Ten years ago, I couldn’t have cared less if the new burger joint downtown had a website. Now I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t. When your company is online, you are part of the digital transformation. But these days it is no longer enough to just “be online”. Companies that will thrive and operate online in 2021 – and the COVID-19 pandemic has proven it.
Consumer buying behavior has changed dramatically – today most consumers buy products online, including nearly 70% of millennials. In 2019, almost two-thirds of companies (64%) had a website. If you don’t have one, you could fall behind your online competition.
While having a website and a Facebook Page is a big step, the transformation involves more than just an online presence – technology should be ubiquitous in all of your business operations. This article examines digital transformation, why companies are coming on board, and outlines the roadmap for implementing one for your business. We’ll also share some real-world success stories from companies that have chosen to go digital.
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is a term used to describe the change that companies have seen and experienced in relation to the integration of technology into all aspects of their business, from the customer experience to in-store self-checkout. This transformation is not changing what companies do, but how companies do what they do.
Essentially, a digital transformation is fundamentally changing how companies offer their customers added value and how they streamline their processes. It’s a reminder that materials and processes your business uses in day-to-day operations, no matter how large or small, may need a new medium – technology. Let’s take a look at why this transformation exists in the first place, with particular reference to the current pandemic.
Why are companies going through a digital transformation?
Put simply, things are often easier when they are online. New technologies are making website building more accessible and giving companies more opportunities to connect with their audiences. A digital shift also saves time. You may already be using some digital strategy methods such as: B. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), social media planning tools and instant messaging apps. These are all examples of small digital transformations that replace paper instructions, outbound marketing, and an extra trip to your manager’s desk.
The switch to digital processes also makes it easier to carry out general large-scale business tasks. For example, online databases that sort and catalog customer information and automation tools that take over day-to-day activities and allow employees to focus on more pressing tasks.
Customers also expect the companies they interact with to have a digital presence, be it a streamlined Google My Business profile for easy access to assignment instructions or an automated chatbot that can answer their questions via Facebook Messenger.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated and accelerated the need for businesses to embrace digital transformation. With companies around the world forced to offer services online or at some distance from their customers, having digital tools was and is vital.
Many companies introduced various online practices during the pandemic, such as providing digital customer service. It is likely that due to the pandemic and general trends, customers will expect to be able to do business online with their favorite brands.
70% of companies today believe that digital transformation is worth it, and these companies either have a digital strategy or are seriously working towards one.
Overall, 70% of companies today are of the opinion that digital change is worthwhile. These companies either have a digital strategy or are seriously working towards one. Whether you already belong to these companies or are ready to start your journey, we’ll go over three key questions you can use as a roadmap for executing your strategy.
Strategy for the digital transformation
Business leaders face a variety of options for implementing digital transformation. As the technology spreads, there are numerous tools to choose from. While it can be exciting (and overwhelming) to imagine all the possible upgrades you can make to your business, a digital transformation strategy will help you focus better.
This strategy is essentially a structured way to move through the process as you get from point A (pre-transformation) to point B (post-transformation). Let’s go through some key questions and additional requirements in order to develop a viable strategy for digital transformation.
1. Why do we need a transformation?
As with any plan and strategy you’ve created for your business, designing your roadmap begins with identifying your purpose. You can start this process by uncovering the challenges your business is facing that have significantly impacted its success, or processes that you believe technology will make easier. This can be anything from everyday automation tasks like sending out email newsletters to more important business needs like data collection and storage.
You may also be hoping to tackle multiple challenges at once. For example, suppose your company has problems handling customer service requests because you use different platforms to store customer data and communicate with customers. Employees may have difficulty accessing a customer’s history with your company as they have to search through other records and switch between platforms to find the information they need. This takes time, and customers may report that they are frustrated with how long it takes to resolve their issues.
In this case, the answer to why we need a transformation? is that your customer service team is struggling to deliver the customer experience they want due to long waiting times and a disorganized data storage system. Whatever your reasons, identifying the challenges that highlight the need for digital transformation makes it easy to create more goals and metrics that will determine the success of your process.
2. What do I have to achieve in order to transform myself?
As mentioned above, the challenges and weaknesses you have identified answer why you need to transform. Once you have this why, it will be easier for you to figure out what to do and what steps to take to overcome the challenges you have described.
The goal is to develop metrics or goals that will help you and your teams guide you through this process, including workflows, identifying key stakeholders, and assigning critical tasks. If you have multiple pain points, come up with at least one goal for each one.
