Digital transformation (DT or DX) is the latest buzz word, but why is it important for small and medium sized businesses? How is it different from upgrading tech? And why the recent sudden focus?
Rogan Hounsell-Roberts was a founder of a successful scale-up; has helped organisations across many sectors achieve success; a founder of KR5 Consulting; and passionate to help ambitious business leaders succeed.
Why is technology important to business?
Before we dig into digital transformation, we have to level set and talk about technology more broadly. It’s a pillar in every business regardless of size. It’s process and methods, not just information technology or kit. In short, it’s key to being competitive.
For business, information technology is a significant subset. It’s important because it reduces cost, increases speed, helps make better decisions, and do things that weren’t possible before. For example, in manufacturing you can quickly design and customise for your customer’s needs. Broadly, it allows business to reach new customers, innovate and do it better than others.
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Changing Digital world
The increased interest in digital transformation was triggered by recent events. Last year, many businesses made a big digital shift to work around lockdowns and rules. Most had to adapt to staff working at home. Some had to adapt to remote selling. It also impacted many other aspects of delivery and support. But it also transformed the way we stay in touch with friends and family. Suddenly, a new world of using technology opened up new possibilities.
Although it’s been a sudden shift, things having been progressing for a while. In the past decade we’ve become more connected. Smartphones, the computer in our pocket has been a catalyst for change. We stream videos, stay in touch on social media, listen to podcasts and use a whole host of apps. The changes seem small, but those small changes all mount up.
We’re also using the cloud more, another factor in DX. We’re all getting more at ease with using cloud in our everyday lives. That’s reducing the cost and lowering the bar for small business to use more digital technology. That’s opening the doors for innovation such as the rise of buyer and seller platforms. You only have to think about the power of online marketplaces to see how that’s transforming brick-and-mortar business.
DX and changing Business models
Digital is transforming markets. People are going to innovate. Of course, there will be a few market disrupters. But there’s also many smaller advances that start to add up to substantial changes. Someone will spot something that works and apply that to their business. Before you know where you are, that becomes the way it’s done. If you don’t keep up, you’re left behind.
Changes in the market can quickly erode an existing business model. That means that business leaders must review their business models. Changes in technology become a driver for digital transformation.
Why won’t an upgrade work?
There are good reasons to refresh technology in a business. It’s like having a new car. It’s a nicer experience, hopefully more efficient, but it’s still a car. If you were using the car to make sales calls, you might be less tired, but you haven’t changed the way you do business.
Digital transformation is about changing the way the business runs. It’s about re-thinking the way you do business. It’s not change for the sake of change. In part, it’s about adapting to changes outside the business. But it’s also about seeing new opportunities that create more value and create a stronger future.
Thinking about business and how you can use technology can feel daunting. Having a clear picture and seeing how everything fits together can clarify possibilities for moving forward. If you’d like to have a chat about your requirements, give me a call on 01344 266567 or contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or DM on LinkedIn to arrange an initial meeting.
KR5 Consulting helps senior leaders to transform & refine their business for profitable growth. We work closely with leaders to assist them in their Digital Transformation; refining their Business System; and applying Digital Technology.
If you’d like to explore the ideas in this article further or need help and advice, please contact Rogan at email@example.com – to arrange an informal chat.
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