What is digital transformation?
So much has changed in recent years. Technology has leap forward in ways that even Bill Gates didn’t think would be possible thirty years ago. It has not just changed our everyday lives, but indeed how we do business. Technology and digitization has given us new ways to create, connect with the customer, and develop products that simply weren’t available before. But, how has it changed our daily business, and what can we do to implement it to its full potential.
What is the Digital Transformation?
The digital transformation is exactly what it sounds like. It’s our move towards more and more digital technologies as opposed to older ways of doing things. It could be said that it started with the installation of the first telegraph line. In recent years however it has skyrocketed. Things like the internet and the mobile phone allow us to stay in constant connection. We can communicate with the push of a button, or even outright work remotely. Computers give us the ability to gather and process data and to recognize patterns that the human brain simply can’t. They also allow us to design and create in far more complex ways than pen and paper ever could.
How Does This Change Business?
These new connection and computing capabilities primarily affect business by making it more efficient. The ability to gather and process data means you can identify bottlenecks in your production process. Or, effectively examine the effectiveness of a sales tactic, or a display. It also allows workers to stay on top of things while away from the office. Another of its benifits is the ability for people to now work remotely. Remote workers have been shown to overall be happier and more productive than their counterparts working on site. There is of course also the advantage of reduced costs and liability for the company.
How Should Companies Digitize?
Well, basically go slow. It’s easy to look at the latest gadgets and instantly fall in love and buy one for every employee. The thing is of course is that’s a great way to spend a lot of money. And the fact of the matter is that we’re still in the early days for a lot of this stuff. In fact, experts recommended not even putting a heavy focus on the tech. They instead say you should focus on what your business needs. Look at your business and ask how things could be made better. Then, go out and find the tech to fill that need. And remember, you’re going to need to take some risks. Calculated risks, but taking the safe way all the time will only get you burned in the end.
Will it Ever Stop?
Likely not. It’s very likely that things will slow down or plateau at some point. Though that may be a good deal in the future yet. But the point is that things are going to keep advancing and changing at a fairly fast pace. This is why the last point is so important. If you’re running around just grabbing all the latest technology all the time you’re going to go broke. It’s also important to accept that you are going to have to stay on top of things and keep looking for ways that digitization will help your business. Because if you don’t, some of your competitors will.
Talk to the People on the Floor
It can be easy to think that management knows everything from their positions on high. And, often they do know a great deal. But, the people on the floor are dealing with the nuts and bolts of how the operation runs every day. They have a perspective that you just can’t get from management’s offices. Be sure to always consult the staff when looking for ways to digitize. You of course don’t have to do everything they say, but they’ll often provide insights that you just wouldn’t have been able to think of yourself, saving you money and time in the long run.
How to Handle Staffing Changes
One of the effects of digitization is of course increased efficiency. This is of course one of the best things a business can do. However, the side effect of this is that you may end up not needing as many staff as you have. It’s important to handle this delicately, as businesses sink or swim on staff morale.
The first thing to do when you realize there’s a staff surplus is get rid of the problem employees. Anyone that isn’t particularly good at their job and isn’t well liked should be let go, if possible. It should still be handled delicately and professionally of course.
The next thing to do is see if you can shuffle people around to new jobs in the organization. An easy option is to expand your sales team.
The last and final step is of course gently getting rid of people. Things like offering severance packages or early retirement packages are all good options.
The most important thing to remember through this process is to treat people as well as possible. The employees you’re keeping are going to see how you treated the ones you let go, and they’re going to assume you’d treat them the same as you did the others.