As you identify these goals, you will set a timeframe in which they should be achieved in order to be successful in your transformation. If you continue with the previous example, your challenge is that reps don’t have access to a summary of customer history. Your goal may be that over the year you want a streamlined process for entering and cataloging customer information and waiting less than a minute to access customer records during service interactions. With that in mind, you know what it takes to say that you have changed your process. This will make it easier to identify the tools that will assist you along the way.
3. What do I have to change in order to achieve these goals?
The final question involves researching and identifying the technology you need to transform successfully. Some of these might be tools to help you achieve your end goal, while others are the permanent solution that you implement and use forever.
Using the same example as before, you want to know what tools to start with in order to transfer the data you already have into the tool that will allow your employees to access customer data within the time period you specify. This can mean that your first tool is a simple data integration platform that you use to merge existing data from your various sources. After that, you may need a sorting tool that will catalog and organize data into business-relevant categories. This data is also integrated into a Customer Relationship Platform (CRM) that all of your employees can access during customer interaction.
4. Get a company-wide buy-in.
A digital transformation affects all areas of your company. With that in mind, it’s important that you get an enterprise-wide buy-in from packaging and fulfillment to C-suite executives. You can’t just say, “Okay, we’ll do this!” however, expect a seamless process. For this reason, this principle follows the first three key questions: Inspire the buy-in based on the previously collected knowledge.
One of the first things you should do is present the teams with a clear why statement that explains the reasons your business needs to go through a digital transformation. Along with the why statement, present a value proposition to explain the benefits the company (and employees) will derive from this transformation. Perhaps you can share sample projections that you created or a case study that you created based on market research and competitive analysis (which we will cover below).
Lastly, you should let them know that this is an involved process. You’re not asking them to come on board and take care of it – you want them to be part of the process. They can ask questions, make suggestions, or just ask about their new responsibilities.
5. Research industry and market competitors.
As with most new projects, understanding what your competitors are doing is important. Conducting a competitive analysis can help you with this as it will give you a complete picture of performance.
The results of your research will likely give you an understanding of how they run their business once they have implemented digital transformation and been successful, and uncover potential areas where your company can outperform them. It’s also important to do some general market research to understand what trends are emerging in your industry, to understand how to compare, or to get inspiration to steer your process further.
6. Create a budget.
Digital transformation is an expensive process, especially if it involves a complete overhaul of your current methods. Once you understand your purpose and how to make changes, create a budget. This budget should take into account all possible costs incurred throughout the process: software costs for transitional and permanent tools, costs for hiring new talent, training staff for new processes, and allocating funds for unexpected costs.
The unexpected cost area of your budget is possibly the most important as digital transformation is based on change. These changes are likely new. Therefore, you should be prepared if problems arise due to adjustment difficulties.
7. Create a roadmap for digital transformation.
Once you have all the information you need, the next step is to implement your strategy. As mentioned above, how to get from point A to point B. A roadmap for digital transformation is the way to do this and we will outline the steps below.
Roadmap for the digital transformation
After you’ve created your strategy, a detailed plan will guide you through implementing it. HubSpot offers a free template that you can use to plan and work through a digital transformation roadmap, broken down into seven weeks.
First, this template includes a checklist that you can fill in with the information you gathered while creating your strategy. You can input benefits, what you need to achieve to transform, the tools you need to transform, and key stakeholders for your business. Having all the information in one place makes it easier for you to refer to a common document as you navigate your process.
The first week is about collecting existing sales and marketing materials on paper, while the second week is about broadcasting your business online and so on. These small steps will fit into your busy schedule and will help you stay organized during the transition.
Week two is all about data migration. With a free CRM like HubSpot, you can enter business data and customer profiles into an easily accessible database.
By weeks three and four, you should have a working website and marketing resources that can help you learn more about your visitors and their behavior.
The second half of the weekly schedule increases your online presence. This template allows you to organize your new digital move by area to avoid running a big push and confusing employees at the same time.
If you blog by week five, you can find your target audience online. Posts should be related to your target market (if you are a tech marketing company, posts should focus on the interface between the two) to demonstrate your expertise. This strengthens your reputation as a thought leader in your industry.
By week six, you should set up a sales flow that digitizes your sales process. With online sales tools, you can keep track of all of your contacts, log your conversations, and keep track of preparedness plans and upcoming meetings.
