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Digital Transformation: Transform… Or you will be left behind

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Nothing is permanent, and businesses are certainly no exception to the rule. In fact, businesses often lead the charge when it comes to change. This is because if you don’t move with the times you will be left behind by the rest of the pack, and you certainly will not be around for much longer after that. This is the point of free enterprise; it happened when the internal combustion engine prevailed over steam engines – or external combustion engines for all you geeks out there. The same thing also happened when the telegram was eclipsed by the telephone. Ahoy-Hoy! Businesses have to embrace change in order to remain successful or you will be punished. Today, this notion is as true as it has ever been, however the cause behind the change is a very different beast altogether as it no longer pertains to one single change; it is multifaceted.

So what is the cause of today’s need for change? Information technology. I realise that this is a broad category, so let me whittle it down. I understand information technology has been around for decades now, however new ways of doing things are emerging every day. This is the crux of it, digital transformation is not about the fact that more and more individuals are using more and more technology, rather it pertains to the processes that result from higher levels of technology adoption.

A study conducted by Harvard Business Review and sponsored by Microsoft investigated how the four megatrends of cloud based technology, mobile technology, social media, and big data are affecting businesses. Harvard Business Review state, “the survey found among the areas where these technologies are having the biggest impact, five of the top six are top-line or customer-facing: improving customer service (53 per cent); increasing productivity (52 per cent); developing new services (50 per cent), business models (42 per cent), and products (41 per cent); and increasing revenues (40 per cent).” While the responses do not indicate overwhelming agreement, it illustrates that many are open to transforming their business in line with changes in digital technology.

There are of course those businesses that are apprehensive about adopting all four of the megatrends within their business, and rightly so. XCD HR has based its own product on the Salesforce cloud and are often asked questions about security and whether our clients’ data is vulnerable to attack. If you want to be reassured about the level of security at each data centre, have a gander at one of my previous articles here, as well as Salesforce’s own security webpage here. However, I will stress again that while you may not want to adopt all of these at once, it would be wise to begin to think about how you would adopt one or two of them. Big data may be the only one that many SME’s will not need to utilise, unless the business relies on its utilisation in the first instance to drive revenue.

So to give you a head start, here are some questions you should be asking about your own business: What do people – in particular, your customers – value? How is this different from 10 or 20 years before? Is your business using the most effective operating model? How are we investing in improving the digital customer experience? How well do you know where the change is occurring? What new digital revenue streams are we creating? These are the sorts of questions that businesses who lead the charge with digital transformation ask.

So are you asking these questions?

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