Guest Article – Alan Lupas, StoneDonut
Everyone seems to be talking about digital transformation lately, and why they need to transform the way they do business. But what really is Digital Transformation, and why should we even care about it?
Michael Dell, famed CEO of Dell Computers, had a few things to say about digital transformation:
“IT for a long time has been about how do you make old processes more efficient. But with all the progress in digital technology, there is a kind of digital transformation that is occurring. And you see it with an explosion in number of devices and you see it in the explosion in number of applications.”
He also said:
“The IT organization can’t drive or lead a digital transformation. It has to come from the business and business strategy, because they are fundamental to how a company or organization evolves.”
So digital transformation seems to be important, but why? The reason is that the world has changed, and in order to survive and thrive in our new economy, businesses must adapt and change, as well. Technology has changed our lives in many ways from smart phones, IoT, digital media, social media, and many other examples. We need to be even more integrated than ever before. Critical business process data drives good decision making and can be a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Without good data, we may make ill-informed decisions that can adversely affect our ability to grow and to be profitable.
So how should we approach a digital transformation process, and how can we get integrated across multiple applications and processes? Here are five steps we can take:
- Understand where we are today. Do an assessment of the current systems and business processes. What is being done manually today that could be automated? Where would the benefit come from? How could our company realize lower labor costs, higher quality, better use of internal resources, higher productivity, and the ability to support advanced growth in our business? How open or capable is our team to change? Where are the gaps today, and how could we close them?
- Develop a strategy. Every company is at some point on the digital spectrum. It can range from email and spreadsheets to fully automated customer order portals and the use of robotics. We need to identify where we see the biggest benefit and fastest ROI, and use that as a launching point into our digital transformation journey. Increasing order velocity / fulfillment can increase capacity and help satisfy even more customers with existing resources.
- Get Integrated. Many companies have an ERP business system, a separate CRM customer relationship system, and many other applications. These are either standalone, or work in silos. Work with a professional software services firm (like StoneDonut) that can help develop an integration solution architecture to share data, create common data pathways, and provide links to automate data and orders between us and our trading partners. Lower costs, lower operational overhead, and flexibility to grow/scale are all keys to our success.
- Build a new world. Embrace the new tools that are being introduced all the time. New ecommerce portals, supplier portals, EDI, and new digital marketplaces can expand our footprint globally. Optimizing what we do will pay for itself in faster response times, higher quality, and greater customer satisfaction.
- Take baby steps. We don’t need to do a complete digital transformation overnight. This is a process and a journey. Change takes time and people need to adapt to new ways of thinking and working. Take time to celebrate advances and reflect and evaluate what seems to be working, and what is not. Each iteration in the transformation process should lead to new learning too. Look at what we call “low hanging fruit,” identifying the lowest cost, easiest steps that can show impact. We can then build upon our successes to move up to the next level.
The best results come from taking a long-term view of the business along with a vision and commitment to change the status quo. We must have the courage to do something different, to lead. Innovation is the driving force behind successful firms. Digital transformation is a journey well worth taking.
StoneDonut, LLC, based in Cleveland, OH, is a leading digital transformation software development firm focused on application integration, information management, and business process improvement. StoneDonut works at the enterprise level to help businesses leverage technology to help their companies grow and prosper. Let StoneDonut know if they can help in digital transformation and journey. Contact Alan Lupas, Sales and Marketing Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 440-287-7570.