06 Oct 2020

In this article, we cover a few tips on how to get started with a digital transformation strategy, and what this might mean in practice for your business.  

Digital transformation can seem an abstract term. This is because it encompasses complex processes that represent a significant cultural shift in the workplace. Many businesses find that they understand the importance of digital for the future. Still, they may fixate on digital processes and programmes ahead of thinking of it as a strategy for transformation. Thinking of it as a strategy that evolves your current business practices can help concentrate the idea.  

Read on for tips on how to develop a digital-first strategy that is right for your business.  

Transformation can never be static, and in the fast-moving pace of our lives, new technologies develop all the time. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that we are spending more time than ever online and conducting our business procedures almost entirely digitally. In fact, digital disruption is nothing new to business; over the last two decades, our lives have been shifting ever more towards the digital. Some traditional business models have had to change beyond recognition or have disappeared completely, and in their place new business models have emerged. The winners are companies such as Amazon and Google, but spare a thought for the publishers, camera manufacturers and the map producers of the world.  

We should all be aware of the technological curves that might eventually put paid to our industries. 

Digital Evolution for your business is less about implementing one software that will instantly increase productivity; it is more about focusing on and changing how teams work together and acquiring the digital transformation tools that best support strategic goals.   

What does a digital-first business strategy look like? 

Connectivity 

Running a digital-first business can place heavy demands for connectivity. It really is the foundation of all business processes. Choosing high-speed internet services like Leased Line or FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) is necessary for ensuring that your business is prepared for digital transformation. Our increasing mobility around where we actually ‘do’ our work, especially in the pandemic/post-pandemic world, means that consideration to the advantages that home connectivity and 5G bring to your business is essential. 

 Cloud computing 

Cloud computing refers to the shift away from on-site servers to cloud-based versions, which can then facilitate cloud services. You can host everything from your CRM system and phone system to your data backup and recovery in the cloud. Less reliance on premises-based systems means that your business can be agile and robust in the face of many challenges. When Covid-19 resulted in lockdown, companies that had adopted a digital-first strategy found that they could operate remotely much more seamlessly than those who had not. Cloud servers such as Microsoft’s Azure boast top-level security, meaning that you can be safe in the knowledge that your data is protected. Azure’s scalability means that you can truly tailor it to your business’ requirements.   

 Collaboration Tools 

When every employee is meaningfully involved in achieving a shared vision, building trust, and promoting transparency and engagement comes easy. Collaboration is facilitated with cloud communication packages such as Microsoft 365 TeamsBusiness Voice, and Horizon VoIP solutions, including Collaborate. In today’s digital-first world, businesses need to be able to respond to customers quickly and ensure that employees can handle a constant flow of queries across multiple channels. Collaboration tools that enable internal and external calls, messages, emails, conference calls, webinars, and presentations can achieve digital transformation. One software can perform all these tasks: truly unifying your communications.   

 Mobile 

More than ever before customers expect ease, great user experiences and convenience from your business. More than half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, so this means that you should optimise your website and your communications to customers for mobile devices.  

 ITMS (IT Managed Services) 

With all this reliance on cloud computing and communication, businesses that outsource IT Managed Services can ensure that they are best placed to follow through on a digital transformation strategy. Most important in your considerations is the support you have for backup and recovery. Cybersecurity threats are on the rise, and each year brings increasingly sophisticated threats to our company data. Prioritising security in your digital transformation plans ensures any bumps in the road are dealt with quickly and efficiently.  

 

What about digital transformation for Industry?

Alone, the above considerations are not suitable for every business. Industrial sectors may require additional digital transformation tools to succeed with digital evolution. Wearable Technology can provide the answer.  

Wearable Technology 

The ‘Internet of Things’ explained 

The Internet of Things refers to physical objects embedded with sensors that can connect, update and interact without the need for human interaction. These sensors are in present in everyday things; smart household meters, home security devices, and smart printers, and it is this technology that is driving digital transformation for Industry too.  

Devices such as RealWear’s HMT-1 and the Magic Leap-1 bring hands-free collaboration and co-presence to situations where it was never possible before. With high-resolution micro-displays optimised for voice control, the HMT-1 works with powerful software applications. These capabilities signal the end of cumbersome devices and paperwork on the field to open new possibilities for employee collaboration and communication.  

 WorkfloPlus from Intoware is the key to unlocking the possibilities with Wearable Technology. This software digitises work processes and procedures that convert existing paper-based and human work process into easy to follow, step-by-step work instructions accessible via desktop, mobile & wearable computing devices.  

Digital transformation: where to start?

Hannah Bailey from Intoware has kindly provided some advice on what starting on the road of digital transformation means for organisations with field-based activities. Read on below for an expert take. 

Hannah Bailey, Business Development Director, Intoware

Knowing where and how to start, can be a challenge for many organisations particularly those with field based operations. Digital transformation is a case of identifying the business challenges that need to be met and addressing how technologies can help. Whether it’s  operational productivity, efficiency, health and safety compliance or on-boarding.

Prior to the pandemic, Intoware developed its workflow platform WorkfloPlus specifically for use with both mobile and augmented reality (AR) technologies. The aim was to help support organisations with workforces out in the field build a connected working environment through digitising manual and paper based operational and business processes into digital workflows, while giving them direct access to key resources and remote experts at the point of need.

In the Oil & Gas sector, by switching to digital work instructions, upstream operators not only get measured productivity improvements (over 200% in some cases), they build a huge bank of data for audits and also use the same information to predict when failures may occur. The very nature of high-risk oil exploration and production means that health and safety, compliance and audit checks are very detailed. Unless these processes are done digitally, they create a massive volume of paper which is difficult to tracks and impossible to measure with any degree of accuracy. Done digitally however, anybody from the worker, to the supervisor or auditor can see the characteristics of a check in real-time, the impact it has and provide digital evidence, such as a photos, videos or data, to know if done correctly – all in a fraction of the time.”

  

 

The main thing to takeaway is that digital transformation is not the type of project that has an end date. As technology evolves, so too must a business adapt and change.. It is a fundamental change in how companies deliver value to their customers by providing a better service and customer experience.  Streamlining your IT, infrastructure and communication packages ensures that you can adapt digital practices with ease and save money in the process.  

Fill out a form here if you would like to discuss how we can add value and help your business on its way to digital transformation. 

You can also call us on 0333 240 1824 or email sales@soconnect.co.uk