The key role of digital transformation in the future of business
Every business is a digital business…
They just haven’t realised yet. On a daily basis we consume an ever-increasing number of digital services and products. Indeed, due to this trend, there are five-year olds who are more competent with digital technology than some hardened business people. Businesses that have embraced digital innovation are now some of the largest companies in the world.
In a recent survey, 54 per cent of digital leaders said their companies will fail if they don't achieve digital transformation at the same time as their industry rivals and over 80 percent of businesses could be left behind as technology comes to define modern commerce. The findings show just how important digital transformation will be to the future of business.
So, what is digital transformation all about? Well first off, it’s not about technology. It’s about technology which happens to be digital that can be used to solve traditional problems, essentially ‘digital problem solving’.
Business owners tend to have a range of objectives, from increasing sales, to decreasing costs, increasing productivity or reducing risk. Digital solutions can play a part in achieving these objectives and often the solution can produce phenomenal results.
At the SmartGov conference, the director of digital shared services at the Department of Finance revealed that the digital transformation project they have been implementing over the last four years has produced savings of £96 million for taxpayers.
So, what are the implications for local businesses in Ireland? We have seen companies embrace digital transformation and drive innovation in their businesses. Just like any other project a business approaches, a digital project should be judged by its return on investment and this should be identified from the outset, so that the business and technology partner are clear on how the success of the solution will be measured.
This is how we approached a recent digital transformation project with Northern Ireland’s leading freight ferry booking agent. Initially the client wanted an app to help with positioning against competitors. After exploring current business processes, we identified the sales impact, decreased costs and increased productivity that a carefully planned, end to end digital solution could deliver.
Fast-forward to the fully functioning digital solution and we've helped our client successfully grow their sales, 20 per cent year-on-year. In addition, the solution has enhanced efficiency as staff previously taking bookings over the phone have been re-allocated to sales roles, leading to a 20 per cent reduction in staffing costs for customer service.
It can’t be overstated how important a carefully considered approach is when delivering a digital solution. The choice of digital partner can often be the difference between success and failure. If you want to overhaul current business processes to incorporate digital strategies and technology into your company, strategically structure your next digital project to solve the traditional problems that live in businesses of all shapes and sizes.
:: Tim Proctor is the managing director of Scaffold Digital in Lisburn