Email and paid ads should rock by week seven. The email software you choose will help you send automated emails to subscribers and will allow you to try paid advertising software.
In a month and a half, most of your business processes will be digital.
Best of all, this template can be tailored to meet the unique needs of your business, giving you room for expansion as your business continues to scale. However, as a starting point, you’re good to go.
Once you have your digital roadmap in place, it will make it easier for you to deepen your processes and create a definitive list of the technologies you need to transform successfully. Below are some popular digital transformation tools that should be considered.
Tools for digital transformation
Depending on your overall transformation goals, there are several platforms available to help you be successful and achieve your goals. However, there are several multipurpose tools that can benefit all types of businesses, and we’ll cover a few of them below.
1. Instant messaging
Instead of having a meeting or long email thread for a quick message, consider using an enterprise instant messaging tool for quick and easy communication. Some instant messaging services are designed for company settings like Slack or Flock.
These services allow you to share files, send direct messages, and create channels where teams can collaborate and discuss projects. Think of it as the office water cooler – online only.
2. Application tools
Are you looking for new talent? The best candidates (especially those who prefer to work digitally) are online. For example, LinkedIn, a professional networking website, is a great resource for recruiting candidates:
You can publish an entry using the LinkedIn template. You can use LinkedIn’s industry function to ensure that it gets approved for relevant candidates. LinkedIn will notify you of new entries and send you their applications, making the selection process a breeze. This is an alternative to collecting application materials via email, which can make it difficult to structure, organize, and compile applications.
3. Sales management
The software allows you to manage many facets of your business, including sales. This software allows you to manage calls, pipelines, reports and follow-up resources to aid a smooth online migration of your process.
For example, as shown above, HubSpots Sales Hub can be used to organize all of your sales materials online. Within the platform, you can use a dashboard to manage transactions, filter contacts and create various tasks to keep track of your sales processes.
4. Standard operating procedures (SOPs)
When you have certain aspects of your daily life that require multiple steps usually written on paper, broadcast them online. This reduces the paper path and makes the processes shared and accessible for all employees.
The online SOP software makes it easy to list procedures and job functions, which can be beneficial for onboarding and training employees. To ensure a smooth transition to your new digital tool, talk to employees and ask them to contribute and work with you. The following image is an example of a digital SOP workflow management tool from Process.st.
5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
A CRM will be your best friend when you move to an all-digital company. Regardless of whether you want to change the customer experience, optimize sales or digitize your marketing process, CRM makes these processes easier and even automates repetitive tasks. HubSpot’s free CRM offers three hubs that give you an all-in-one business platform for scalable growth.
HubSpot’s free CRM offers three hubs that give you a comprehensive business platform. From customer service reps to sales executives and business owners, this free CRM enables you to completely transfer your business and drive growth online.
6. Video chat software
Is your team out of town but need to schedule a meeting? Are your representatives switching to a remote work-from-home model but still want to maintain a collaborative environment? Use video chat software to virtually meet and maintain employee connections.
Software like Skype for Business and Zoom offer free web chat services for professional use.
Skype has automatic subtitle settings and 1: 1 functions as well as the option to host multiple people at the same time when making calls. Most programs also have mobile applications to ensure that you can be reached and meet at any time during the work day.
While these tools are designed to make your life easier, you may be confused about how they can be applied to your business. Fortunately, many companies are joining the digital revolution because they have similar needs. Below are digital transformation trends that will help you control your process further and understand how to use the tools to meet your business needs.
Digital transformation trends
As the digital world grows, many companies are jumping on the transformation trend. Whether you already have your own plan or want some inspiration for a future transformation, let’s examine the trends in digital transformation in 2021.
Rapid introduction of a digital operating model
With COVID-19, companies had to quickly adapt to online models. Because the pandemic could not be predicted, many companies had to scale their processes personally, and local business models became uncertain. Most industries had to adapt to the occasion, unless they simply couldn’t adapt to a work-from-home or work-from-online model.
For example, customer service companies have had to integrate online processes in order to successfully meet customer requirements, e.g. B. Chatbots to answer routine and simple questions. Restaurants and grocery stores offering grocery services have had to adapt to online grocery and grocery delivery options in order to continue to securely deliver groceries to customers.
When COVID-19-related outbreaks are controlled, the need for adaptation does not die out, but becomes a requirement. Unternehmen müssen weiterhin die neuen Tools verwenden, die sie angepasst haben, oder detaillierte Pläne für zukünftige unvorhersehbare Umstände erstellen, die sie möglicherweise zu einer schnellen Anpassung zwingen.
