Before we begin today’s post, we wanted to share a statistic that will illustrate the importance of the topic:
According to Forbes, 56% of CEOs said digital improvements have led to revenue growth.
If nothing else piques your interest, the opportunity to increase revenue and save money through digital efficiency measures is enough for an organization to take note.
The term “digital transformation” has been present in the zeitgeist in the past few years, and while many businesses have plans to or are already in the process of going digital, it’s important to take a look at what it means to make the change as an organization as well as the different routes you can take to get here.
What does it mean to go digital?
First things first, what does it truly mean to “go digital?” The word digital is a vaguery that encompasses a myriad of tools and platforms from email to online chat programs to content services platforms. However, to understand what the transition to a digital-first mindset truly means, we’ll start with a simple definition:
Going digital is the process of adopting digital technologies to help improve and streamline your business.
The digitization of content and communications has become a major goal for businesses in all industries as an increasingly global and remote workforce creates new demands in the workplace. The need for easy and efficient access to information from multiple endpoints is key to day to day operations and to staying ahead of the trend in an increasingly competitive digital landscape.
The origins of digital transformation in business
In a previous post, we covered the evolution of Enterprise Content Management into Content Services Platforms. The history of the digitization of business is part of that same timeline.
As word processors started to become affordable and easily available, more businesses used them to create documents as an efficiency measure. With the advent of the computer, the need for digital solutions was born. E-mails and the storage and transmission of digital information became more mainstream and a widely accepted way for businesses to communicate.
Today, several factors contribute to the growing need for businesses to adopt a digital-first mindset:
- Even prior to the COVID-19 shelter in place orders, workforces across the globe were already transitioning to an in-office/remote hybrid.
- According to a ZDNet survey, 70% of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one. (Source)
- Executives say the top benefits of digital transformation are improved operational efficiency (40%), faster time to market (36%), and the ability to meet customer expectations (35%). (Source)
The global marketplace demands the update to modern digital technology and industries that fail to heed the call may find themselves going the way of the dinosaur.
The 4 Areas of Digital Transformation
The transformational aspect of going digital applies to all levels of your organization. Uplevel one aspect but not others and you risk a failure of the platforms, tools, and strategies as a whole.
We typically look at digitizing your business in four different categories that can also be viewed as phases. Assessing and updating each of these categories can ensure your business’ digital strategy is a win for your clients and your bottom line.
1. Business Process
Process is at the core of how a business works: the tools used, the channels created, and the way it all comes together to ensure that your content flows are organized, structured, secure, and accessible. An example of a tool a business can invest in to start the digitization process is AxiomPro, a content services platform that helps you digitize, store, share, and access content through the cloud.
Starting with your business processes as part of your digital strategy ensures you’ll be building on a strong foundation. Make sure you have input from stakeholders in all departments about the tools needed to make the changes as well as the processes it will affect so that the overall plan can be implemented across the board.
2. Business Model
Many companies find that once they begin the transition to a more digital environment, changes in the way they conduct their business evolve naturally. Right now, the change from a more traditional business model to a digital environment is happening more rapidly than it has in the history of modern business.
An example of this type of transition? Netflix. When it began in 1997, Netflix delivered DVDs right to their customers’ mailboxes, saving them from extra trips to video stores. As technology progressed and customer tastes and needs changed, Netflix added streaming services ten years later and traditional video rental business models were done. Even today, Netflix is investing in creating new content and new ways for its customers to use its service as an integral part of their everyday lives.
Domain transformation is usually the category that causes the most head-scratching among organizations. It’s best exemplified by Amazon:
What started out as an online bookseller in 1994 has now become a ubiquitous service that delivers everything from groceries to furniture and, most recently, a vast network of secure online hosting capabilities.
By increasing its digital footprint as it grew, Amazon was able to identify new, emerging domains in the marketplace that it could easily transition into while maintaining its other core services.
4. Cultural and Organizational
This is where a lot of organizations start, which can be a big mistake. The cultural and organizational aspects of this type of change are critical to its success and longevity. Adoption and utilization of new tools and processes can either cripple or carry your digital efforts into the future.
In order to successfully implement digital tools and platforms in your organization, the change has to start in the DNA of the way you do business which is why the Business Process is the best place to start.
Once you have the processes, tools, and platforms in place to move forward, the next most critical step is making it a part of your organization structure and the company’s culture. Educating your teams, tracking utilization, and making the new tools and platforms visible can mean the difference between transforming the way your business is done and losing time and money on a project that never got off the ground.
Remember: going digital isn’t just a set of tasks, it’s a mindset. In order for it to be successful, everyone must be on board and understand how, when, and why these changes are taking place.
Going digital: A complete guide
Now that we’ve covered what “going digital” means and how it can be interpreted for your business, you may be wondering how to get started. We wrote our Guide to Going Digital to answer that very question. We break down how to plan, prioritize, and choose a partner — and we include a bonus checklist so you can make sure you’re not missing anything on your journey to going digital.