses, understandably, approach digitisation as a piecemeal process.”
Prioritise the systems that make the most sense. When in doubt, return to your business analysis. His opinion? “Start with the basics,” says Matulovich. “Every business has basic needs, one of which is to make and receive calls without the fear of downtime. A Cloud PBX for example can allow you to evaluate inbound call performance month-by-month, at a very granular level, as well as plug your inbound calls directly into your CRM system. It’ll even save you money, and is ultra-convenient.”
That’s just the beginning of the journey, because new technologies and ways of doing things will continue to be developed, and at an accelerated pace. So, continue to prioritise your business’s most pressing needs and focus on how new technologies can be used to leverage an advantage over the way you currently do things.