KI und maschinelles Lernen
Verbraucher erwarten heute mehr denn je personalisierte Erlebnisse. Personalisierte Erfahrungen sind auch ein treibender Faktor für die Kundenbindung, da 41% der Kunden aufgrund mangelnder Personalisierung einen Unternehmenswechsel gemeldet haben. Dies bedeutet nicht nur, dass Kunden möchten, dass Sie sie mit ihrem Namen ansprechen, wenn sie Sie am Telefon anrufen. Sie möchten, dass Ihr Unternehmen weiß, was sie wollen, bevor sie wissen, dass sie es wollen.
Aus diesem Grund ist die Einführung von Tools für KI und maschinelles Lernen ein beliebter Transformationstrend, die zu personalisierten und kundenspezifischen Erlebnissen beitragen. Ein typisches Beispiel hierfür sind die Algorithmen auf Netflix. Es analysiert Ihren vorherigen Uhrenverlauf, Vorlieben und Abneigungen sowie Inhaltsbewertungen, um herauszufinden, was Ihnen am wahrscheinlichsten gefällt, und empfiehlt neue Inhalte. Dieser Prozess funktioniert, da ungefähr 80% der auf Netflix angesehenen Fernsehsendungen durch Empfehlungen entdeckt werden.
Abgesehen davon, dass Sie Ihren Kunden unterschiedliche Erfahrungen bieten, können KI und maschinelles Lernen auch die Optimierung von Prozessen beinhalten, die Ihre Mitarbeiter selbst durchführen, z. B. das Bereinigen und Organisieren Ihrer Daten oder die Verwendung eines Social-Media-Planungstools zum Posten und Analysieren Ihrer sozialen Profile. McKinsey hat vorausgesagt, dass diese Art der Automatisierung die Produktivität auf breiter Front jährlich um 14% steigern kann.
Ebenfalls von COVID-19 beeinflusst, haben Unternehmen im Jahr 2020 erkannt, wie wichtig es ist, ein Arsenal an Tools zur Verfügung zu haben, mit denen ihre Mitarbeiter bei Bedarf remote arbeiten können. Einige dieser Tools sind bekannte Optionen, wie Google Suite, Microsoft Office Teams und Trello, aber zusätzliche Tools haben im Laufe des Jahres 2020 an Popularität gewonnen.
Ring Central ist eines dieser Tools, da Anrufe an Ihren Geschäftsbereich an Mobiltelefone oder Remote-Mitarbeiter weitergeleitet werden können. Dies ist äußerst vorteilhaft für Unternehmen, die sich auf das Kundenerlebnis konzentrieren. Zoom ist ein weiteres Tool, das in den letzten Monaten zu einem Kommunikationskraftwerk geworden ist. Es ist eine benutzerfreundliche Desktop-Plattform zum Planen, Hosten und Aufzeichnen von Unternehmensbesprechungen.
Alles in allem hat COVID-19 gezeigt, dass die Arbeit von zu Hause aus ein wertvolles Modell für Unternehmen ist, das sowohl während als auch nach der Pandemie in Betracht gezogen werden muss. Einige Unternehmen haben sich bereits verpflichtet, diese Praxis im Laufe der Zeit fortzusetzen. Zum Beispiel hat Google die geplanten Rückgabetermine für das Büro auf September 2021 verschoben und angekündigt, dass das Unternehmen ein flexibles Arbeitswochenmodell testen wird, bei dem Mitarbeiter ihre Arbeitswoche zwischen der Arbeit von zu Hause aus und der Teilnahme an Tagen der Bürozusammenarbeit aufteilen können.
API-Sicherheit (Application Programming Interface)
Wenn Prozesse digital werden, wird es noch wichtiger, die privaten, vertraulichen Informationen zu schützen, die Sie auf Ihren Unternehmensplattformen speichern. Angesichts dessen ist ein aktueller Trend zur digitalen Transformation ein erhöhter Bedarf an API-Sicherheit.
Kurz gesagt, die APIs, die Sie verwenden, sind die Produkte, die Sie aufgrund Ihrer Strategie für die digitale Transformation implementiert haben, z. B. Slack. Slack ist ein Tool, das die Geschäftskommunikation zwischen internen Teams und Geschäftsmitarbeitern aufnehmen kann. Sie verwenden Slack wahrscheinlich, um geschäftsrelevante private Informationen zu versenden. Wie können Sie jedoch sicherstellen, dass diese Daten nicht von der API-Sicherheit genutzt werden?
