Digital Transformation Guide (What, How, Strategy, Benefits)

If your business has paper-based processes or repetitive manual tasks, you may want to implement digital transformation. You can use technology to innovate and automate your key processes, saving you both time and money.

In this digital transformation guide, we’ll provide you with an overview, strategy, benefits and challenges. 

What is digital transformation?

Salesforce defines digital transformation as:

“The process of using digital technologies to create new – or modify existing – business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements”.

Businesses may use digital transformation to gain a competitive advantage, become more efficient, or launch a new product or service. We’ll dive more into the benefits later in this digital transformation guide.

A guide to digital transformation - how to identify opportunities

What problem are you trying to solve?

We ask ourselves the same question when we purchase a new product, change a process, or implement a system.

To identify areas for digital transformation, you can ask your colleagues “what frustrates you at work each day?” and “what stops you from being as productive as you can be?” 

You’ll then need to fully understand the problem, by speaking to other key stakeholders, understanding their pain points, and exploring how you can use digital technology to improve experience.

For example, you can use digital technology to automate processes, such as capturing customer details in a digital format, if you’ve found that they’re taking up too much time which can better be spent elsewhere.  

Digital technology can reshape your business, so you’ll need to look at how you can overcome the challenges in your business, whether it’s combining repetitive daily tasks, data collection, entry and processing, or application development.

What are four areas of digital transformation?

4 Areas of Digital Transformation: Process transformation Your business processes may be slowing you down, and you may be able to digitalise and automate your processes to improve user experience. An example may be, replicating data from your CRM system for reporting in Power BI in real-time rather than manually extracting and analysing data on an ad hoc basis. Business model transformation You may want to change your business model to create a new way of working, utilising digital technology to create new products or services. This could involve transforming a traditional high-street bookstore and creating an e-commerce platform to sell the books online. Domain transformation You may be looking at sliding into a different business area or market, using digital technologies. We recently utilised domain transformation to launch our test management tool, Qucate, into the software testing industry. Cultural/organisational digital transformation You may want to introduce new software or systems which your employees can use to increase collaboration and productivity. Examples include, employee portals, HR software, and project management tools
4 Areas of Digital Transformation: Process transformation Your business processes may be slowing you down, and you may be able to digitalise and automate your processes to improve user experience. An example may be, replicating data from your CRM system for reporting in Power BI in real-time rather than manually extracting and analysing data on an ad hoc basis. Business model transformation You may want to change your business model to create a new way of working, utilising digital technology to create new products or services. This could involve transforming a traditional high-street bookstore and creating an e-commerce platform to sell the books online. Domain transformation You may be looking at sliding into a different business area or market, using digital technologies. We recently utilised domain transformation to launch our test management tool, Qucate, into the software testing industry. Cultural/organisational digital transformation You may want to introduce new software or systems which your employees can use to increase collaboration and productivity. Examples include, employee portals, HR software, and project management tools

Assess your business and create your digital transformation strategy

Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll need a strategy that will go through the planning and execution process so that you can meet your end goal.

Once you understand the problems you’re trying to solve and the areas for digital transformation, you can evaluate each component under that area.

If you’re looking at process transformation, you’ll evaluate each of your business processes to identify gaps. For example, your assessment may include evaluating the below processes:

1. Core business processes

These are primary processes that drive your organisation, such as product development, customer acquisition, and CMS.

2. Operational processes

Operational processes support business functions and day-to-day operations, such as quality control and resource planning.

3. Customer-facing processes

Customer-facing processes directly interact with the customer, such as sales, support, onboarding, and customer experience.

4. IT processes

IT processes involve using digital transformation to automate or integrate, such as software development, system maintenance and upgrades, and database management.

5. Cross-functional processes

Cross-functional processes span multiple departments, such as project management, communication, and information sharing.

Once you’ve identified your areas of digital transformation, you can outline your approach with your digital transformation strategy.

1. Clearly define your objectives and goals

Examples could include improving efficiency, reducing costs, or enhancing customer experience.

2. Assess your processes

Identify areas for improvement by gathering metrics and feedback from key stakeholders.

3. Prioritise your processes!

Select the processes which have the potential for significant improvement

4. Embrace technology

Don’t be afraid to implement new software systems or adopting emerging technologies to help you meet your goals.

5. Monitor progress

Make sure you monitor and report progress on the impact of your digital transformation.

5 benefits of digital transformation

Digital transformation guide - Infographic showing 5 challenges of digital transformation Make your business more efficient Data-driven insights Encourage collaboration Improved productivity Increased agility

Digital transformation is complex, but it can be critical to the success of your business. Here are some benefits of using digital technology to transform your business.

1. Make your business more efficient

By automating your processes, integrating systems, or migrating to the cloud, you’ll save time and reduce overhead costs.

2. Data-driven insights

You can use digital transformation to collect and analyse data which you may not have used before. You’ll be able to collect, store, analyse, and translate data that can help with decision-making.

3. Encourage collaboration

By providing employees with the right tools, you’ll create a more seamless way to collaborate, whilst allowing upskilling and a shift to a digital culture.

4. Improved productivity

By streamlining workflows and reducing tasks, you can improve productivity and help employees become more efficient.

5. Increased agility

By using digital transformation, you can make your business more agile, allowing for faster innovation and risk management.

5 challenges of digital transformation

Digital transformation guide - Infographic showing 5 challenges of digital transformation Siloed decision-making Legacy systems Change-averse culture Technical resources and digital skills gap Insufficient budget

1. Siloed decision-making

If your business largely operates in isolation, with poor collaboration and communication, then you may find that it has a negative impact on decision-making, and therefore you may lack ideas or innovation to transform your business.

2. Legacy systems

Stepping out of your comfort zone is hard. You may find it easier to stick with your legacy system, even if there are more agile and robust tools out there.

3. Change-averse culture

Having a change management culture is crucial to business success, especially with digital transformation. You’ll need a change management strategy before adopting digital transformation.

4. Technical resource and digital skills gap

You may not have the internal resource or skills to adopt digital initiatives. If you don’t have an internal team already, and you’re not interested in hiring one, you can speak to a software company (like us) to transform your business.

5. Insufficient budget

Dependant on your project, the budget and scope of the project may not be a cost-effective solution. By identifying your long-term goals and ROI, you should be able to understand how flexible your budget can be.

Hopefully you found this digital transformation guide useful. If you’re interested in using technology to transform your business, and would like to find out more, head to our digital transformation page or contact us.

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Rebecca Lawton

Our Head of Partnerships and Marketing, Rebecca, is responsible for the generation and management of digital marketing content. She is an accomplished copywriter and has experience in SEO. Rebecca also leads our community engagement programmes, and works closely with our key partners.