What is digital transformation?
Contrary to what people think, digital transformation is not the simple process of aggregating new technologies. This is a truly profound and significant change, that is, a disruption to the operation of companies as we know it today.
Digital transformation involves a structural change in organizations, in which technology plays a key role. Its main consequence will be digitization – market and society marked by dematerialization, demonetization and democratization of the use of technology.
What is the importance of digital transformation?
The first point to consider is: you can’t wait! Companies that wait for this process to happen, as spectators, will not find more space in the market when they wake up to this reality.
So this is the time to break down some cultural barriers that still prevent the company from plunging into this revolution. Practical steps need to be taken to make it happen within organizations.
How to make digital transformation happen in companies?
Having understood this importance, let’s go to the steps to join this revolution? After all, it’s no use talking about the concept if we don’t know how to put it into practice in organizations.
1. Rethink the business
Because change is structural, not just operational, redefining the company’s digital strategy is the first step.
Analyze the market and identify how new technologies can impact the business. Understanding the context and the breakthroughs that will emerge is essential to defining where the company wants and can go.
Example, this is an exercise in futurology: imagining a later scenario and plotting a plan to reach that target, starting from the conditions of the present.
2. Invest in a cultural change
It is not enough to create bold plans on paper when, in everyday life, those involved in the project do not buy the idea. Without changing the culture of its stakeholders, this revolution can easily be abandoned.
Leaving the comfort and safety of the comfort zone requires real cultural mobilization. Without due attention to this preparation, an entire digital transformation project can be frustrated due to lack of adherence or fear of risk.
3. Promote skills development
Technical difficulties are among the main impediments to a successful implementation of innovations. To avoid initiating a process and aborting it because it is unable to get you to the point of results, invest in empowering your team.
Ongoing training and qualification are essential for solutions to be planned and executed effectively. Create a plan for your team to develop the skills needed to drive this transformation. This is not a cost, but an investment!
4. Evaluate the processes
It may be that, by custom or tradition, some of your business processes have happened the same way for years. But are the steps taken today still really necessary?
The only way to find this out is by evaluating processes. Review your product cycle, sales procedures, and other operations. Make sure some of them can be mobile adapted or incorporate new trends such as automation.
5. Renew some flow based on technology and user experience.
While digital transformation is not limited to the user experience, this is a good starting point for the initiative. After rethinking processes, choose one and test options that, using technology, can improve them.
Test some possibilities and evaluate their impact on the flow of operations. Understand how the acceptance, implementation and adaptation process works. This analysis will serve as the basis for more significant innovations.
6. Start a digital project
But process automation is only the starting point. The ultimate goal is transformation – of processes, business models and even the customer experience.
All these factors will be revolutionized by the intense exploitation of available digital technology. Objects and the physical world will be replaced by digital options.
An example is service virtualization. Today, companies no longer need to invest in servers, routers and racks or maintain large teams to maintain these structures.
They can virtually hire these items and have their applications running in the cloud. Cloud Computing providers offer these services at a lower cost while still ensuring uptime and efficiency.
It’s a new way of interacting with employees and customers, anchored in the digital experience.
7. Engage the entire company in the project
It is not because the revolution is digital that it must be delegated to the IT staff. If the idea is that technology permeates all processes, all employees and sectors must be part of this transformation.
A dialogue between IT and other departments is critical. Technology wizards need to know exactly what are the processes and demands of everyday life so that they can jointly devise strategies for digitizing them.
8. Digitize Business Intelligence
For a long time, technology has been seen as a means of optimizing a company’s operations. Automate processes, reduce errors and costs, record and integrate data, organize logistics.
However, technology today has much smarter applications. It can not only be seen as an operational business aid, but as a fundamental tool for management and decision making.
Driving based on managers’ feeling or experience, although it has been the best option for decades, is still susceptible to misperceptions and sudden changes in the economic landscape.
Today there are Big Data and Business Intelligence tools capable of processing large amounts of internal and external data. In this way, they draw scenarios and predict not only trends but market behaviours.
Based on this data, management also goes digital and can make much more accurate decisions. It is like guiding the direction of the company already knowing what will happen in the future and therefore ensuring greater chances of success.
9. Explore ideas
Digital transformation goes beyond “thinking outside the box”: it’s throwing the box away and building a new concept! And this is not done without exploring and supporting new ideas.
Therefore, the company needs to encourage initiatives such as Labs and brainstorming events. Along with the business or consulting services that specialize in product and service development, there should be room to prototype, test, refine, and scale innovations.
