Today, the digital transformation or digitalization of a company has become unavoidable. Indeed, from SMEs to large groups, the evolution of technologies is manifesting itself in strong transformations within organizations.
In a world where the search for productivity is at its peak and where new technological means are omnipresent, business leaders are committing themselves to major digital and sometimes cultural transformations.
Nevertheless, the need for change is not obvious to everyone. Some companies find it difficult to implement change and sometimes feel limited by their human and financial resources. Cultural obstacles and obstacles linked to a company’s history and activities can also slow down the process of transformation. We are therefore going to enlighten you and try to help you to understand the stakes of this notion and especially how to implement it.
What is a digital transformation?
In order to better understand this concept, it is necessary to have in mind its definition. A digital transformation is a process of fully integrating digital technologies into all activities. It is important to assimilate the adverb “fully” since many companies already use new information and communication technologies. But the concept of digital transformation goes much further than the use of emails or the development of a website. Indeed, this notion encompasses many axes that revolutionize the way we work but also the way we understand our vision of work. Digital transformation aims to take advantage of the widespread use of the Internet, particularly the vision that we have of :
- Real time: new technologies clearly abolish temporal boundaries,
- Mobility: from now on, everyone can connect to the internet,
- Economic models: thanks to the Internet and new technologies, the vision of the economy has been radically transformed.
Integrating new technologies into the company inevitably leads to new uses and new ways of operating within the company. For example, digital marketing teams are relying more and more on Big Data to support their decisions and major strategic orientations. Another example, perhaps more concrete, is that the advent of connected objects is only made possible by the digital transformation! In short, this opens up many new opportunities for innovation and productivity to make your business stronger.
A digital transformation: why do you need it?
Now that you understand what we are talking about, let’s focus on the objectives that can be pursued. First of all, a large percentage of managers expect to increase their turnover by investing in digital. Four out of five of them think that their company must become digital in order to be able to innovate. Many business leaders are betting or have already bet on a digital transformation of their company. But for what reasons?
1. Responding to new consumer needs
First of all, it seems fundamental for a company to adapt as much as possible to the evolution of society’s uses. Over the last 20 years, online shopping has exploded, we spend more and more time on social media via smartphones, and our media consumption habits are moving away from the television. We are therefore spending more time using the internet and new technologies. For a company, these facts are fundamental. For example, a ready-to-wear brand must be present on the web to attract new customers, at a time when the big fashion groups are setting up advertising campaigns on the web.
2. Responding to consumer demands
With the advent of smartphones and augmented reality, starting a digital transformation is a way to meet the ever-increasing demands of consumers. Here, we must not fall into the excesses of the pure players, who have gone all-digital but mix the old consumer behaviors with the new habits linked to the web. For example, having a merchant site on the Internet is completely compatible with the implementation of small competitions organized on social networks in order to advertise and attract new customers.
3. Develop your marketing and sales department
The digital transformation has enormous advantages for your marketing and sales department. First of all, the costs of communication via the Internet are much lower than before. The same applies to e-commerce. Thanks to e-commerce, you will make spectacular savings. Marketing and sales operations are also less expensive. They are much easier and quicker to set up via digital means. Thanks to digital transformation, you will also be able to know the effectiveness of a campaign or a product very quickly, thanks to customer feedback, data, and statistics calculated online. All these tools are designed to increase your competitiveness.
4. Connected employees
Yes, the digital transformation is not only for your customers or your service providers. Your employees will also see their lives change. The digital transformation also impacts your company’s departments: their collaboration will now be transversal, their communication horizontal and no longer vertical. Your employees will now be able to exchange information instantly, thanks to internal messaging systems, for example, where files can be sent and agendas and folders shared more quickly. The digital transformation, therefore, makes it possible to gain time, competitiveness, and cohesion.
