Smart Business Practices in the Time of Digital Transformation

| January 31, 2019

Less than 2% of all businesses in Australia are mid-size businesses (19-200 staff & turnover of $10 million). Still, they are looking to make a larger impact on the Australian economy as a whole by changing the way they do business through digital transformation.

Digital Transformation

Strategic digital transformation is more than just updating the IT department – all departments need a digital makeover.

Altimeter, an independent research & strategy company providing information & consulting on disruptive technological trends, states that digital transformation among mid to large size companies will consist of an enterprise-wide movement instead of just a singular department strategy in 2019.

Mid-size business in Australia can also take advantage of digital transformation practices to grow their businesses, attract top talent, and catapult themselves and the Australian economy into a higher level of productivity & profitability.

6 Digital Transformation Practices for Mid-Sized Businesses

In order to do digital transformation “right”, a business must first realise that the digitization process has to cover all the major aspects of a business, like HR, marketing, production, sales or customer support.

Before you can begin your digital transformation, you should determine where you are at this moment.

  • Are management and the rest of the staff welcoming the change or dreading it?
  • Are your current technologies up-to-date?
  • Can you invest in the right kinds of technology to stay ahead or simply in-line with your competition?
  • Is your company/business prepared to deal with the more digitised “customer journey” of today?
  • Do you need to modernize your offer to conform to a more digital world?

Here are the six practices that will invigorate your mid-sized company’s current operations and benefit your customer base all at the same time.

1. Redefine Company Culture

75% of business who do not currently have a digital culture will fail in their digital transformation process. To implement it, you need your staff on board. Most resistance to change will come from Gen X and Baby Boomers who are still onboard.

To overcome resistance, give digital transformation a definition: List out benefits and positive aspects of this change. For instance, digital technology will automate mundane work activities which means they get more free time and increase collaboration efforts among team members.

Implement a new hiring paradigm: Technology changes exponentially over time, so when bringing in new employees, consider those who have multiple talents and are open to learning new skills.

2. Improve What You Already Have

Current business trends like automation, AI, e-commerce, & personalised customer servicing continues to rise each year making digital transformation a necessity and not a luxury.

You can streamline and enhance your ongoing operations. For example:

  • Employees can focus on important work when you automate mundane tasks.
  • You can improve customer experience: Collect data and analyse it, spot customer trends and optimize marketing to those directions.
  • You can expand your reach, even globally, which helps you create more income streams and raise their bottom line.

The improvements can extend throughout each area of your business.

3. Invest in the Right Technology

Digital transformation doesn’t just mean buying every new piece of technology on the market today. Assess your needs first. Over 53% of businesses who invested in the most recent technologies of 2018 – artificial intelligence, the Blockchain, & voice-recognition software – felt they were not prepared to use the technologies they bought.

There are 3 general digital technologies that almost all businesses can implement:

  • The Internet of Things (IoT): Interconnection of all computing devices via the Internet. Helps provide operational intelligence across all departments.
  • The Cloud: Offers the ability to store & access data over the Internet which facilitates scalability of processes.
  • Big Data: Achieve higher levels of organizational & customer insights and turn them into actionable results.

4. Empower Employees & Improve Engagement

Increasing your staff’s knowledge of digital technology offers two major benefits: it prepares them for the transformation to come and enhances skills they can keep for life even if they seek employment elsewhere.

There are 3 basic ways in which to empower employees to embrace and utilize digital technology.

  • Make digital training a requirement: This will get everyone involved – even those staff members unwilling to learn new skills who want to keep the status quo.
  • Tailor your digital training for each department: Tech training is not a one-size-fits-all process. Many departments will have to pick up various technical skills that other departments do not need.
  • Request feedback: The best way to know if your company’s digital training was effective is to ask the trainees. This will not only help your company rectify any mistakes and clear up current confusions but allow you to redefine your overall training process for future technological changes.

As employee engagement is the measuring stick of successful productivity and moral, it is a must that employees stay engaged the majority of the time while at work. Digital technology can also help in this process.

5. Implement Digital Technologies for Today’s Customer Journey

Modern technology has forever changed the Customer’s Journey – every moment (touchpoint) leading to & following a purchase!

Digital technology can help spot and record different touchpoints for each consumer and help tailor a marketing plan & strategy that answers their needs at any point in time.

There are around 13 major touchpoints these days that a consumer must go through before they trust & interact with a brand. Digital technology can help record and map out those touchpoints for more efficient marketing.

Here’s how the following technologies can help your mid-size business tailor a marketing strategy around your customer’s needs and increase conversion:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning: Helps you figure out why a customer buys a certain product over another. Helps analyze customer decisions and adjusts suggestions the more data it analyzes.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): The ability to collect large amounts of information about each customer that interacts with a brand, gives companies a chance to know their customers on a much higher level and therefore interact with them on a more personal basis.
  • Robotic Automation: Chatbots can offer pertinent information the customer is seeking while automated freeing-up employees to focus on more difficult tasks.

6. Transform Your Offer

Millenials have become the most influential group behind the business change. In roughly 3 years, Millenials will constitute over 50% of the global workforce.

These statistics should make it clear that they prefer products and services that feature benefits that only digital technology can give them. That too, delivered in a tech-savvy way.

In 2017, roughly 22 billion AUD was spent on online purchases within Australia (including B2C & B2B) and that number is expected to continue to grow steadily until 2021.

It is always difficult to discontinue a product or product line, yet those companies who want to survive and thrive during the upcoming period are going to have to take stop and ask themselves if what they offer coincides with this generation’s buying habits.

To a Digitised Tomorrow

Digital transformation may not be easy, but the steps listed above give you a foundation in which to build your digitalisation strategy from. Begin with these tips and add to them as per your company’s needs and goals. Australian mid-sized businesses have missed out on earlier opportunities of digital revolutions but are primed & poised to take advantage of the current one.