Novel digital solutions and advanced technologies have pushed companies forward for years. Today, as we’re still coping with the health crisis, more businesses are doing their best to switch to smarter, more automated operational models. Leveraging digital platforms and all the capabilities they provide means that your employees can get rid of so many menial, repetitive tasks. This, in turn, amplifies productivity and cross-departmental collaboration.
Even more so, digital is the key to customer satisfaction. Now that most people use smartphones, voice-activated assistants, and online shopping, businesses need to keep up with the growing demand for faster, more convenient digital solutions.
Happy employees and happy customers make for a successful business. That is precisely why businesses, yours included, are rapidly turning to transformative digital technologies. When your internal processes are better, more secure, and streamlined, your employees can improve their customer-facing interactions. If you add customer feedback into the mix, you’re bound to discover even more potential for digital change through their comments and constructive criticism.
Here’s how to start your digital transformation and prepare for a more successful, digitally-driven 2022.
Conduct a thorough digital audit
Every business already has some digital knowledge, if not an entire ecosystem of digital tools. For example, smaller, local companies rely on digital sales, even if they are limited to local purchases, and they often use some form of digital bookkeeping, inventory management systems, and the like.
The more intricate, advanced ones already use cloud technology and encourage their teams to work remotely. But, unfortunately, the pandemic has pushed that part of digital transformation to happen faster for many unprepared, which might mean issues in productivity and performance.
That’s why you need a full digital audit of all your systems and processes before you take any definitive action in terms of switching to new tools or software. The intelligence you gather from the audit will help you understand your digital pain points and spot growth opportunities that you’d otherwise miss.
Analyze your employee performance and digital know-how
Understanding your existing systems is one crucial part of your audit. The second and equally essential is your understanding of how your employees operate within your digital ecosystem. You also need to know if they are equipped to handle this transition.
Since your teams are the ones that will be using all the new tools and working directly within your new digital environment, they should know what’s coming. So take your time to evaluate their existing performance with your digital devices and tell them about their issues.
Their insights will guide you towards the most productive, performance-driven solutions available. Furthermore, with their experience and feedback, you can invest in the tools and systems to simplify their workflow from day one.
Partner with a trusted digital expert
Digital transformation is no easy feat. It demands your full attention, expansive knowledge of digital tools, as well as the ability to keep your business operational while you’re going through the transition. As a result, most companies partner with a digital expert such as the HTEC Group, specializing in transformative technologies.
The right partner can help you from day one by evaluating your business without bias and setting up the most optimal infrastructure that suits your digital needs. There is no one-size-fits-all in terms of digital transformation, so your expert partners will guide you towards the most effective, business-specific opportunities.
Automate with the help of AI and machine learning
One of the most performance-boosting steps you can take as part of your digital transformation journey is introducing more automation. No matter the size of your business, your employees are likely dealing with many redundant, repetitive tasks. This means they get to spend less time focusing on mission-critical assignments.
With dedicated AI-based tools, including Microsoft Azure, your business can start simplifying most error-prone processes that take a tremendous amount of time for humans. For example, you can build or invest in AI tools to automate various marketing processes, social media, BI data analytics, and customer interactions with chatbots.
Start leveraging a PM tool.
If you’re not already using one, a project management tool can make all the difference in your ability to handle the transformative processes you’re about to go through. Not to mention that you can always count on PM tools such as Zoho projects to stay on track with your work across every department, no matter how vast your organization might be.
PM tools enhance business transparency, which keeps everyone informed and in the loop. When your teams know what’s happening and who is responsible for each part of the project, they will be much more productive. This is a great and safe start for any form of digitalization, and it lets you go through other transformative processes more smoothly.
Move your business to the cloud.
Over the past several years, cloud technology has advanced tremendously, empowering businesses of all shapes and sizes to take their operations forward. However, the cloud encompasses so many different things that it’s no wonder some companies are failing to utilize it to its full potential.
You might already be using a cloud-based solution, such as the project mentioned above management tool. Most are used on the cloud, while your email provider offers cloud storage and collaborative options, such as Google Drive. Knowing all of that, your digital transformation can and should use cloud computing. Some companies even use it as the crux of their digitalization efforts to go paperless, switch to remote servers, and enable seamless remote work.
You can find a relatively low-maintenance cloud solution that satisfies all your most essential business needs. In addition, cloud tech is scalable, so you can always upgrade and let your business grow, thanks to the possibilities available on the cloud. However, keep in mind that you should consider a cloud management option to ensure ongoing IT support if you don’t have a team in-house to keep all your cloud processes in check.
Ensure comprehensive cybersecurity
Working in the digital realm means that you’re constantly facing potential threats from hackers and even your internal malpractice. If your employees aren’t fully trained to work in your new digital systems – you might face data leaks or unsafe behavior until you prepare them properly. For that reason, you should set up your digital strategy with cybersecurity in mind.
Cloud solutions typically come with some level of built-in security features that your IT experts can track, manage, and update when needed. Beyond that, digitalization calls for ongoing system monitoring and malware checks, so you should consider a comprehensive security tool such as LifeLock. Such solutions are designed to prevent and detect cyber threats, protect your data, and keep your business network safe.
From the first step, your audit, check what parts of your current security measures need upgrading. For example, perhaps a new firewall is in order, or maybe your teams need more phishing prevention training. Either way, you can start working on your security system while you’re switching to a more digitized work environment.
Introduce digital learning modules
Going back to that crucial premise that your teams will be the ones to use all the new digital tools you introduce, learning should be an active part of your transformation. That means that you should start introducing advanced learning modules for every department to give your teams the knowledge they need to work efficiently in your new systems.
Employee training will help prepare them for the new tools you’re adding to your processes and improve your entire onboarding procedure. Every time a new employee is hired, you’ll have a pre-built learning procedure to help them get acquainted with your digital tools.
Make sure that your training isn’t limited only to your transformation. Keep updating your educational platform and materials to let your employees pick up new skills, exchange information, and even become mentors to one another.
Maintain your brand’s digital presence
Internal processes will undoubtedly define how well your digital transformation goes and prepare you for 2022. However, it would be best to be mindful of your customer-facing systems and procedures that will also be affected. With new communication platforms and other changes, your customers will have more opportunities to get in touch with you.
Aside from chatbots, you can add to your social media and website; you should also look into new ways to upgrade your digital presence. For example, is your website up to date? Is your content relevant and fresh for your target demographic? Do you have a well-defined presence on all social networks where your customers spend their time?
Let your digital strategy reflect how you can improve all customer-facing communications. While automation will simplify your employees, you should also let your customers know how you’re improving their journey.
Ongoing performance evaluations
Don’t be fooled by the efficiency increase you’re bound to experience as soon as you start working with your new digital environment and tools. Your workflow needs constant optimization and maintenance like any other traditional or digital system.
Work with experts or internal teams to keep improving your digital performance. By keeping an eye on the latest business trends, you can also learn how your competitors move forward. New digital tools and systems are published regularly, and your business should stay at the forefront.
Ultimately, the goal of any transformation is to improve your business efficiency, employee satisfaction, and customer happiness. Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint, no matter how quickly you start using parts of your new system. Stay on track with industry trends and keep an open mind so that you can brace your business for any changes that might come in 2022.