Zur API-Sicherheit gehören Sicherheitsmaßnahmen, die sicherstellen, dass Ihre vertraulichen Informationen vor Hackern oder externen Bedrohungen wie Verschlüsselungsdiensten und Zwei-Faktor-Authentifizierung geschützt sind. Während diese Maßnahmen für Ihre Geschäftsinformationen von wesentlicher Bedeutung sind, ist die API-Sicherheit auch für Verbraucher wichtig.
Für sie bedeutet dies, dass die Informationen, die Sie von ihnen sammeln, sicher und auch vor externen Bedrohungen geschützt sind. Dies bedeutet, dass sie, wenn sie Bankinformationen auf Ihrer Website eingeben, um einen Kauf zu tätigen, diese Informationen vor Malware schützen möchten. Wenn Sie eine App haben, die sie auf ihr Telefon heruntergeladen haben, möchten sie wissen, dass die App sicher ist und kein Dritter Zugriff auf diese Informationen hat. 84% der Kunden sind Unternehmen mit robuster Sicherheit gegenüber loyaler. Daher lohnt es sich, diese Prozesse anzupassen.
Digital Transformation Examples
- Museo National Thyssen-Bornemisza
Given the trends mentioned above, it’s clear that digital transformation is something to focus on for 2021 if you haven’t already begun the process for your business. Or, if you have, maybe you’re hoping to address a different business challenge and start a new process entirely. Whatever your desires are, let’s go over four real-life examples of brands that have gone digital in a notable way.
Nike, a sportswear company, has focused their digital transformation strategy on mobile devices. Rather than needing to visit a store and consult with an in-person employee, their mobile application uses machine learning and AI algorithms to study customer preferences and previous purchases to recommend products they may enjoy.
The company also created a scanning tool where customers can scan their feet and the AI uses 13 data points to recommend the best pair of shoes. This automation eliminates the need to obtain recommendations from an in-store employee, so users can make decisions at home and spend less time in stores because they already know what they want.
During the pandemic, this tool has become especially useful as customers can get shoe recommendations and make purchases online, ensuring the safety of in-house employees and other visitors.
Wepow is a Human Resources tech company. They have enacted a digital transformation to digitize the application and hiring process. Like Nike, the company has used AI and machine learning to analyze data to make it easier for employers and applications to connect digitally through online video interviewing and online applications.
During the pandemic, businesses like this have become a beneficial resource as an alternative to in-person interviewing as remote work and safety requirements do not allow for in-house interviewing.
Target, a U.S. based department store, has spent the past eight years enacting a digital transformation that bridges the gap between in-person and Ecommerce shopping.
Many of their stores have been remodeled and equipped with new technology like self-checkout kiosks and in-store scanners to obtain information about products they’re interested in rather than asking for help from a store attendant. As a result, employees spend less time on rote processes and focus on customer service needs that can’t be solved with a digital tool.
A transformation that has become increasingly beneficial during COVID-19 is their online shopping and curbside pickup option. Even though customers may be shying away from visiting a store, they may not want to wait for a shipped item to arrive at their house. Curbside pickup allows them to order everything they need online and seamlessly pick up their items at a physical Target location without leaving their car and entering a store.
4. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Borenmisza
Part of the allure of visiting a museum is the ability to aimlessly walk through exhibits and lose track of time. This desire hasn’t changed, but unfortunately, health and safety regulations have limited or gotten rid of the ability to safely browse your favorite galleries.
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Borenmisza, an art museum in Madrid, has risen to the occasion and undergone a digital transformation that allows art enthusiasts to continue enjoying what the museum has to offer from the comfort of their own home. They’ve digitized some of their most popular galleries and created an online museum walkthrough for interested visitors to explore and immerse themselves in the art.
Join In on the Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is digital because technology is used to solve traditional business problems and enhance the customer experience. For most businesses, some sort of digital presence has always been essential. However, recent health and safety requirements have shown that now, more than ever, businesses must have the ability to rise to the occasion and meet customers online.
To make sure that you’re one of these businesses, take the time to create a digital transformation roadmap, research the necessary tools, and understand the trends that have inspired other businesses to change. Being prepared now sets you up for success, regardless of what the future holds.