5. Enhance your image
Digital technology offers a multitude of opportunities in terms of image and reputation. Indeed, the more connected your company is, the more customers and new talents will be attracted to your company. For example, you can create a Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube account to promote your brand, your products, or even your employees. Showing that they are happy to work in your company will allow you to value your work as a manager. Involving your employees in your digital transition is a criterion to keep in mind.
6. Stand out from the competition
Finally, the last asset of digital transformation: fighting the competition. In a world where companies, from SMEs to large subsidiaries, fight day after day to differentiate themselves, digital transformation allows them to take a real turn. Indeed, thanks to the various internet tools, your company can stand out from its competitors in a very short time. To do this, you must first study the different digital strategies implemented by your competitors in order to identify the sectors where you can make a big impact. To fight your enemy, you have to know him!
The challenges of digital transformation
Digital transformation impacts the company both internally and externally. The main challenge in embarking on such a process is first and foremost one of survival and sustainability of the organization. Digital technology can, for example, enable the business model to become digital. We are not talking here about a simple creation of a website! One of the challenges of digital for the company is to anticipate changes in consumer behavior through strong innovation policies.
Another that should not be neglected! We are talking about the customer experience. Digital technology allows us to personalize the customer experience in a very impressive way. Collecting data via a CRM, rigorous categorization of data associated with marketing automation tools and techniques can provide your customers with a very differentiating experience. You are able to respond faster, in a more qualitative way or to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time. No more mass marketing that does more harm than good.
How do I set up my digital strategy?
Now that you have in mind the different challenges and benefits of digital transformation, let’s see in this last part a typical method to implement this transformation.
1. Defining strategies
As with any change in a company, you need to prepare a global strategy beforehand. To do this, you must first identify your objectives and answer the following questions: Why do I need to make my digital transition? For what reasons? In collaboration with your marketing and sales departments, you must discuss the means and expected results. Once this step has been completed, you must now list the human and financial requirements for implementing this new strategy: will I delegate certain tasks to my communications department or will I employ a service provider? What is my budget for the redesign of my website? Should I employ a community manager? These are all questions you need to answer and, above all, quantify and budget your future expenses.
2. Communicate internally on the new strategy
Here, you need to brief your teams as much as possible and keep them informed of this radical change. Indeed, from now on, you must put in place protocols and specifications in order to give your employees every opportunity to transform their habits. If some people have difficulty with IT tools, why not plan a group training session? Little by little, your employees will become accustomed to it and everything will run smoothly.
3. Develop new tools
Once certain habits have been established, you must not stop there. Indeed, a digital transformation is done from A to Z and not by halves. Be curious and discover new applications, software, and systems that will make you faster and more productive. The world of new technologies is so vast that it is important to keep abreast of the latest developments in order to avoid being left behind and losing your reputation.
According to a study by the MIT Centre – Service Business Digital, “customers who have begun their digital transformation are on average 26% more profitable than their industry competitors and benefit from a 12% increase in their valuation”. These are encouraging figures, which are attracting more and more companies to take the plunge. So why not you? Be careful, however, to avoid certain pitfalls when you finally launch yourself!
You will find more help in this article: “Three tips for a successful digital transformation“.
Two risks of an uncontrolled digital transformation
The first key point to bear in mind is that the transformation project must be part of a transversal and systemic approach. It is a common mistake to think that you can start with a single department in the company. Digital technology brings about profound changes in your organization in the broadest sense. Often – if not always – a change in one department will have consequences for another department. Take the example of a company that decides to implement an inbound marketing strategy on its blog and its various social networks. This means that the sales department & the marketing-communication department must be involved in the process. It wouldn’t make sense if the actions of one are done without the other.
Another key point not to be overlooked, which we have already touched on briefly, is that supporting employees is essential when implementing a transformation process. This can take the form of training, the gradual integration of new tools, etc.
You are now equipped to deal with all eventualities!
Powerlab is a company specializing in e-commerce delegation and digitalization in general. So don’t be shy and send us a message. We would be delighted to help you in your digitalization process.
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