Digital transformation strategies are a function of business that is entirely unique to our modern times. However, neglecting your digital presence is no longer an avenue you can afford to take. Forget creating a digital footprint so that your business can thrive. Now, you need to up your digital game or your business won’t survive. Read on to find out more about crafting a clear digital transformation strategy.
How to Develop a Digital Transformation Strategy
A successful digital transformation today is different from what it was even a year ago. During this pandemic, it is all about figuring out the best ways for your business to continue meeting customer needs in a dynamic, engaging way. Digital transformation involves empowering your employees and enabling them to be authentic and creative. It is integrating digital technology into all areas of your business. It is understanding your customers while building connections between your customers and employees. Most of all, digital transformation means radically shifting the culture and values of your company, pushing boundaries, and being open to the possibility of failure.
At Universal Creative Solutions, we strive to identify and solve the problems that impede humankind’s ability to achieve its full potential. We believe that everyone should have a constant opportunity for self-actualization. We focus on the positive aspects of problem-solving and perform remote strategy consulting to help you realize your business’ full potential. Change is constant in business; this is not new, but the emphasis on digital connections is. We want to turn this notion on its head. You can have an effective digital presence without sacrificing those human connections.
If you need some help developing a digital transformation strategy, keep reading. We have put together this comprehensive guide to help you formulate and implement your strategy. Simply follow these seven steps and you’ll be on your way to a digital transformation.
Eliminate Internal Process Inefficiencies
To make the most of digital transformation, your internal business operations have to reach peak efficiency. This means evaluating your operations management and streamlining your processes. Look at any out-of-date processes and modernize them. Automate your manual processes and reduce the need to have multiple people work on a project. Not only will this save money, but it will also free your employees up to focus on other tasks. Simplify overly complicated tasks; usually, jobs are complicated when they don’t need to be.
Making these jobs easier is common sense. It doesn’t mean your employees won’t have to work hard; they will be working hard on things that matter instead of busy work for work’s sake. Make it easy for your employees to find the information they need, and get your entire company used to implementing new systems, policies, and requirements. By priming your staff for success and laying the groundwork for your company’s financial and physical growth, you have taken the first step toward your digital transformation.
Easily Manage Costs & Reduce Operational Costs
Reducing operational costs is particularly imperative now. Cost management could mean moving your entire business to an online platform or simply exercising cost-saving measures. There’s not much to be done about fixed costs like rent or mortgage, salaries, or insurance. However, by moving your business primarily online and allowing employees to work remotely, you can drastically reduce overhead.
Integrating system processes can help with cost management. Smoothly transitioning to digital technology can help you reach your cost targets and provide you with more money to reinvest in your company. Successfully managing technology and growing that part of your business can even add revenue streams that you never imagined possible. Accomplishing true cost reduction and management is one of the imperatives of the digital transformation strategy. It means reducing your operational costs, managing business costs through increased use of technology, and creating new possibilities for revenue. If you can accomplish this, you can begin to grow your business.
Data Precision in Reports for Better Demand Forecasting
Demand forecasting relies on historical data evaluation. Dig deep into your data to find recent trends in purchasing. Look at your inventory to determine high-demand items, but also examine trends in demand over time. Does demand increase at a particular time of year or remain steady throughout from year to year? How much is demand driven by external factors, for instance, an increase in the purchase of shelf-stable groceries along the Atlantic coast during hurricane season? By anticipating these events, you can provide consistent service to your customers while also optimizing your supply chain management.
Additionally, demand forecasting helps to shape your logistics. Loss reduction, better workforce management, and improved sales and marketing management are all systems that you can streamline through demand forecasting. You can avoid over and under-stocking necessary inventory, have your employees work where they’re needed, and make sure promotional materials go out on time with the most up-to-date information. Once you have these processes optimized, you will have an easier time preparing for the future.
Increase Productivity Through Optimized Scheduling & Planning
Schedule optimization will help improve processes by ensuring every item on your work schedule ultimately meets your end goals. With regard to productivity, this takes two forms.
The first is an overall improvement in efficiency. What is the outcome you’re looking for? Use schedule optimization to find the best way to reach that goal. For instance, if you need repair technicians to cater to more customers to their daily rounds, schedule optimization would group every repair person’s client list geographically to avoid having them travel long distances.
The second is meeting or exceeding deadlines. Whether you’re staring down the deadline for a grant proposal or trying to improve your on-time numbers in a medical office, schedule optimization can help. Schedules are often like dominoes - once one domino falls, the rest follow along. When used to its fullest extent, schedule optimization stops the dominoes and gets everyone back on track.
Empower Employees and Enhance Engagement
Employee engagement is the key to successfully growing your business. If employees aren’t fully involved in and empowered by their work, everything from customer satisfaction to productivity is affected. Even a company’s ability to retain quality employees can be harmed, resulting in high turnover and revenue loss from being under-staffed.