How Digital Transformation is Changing Life in Society?
There is no denying that Digital Transformation is already a reality. Just look at the impacts it causes every day in the life in society to realize that this phenomenon has no return.
Here’s how Digital Transformation is drastically changing some of the pillars of everyday life, in ways that until recently were unlikely.
The way we work has changed radically with the advancement of digital transformation, and there is still a long way to go in this direction. For example, remote work has gained ground and is today a viable (and even recommended) alternative in many market segments.
The popularity of digital products is also steadily increasing, which has created several niche markets that have not even existed for some time. Some of the most valuable companies in the world, such as Google, Apple, and Amazon, have a major asset in products, services, and, above all, internal digital processes.
The way to sell known products has also evolved. Software and technology services, which were previously sold in the form of expensive and permanent licenses, have become more affordable and are now charged for a subscription.
The health sector is one that benefits most from the evolution of technology. And this is not just about sophisticated equipment to perform important procedures.
We are also talking about advanced research and development techniques for medicines and treatments that can solve humanity’s biggest health problems.
Another benefit is the ability to make today’s high-end resources more common and therefore accessible. This will eventually mean quality treatment even in less developed places.
Both public security (policing, surveillance cameras, etc.) and private security were driven by technological advancement. Let’s focus more on the second aspect.
Home automation is not common among class A and B families, but in the future, it should become popular even for the lower classes. And that goes beyond comfort and luxury. Security also plays a big role in this.
Alarms and internal surveillance systems and even tracker applications can be purchased by anyone.
Finally, let’s talk about the part that matters most to companies: consumption. It doesn’t take much to realize that people consume even more in this digital age.
One reason is that the number of products available has increased exponentially, suggesting a growing demand for items of all kinds.
In addition, access to information has forever transformed the way content is consumed. Before a purchase, even the most basic, is common to take a look at Google. If it’s a complex purchase, it’s a lot of research.
In practice, this means that it has become harder for businesses to attract the attention of potential customers, gain their trust and maintain it for a long time. Only with effective processes and a culture prepared for the online world is this possible.
How digital transformation is impacting companies?
Given all the advances and changes we have considered so far, it is clear that the most important skills in companies will be more related to intellectual capacity and interpersonal relationships than to physical characteristics.
This in itself creates a paradigm break in corporate culture. Important concepts such as collaboration, innovation, creativity and emotional intelligence take on larger proportions, as true principles of operational management.
Another fundamental change is customer care, which previously had almost no power in business relations and today is the one who rules the rules. This is because everyone has access to information and knows which products are good or bad. Additionally, there are many ways to spread this information to others.
Not to mention the increased competition. If a company can’t handle it, customers will look for the same solution elsewhere without looking back.
In the face of all this, corporate culture is in transition. You can no longer try to sell at all costs and ignore the voice of customers. We need to work in a consultative way to resolve buyer issues and provide support throughout the customer lifecycle.
As startups emerge that promise (and deliver) superior products with impeccable support, some large companies have suffered from lost customers, revenue and brand reputation.
What companies are investing in to go digital?
Digital Transformation is evolving rapidly, but it is still far from the apex. New technologies and processes appear all the time, while others mature and become indispensable.
Among the technologies that catch the most attention at the moment, undoubtedly, can highlight the following.
Technology that allows machines to learn from and respond to human behaviour properly is no longer a movie thing.
Many companies are already at an advanced stage with their AI programs, in most cases to create 100% personalized consumer and service experiences.
Internet of Things
The idea of connecting different devices to familiar ones (cell phones, computers and tablets) has always been a pleasure because it expands the almost unlimited possibilities of the internet to another level.
You can now make household appliances, watches and various other garments exchange data with each other. All to make us even more connected and with integrated consumer experiences.
Even those who don’t understand anything about digital transformation should be getting used to hearing about blockchain. The technology made famous by Bitcoin cryptocurrency may actually be a much bigger innovation than the currency itself.
It is no exaggeration to say that it has the potential to forever change security in the exchange of data and currencies between people or institutions. This justifies why so many companies are investing heavily in blockchain.
Virtual reality is also noteworthy as it represents an immersive digital experience, which could revolutionize the way we produce and consume content. Marketing and sales could be done in full 3D, never before seen.
Also, consider using this technology for corporate presentations, distance learning and a host of other applications. There are already success stories with technology, which still has a long way to go.
The digital transformation is in full swing, and will still present many new features. Following the tips shown here will help your business also take advantage of this phenomenon and become stronger in the marketplace.