Digital transformation means integrating new technologies into all aspects of a business, and for SMBs to thrive in the modern world, they have to cut ties with outdated operations.
Offering customers the easiest experience is a top priority, and SMBs should consider the benefits that a digital overhaul has to offer on both sides of the spectrum. If you’re looking to position your organization for rapid success moving forward, then here are 7 ways to streamline digital transformation for your SMB:
1. Plan Realistically
The biggest challenge that SMBs face during modernization is the excessive costs that come with it. Since you can expect additional manpower and resources to accommodate your platform shift, you have to plan realistically to ensure that a digital transformation is possible.
This means gaining support on multiple fronts. Not only must you seek to improve the business and bring value to customers, but you also have to consider how digital transformation reshapes your company’s culture. Your team members, especially your IT department, have to be on board with the changes moving forward. The hassle of budgeting, outsourcing, and innovating may be painful, but digitizing your SMB is the only way to survive in today’s environment.
2. Build Your Team
Once your mindset is in place, your next step is to assemble a team that will lead a campaign of innovation. According to a survey from Harvey Nash in 2018, nearly 5,000 CIOs agree that IT’s primary focus is to improve business processes. However, many CIOs among top performing companies state that IT’s role should prioritize developing new products and consumer capabilities.
Traditional IT operations like maintaining data centers and network operations are becoming highly legacy. Outsourcing day-to-day tasks are the new standard so that IT teams can place their attention on inspiring a digital transformation plan. With the freedom to create, you should encourage IT members to collaborate with different departments to uncover consumer pain points and improve production levels. In turn, you may discover how job titles shift, which roles are obsolete, and what areas deserve the most attention.
More than anything, you’re instilling a shakeup that emphasizes the essential positions in your evolution, and from that, you’ll be able to assemble a team that streamlines achievement.
3. Count Your Inventory
Now that you have everyone on board, it’s important to count your inventory to see where funds are being allocated and learn where improvements can be made. For example, studies from Forrester show that an average of 72% of funds is spent on existing IT practices, whereas a mere 28% is assigned to new technology or projects.
The landscape of today demands progress. The average consumer already carries a smartphone with them everywhere. Apps and websites encourage remote interaction aside from walking into a store, so SMBs must embody that same practice with the equipment they use. Essentially, your inventory boils down to how fast you can serve consumers while staying up to date with marketplace demands.
If any tools in your arsenal can be replaced with automation technologies or if legacy practices are accumulating too much debt, it’s time to clean house.
4. Celebrate the Little Victories
After new methods are put into action, you can’t expect significant changes to happen overnight. Redeveloping a business with a digital focus takes time, and any progress gained should be celebrated as a step in the right direction.
Based on a framework you have in mind, a great way of measuring results is to create a checklist that tracks your progress. If your first step was to outsource your security operations, then great! That’s a small completion worth honoring. If you’ve just implemented a new e-commerce feature for your brand and it’s generating 10% of new customers, then chalk that up as a win.
It doesn’t matter if you’re slowly modifying your business with digital capabilities or revamping the structure from scratch, any momentum along the way means that you’re adapting. Over time, even the smallest victories add up to long-term triumphs.
5. Don’t be a Slave to Your Deadlines
With modest improvements taking place, adopting a strategy of patience is also crucial. Keep in mind that overhauls to infrastructure take a toll on everyone involved, so maintaining a realistic level of change is crucial so that you’re not a slave to your deadlines.
A helpful way to offset difficult transitions with viable solutions is to seek the input of staff and include them in the decision-making process. After all, you may be the IT leader that enacts digital progress, but the actual responsibility to get the ball rolling falls on your team. That being said, talk with your different departments to see what’s in motion and what’s available to transform in an appropriate amount of time.
Remember, change is always a good thing, but too much change too fast can be a hindrance. Don’t let your ideals prevent you from healthily scaling your SMB.
6. Drive with Data
Beginning in 2018, The Hackett Group reports that investments toward advanced analytics from major enterprises have increased by 75%. This is because data analytics are the reports that let you know if digital transformation efforts are gaining any traction. In a breakdown provided by Enterprise Mobility Exchange, analytics can be broken down into three categories:
Basic reporting on consumer actions and business progress
Data on technology that offers insight on consumer habits and trends
Data that predicts consumer behavior into the future
Altogether, these three categories provide a framework for SMBs to follow, although they rely on specific components to be in place beforehand. To receive worthwhile analytics to boost digital transformation strategies, you need support from market drivers like cloud computing, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) insights. In addition, once analytics are gathered, you need employees who can organize the data into digestible reports.
Driving your SMB with data requires all hands on deck, but with the right resources and team members in place, it can give you a competitive edge that keeps you ahead of consumers at all times.
7. Enjoy Your New Digital Transformation Platform
Finally, with all your pieces in place, your only goal now is to enjoy your digital transformation platform and the changes it creates. Redesigning the foundation of your SMB can’t be done overnight, and reaping its benefits may not be a possibility for some time.
Nonetheless, you can’t forget that you’re preparing yourself for the long haul. SMBs who don’t embrace the digital age won’t survive, so a transformation is not a matter of choice, it’s a matter of necessity.
Realign Your Focus with Trapp Technology
Freeing up your IT department for a digital transformation starts with removing time-consuming operations. If you are interested in investing in a managed security services provider (MSSP) to safely and cost-effectively outsource all of your managed IT and security needs, Trapp Technology provides you with affordable support.
To learn more about how Trapp Technology can assist your digital transformation process, feel free to chat with a representative today!