The good news is that this is simple to fix. If you allow your employees the chance to solve problems and take the initiative without having to seek management approval and then reward their successes, you can empower your workers. Sometimes they won’t be successful, in which case making them responsible and accountable for any and every outcome is also empowering.
Empowered employees are more likely to be emotionally connected both to the organization as a whole and their fellow workers. They are more likely to work harder, have more pride in their work and the company’s work in general, and tend to more frequently seek out opportunities for advancement within the company, thus increasing the pool of “home-grown” talent.
Provide Better Customer Experience to Establish Stronger Relationships
Customer experience is not the same as customer service. Customer experience looks at every interaction a customer has with your business, from the first contact to their status as a repeat customer. Customer service, while no less valuable, is limited to a single interaction.
As a business, you can use a Customer Relationship Management software (CRM), Marketing Automation Software, and your website to track customer experience in real-time. You can use data from customer’s activity to anticipate customer needs, recommend a related item for purchase, or even reward brand loyalty with a store credit or gift card. For example, a yarn shop allows its shoppers to keep online wish lists for out of stock items and then notifies them by an automated email when an item they wanted is back in stock. The same shop then tracks every customer’s purchases and rewards them with store credit after buying certain amounts. New customers stay engaged, the shop retains loyal customers, and returning customers are rewarded with store credit.
Customers are extremely loyal to the brands or companies they love, but that love can go awry. By maintaining transparency in the customer experience realm, you can have your finger on the pulse of your business.
Gain Higher Quality Leads With Automated Inbound Marketing
For too long, business marketing focused on disruptive outbound marketing. Think dinner-interrupting sales calls and robocalls galore. The beauty of inbound marketing is that it lets your business put its content on the web in blogs, on social media, and through search engines. Potential customers can then research, read reviews, and compare products and pricing on their own time. By the time a customer makes that initial contact, whether via email, phone call, social media, or in person, they are usually committed. They have made up their minds. You don’t have to cultivate a customer because your digital footprint has done the work for you.
This does mean, however, that you must have an impressive digital presence. Invest in a quality, accessible website. Take potential customers into account. If you’re marketing interior design to recent empty nesters, don’t make your website white with pale gray text. The customers you want to attract will complain that they can’t see anything, and you will lose them. Instead, use clean lines, clear text with good contrast, and mean what you say. A good web strategy will go a long way towards reeling in new customers.
Four Main Areas of Digital Transformation
Companies starting out today have an advantage in that they are largely founded by so-called digital natives. Technology is as easy as breathing to them, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no room in the digital framework for the rest of us.
Businesses must adapt to the new digital frontier. This includes not only integrating their technology but also streamlining their business process management. Companies need the ability to change, to meet the digital frontier with flexibility.
Increasing your digital footprint and technology is only one part of your digital transformation strategy. You need to recognize that technology is only the first step. Without sound business practices, strong employee support, and customer loyalty, a digital transformation strategy won’t work. Conversely, having a robust infrastructure and a weak digital strategy is equally detrimental. Going into a digital transformation policy without a structured plan usually ends in failure.
Committing to a digital transformation strategy is a huge step for your business. Embracing a digital culture means changing the way you think and what your vision for your business is. There are four main digital transformation areas: employee empowerment, customer engagement, operations optimization, and product transformation. We covered most of these briefly above, but let’s dive a little deeper.
1. Empowering employees
We already know that empowered employees work harder, have a more significant investment in your business, and are more engaged with their work and co-workers. But what else can you accomplish by empowering your employees?
You can improve productivity and foster collaboration and creativity. Gaining a reputation as someone who values their employees and welcomes their input into business processes will allow you to attract top-caliber talent in all departments. Having great employee talent allows you to offer even more freedom, creativity, and space to your workers.
2. Engage your customers
Use data-driven metrics to engage with your customers, both in-person and digitally. Useful customer data is information that you can use to create actionable intelligence and deliver increased personalization to your customers. With good data, you can track every customer contact, every purchase, every detail about what your customers buy and when. Personalizing the customer experience will drive continued growth and attract new customers. Having an efficient data tracking system will increase productivity and profits.
3. Optimize your operations
Optimizing your operations is the key to business process management. Use data systems to evaluate everything from your supply chain to employee schedules and customer experience. Then, you can make informed decisions about your future.
4. Transform your products
We didn’t talk about product transformation previously, but it plays a huge part in digital transformation. You’ve worked hard. You’ve optimized your employee scheduling, your supply chain, your customer experience, and your business processes. Now it’s time to take care of your products. Revitalize your offerings. Try brand-new products or updated versions of old favorites. Ask your customers what they want to see or seek out your employees and find out what products they are excited to sell. Reevaluating your product offerings from time to time is a good business move anyway, but using data-driven analytics as part of your digital transformation strategy should be employed for a more impactful transformation.
Digital Transformation Strategy
Making the change to a digital transformation strategy is a big commitment. At Universal Creative Solutions, we offer remote business operations consulting to assist you with planning and implementing your strategy. We can walk you through everything you need to know to get the process started, and we can help you implement an existing plan.