Deloitte’s fifth midmarket survey reveals a significant shift toward technology-enabled transformation as more and more businesses pursue investments to improve customer engagement, protect digital data, and increase productivity. Digital transformation is now an endeavor mid-market businesses must explore if they want to stay relevant. It is not a new concept, and businesses who do not look into going digital will be left behind. But how can they go about understanding digital transformation and what it can do? Start here.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is a process by which businesses move their operations to internet-based technologies and automation in order to get manual processes out of the picture. That may not sound like much, but it's actually saying quite a bit when you consider how different the application of the term is in each individual business.
Part of the digital transformation process includes considering how technology plays a role in every aspect of your business. Businesses can use technology at every stage to make the customer experience excellent, and that can include improving buyer journeys, using artificial intelligence, improving productivity in the sales or services processes, and more.
To actually accomplish a digital transformation, businesses must consider how they do business right now, and how digital tools can change these points. How are you engaging with customers now? Is it all over the phone, or do you have web chat and social media operations available? All examples of digital transformation. Any process by which a business moves from legacy, traditional systems to internet- or cloud-based ones is also digital transformation. From communicating with your colleagues in the office to handling your accounting paperwork, digital transformation can have an impact.
Why Digital Transformation Matters to Mid-Market Businesses
Those who target implementing digital transformation first will have a marked advantage over their competitors. They will have access to tools that customers want. For example, millennials prefer web chat to phone calls by a healthy margin, and if that trend carries on long enough, millennials will go where their preferred tools are.
Improvements in the employee experience.
Digital transformations not only allow for faster and easier contact in the office, but also opens up the possibility for more remote workers. The benefits of a remote workforce can be massive, from better hires to more satisfied employees sticking around longer and reducing turnover costs. So by putting digital transformation to work, you open up all those possibilities.
Did you know that 38% of respondents in a Deloitte study found that cloud infrastructure has “...the greatest potential to increase productivity”? Moving to the cloud is another example of a digital transformation. When you throw in the sheer range of other things such systems can do, such as providing access to social media marketing tracking and data analytics, you've got a great potential to not only cut costs but also boost revenue, making for a better bottom line.
How Should a Mid-Market Business Plan for a Digital Transformation?
All of this sounds great, of course, but it's not worth much unless you stick the dismount and make the digital transformation go off properly.
Start with the right technology.
There's a temptation to buy “the best” there is but resist that temptation. A mid-market business has particular concerns that don't mesh with a small business or a full enterprise, so finding the technology that's just right for the mid-market is both difficult and vital to success. Consider all your needs, both current and future, to help determine what the right fit looks like. It's also a good idea to build in room for expansion right off the bat.
Remember a migration takes time.
No caterpillar becomes a butterfly instantly. Don't rush the process to take advantage of the benefits faster. Instead, taking the time to do the job right will ensure the best possible outcome, whatever that may look like ultimately. Ask the right questions before you start initiating a DX strategy. And remember, a rushed job is actually more likely to be a failed job in the long term as some vital components are missed or improperly executed.
Embrace change and complexity as part of the strategy.
Remember that even after a transformation is complete, the job isn't really done. As technology improves and new potential uses for technology assert themselves, you'll want to be sure that you can actually put these in place without needing an entirely new transformation. A digital transformation also won't likely start to deliver benefits immediately, either; be ready for some fumbling and some suboptimal returns while everyone gets used to the new operation.
Account for the fruits of digital transformation.
Data siloing is an insidious but commonly exercised practice where data is hoarded in one particular part of a business. The marketing department has all the marketing information and so on. By freeing up this information and making it more available, all departments can draw on it and take advantage of the value therein. Human resources, for example, can see where marketing's priorities are and step up hiring in that vein. That's only a start; freeing up information, within some limits, helps provide necessary perspective to the entire business.
Build in security measures from the start.
With a digital transformation, you'll generate a lot more data, more than you ever have before. This is good news, but it also means you've boosted your value to a hacker substantially. As a fatter prize, you'll draw more notice. Be ready for that notice with the right kinds of data security systems baked in from the very start.
What to Do When You're Ready to Stage Digital Transformation
The opportunities posed by digital transformation are substantial by any measure, but they don't come without risks. To best pursue the opportunities with the least potential risk, start your digital transformation by getting in touch with us at UTG. Our background and experience in network engineering and infrastructure will help you build your digital transformation.