Inertia and Fear of Change Could be Fatal
As the technological landscape evolves, businesses need to transform in step to remain competitive and viable in the 21st century.
Everyone is aware of the changes and opportunities that the digital revolution has brought about. Cloud-based software solutions have blown away the need for costly and high-maintenance hardware and laborious backup practices, mobile technology has given us the freedom to work, shop, chat and play anywhere we wish, and big data has brought unparalleled insights that can revolutionise the B2C dynamic.
Yet the operative word is “can.” Research published by Microsoft Corporation shows an alarming trend in which companies are aware of the opportunities, they acknowledge that their practices and systems are rapidly heading for obsolescence, yet they have no strategy in place to sit down with the business software developers and do anything about it.
What is digital transformation?
The phrase is thrown around like confetti, but ask five different people what it means and you will get five answers. This is because it covers such a diverse range of technologies. As a discipline, it means leveraging the benefits and competitive advantages that digital advances bring.
And therein lies the rub – fail to do so, and businesses put themselves at a disadvantage that will lose them revenue, profitability and market share. A situation that can be fatal in the increasingly competitive environment of the 21st century.
Let’s examine some key aspects of digital transformation.
Businesses typically operate with a diverse range of software systems of varying ages. These might include systems for accounting, invoicing, stock management, customer databases, resource management and a whole host of other things.
There is inevitable duplication across these systems with everything from client details to product prices, which leads to inefficiencies and errors. Older systems can also be difficult to work with and prone to failures, meaning routine tasks take longer than they need to and causing frustration among operators, managers and customers.
A bespoke integrated system can bring these diverse strands under one roof – that means centralised databases from which the various functions can operate, all from one user-friendly interface. As well as saving time, reducing errors and relieving frustration, the increased reporting functionality can deliver insights to drive the business forward and reduce costs.
Web and mobile apps
More business is done online than ever before, and increasingly, this is through smartphones and tablets. If a business does not have mobile-friendly customer apps, it will be haemorrhaging business opportunities.
However, that is only half the story. Web-based mobile apps are also critical to internal clients, allowing managers and decision-makers to access business systems whenever they want to and from any location that has an internet connection.
Big Data Analytics
Data drives the modern world. We create so much of it with every online activity that there is literally more data than people know what to do with. Finding an answer to that question can put businesses at an immense advantage, through a better understanding of trends and behaviour in the marketplace. This is why investment in big data is increasing at a rate of more than 20 percent per year.
Failure to invest in these technologies today, will leave businesses rudderless while the competition forges ahead. Digital transformation is a 21st century fact. The question is whether your business is transforming with it.