It is becoming ever clearer that the future is digital, and businesses are no longer able to avoid the tide of digital transformation. All areas of business must evolve in order to keep up with regulations from governing bodies, expectations from customers, abilities of the younger workforce, and more. The difference between getting this adaptation right and getting it wrong is the difference between the survival or the death of a company. Many industries are already well established in the digital environment, making it even more critical for those that are lagging behind to digitalise, and fast, or risk being left in the dust.
This danger aside, the benefits of digital transformation seem to speak for themselves, far outweighing the potential challenges of establishing processes, procedures and infrastructure. But what are some of these benefits companies can hope to see after putting in the hard work required to move online?
Digital transformation of your workforce:
Digital transformation allows companies to move their workforce online, enabling better collaboration, and flexible working as well as better data management and quality. Flexible working is particularly relevant in a post-covid environment where many businesses were forced to move to remote working over a short space of time and without the necessary resources or know-how. Particularly with the uncertain, constantly changing situation, taking the time and effort to adapt systems for remote working properly now, will insulate companies against potential future lockdown or unpredicted business interruptions. The remote working shift induces secondary benefits such as allowing business to consider consolidating office bases, particularly those in expensive locations, significantly reducing costs to the business. However, from a cyber security perspective moving to a remote workforce with multiple users on personal devices and potentially insecure home networks does open up a new area of challenges.
Data quality and governance:
By transforming data and systems to function online rather than relying on paper-based filing systems, data quality can be greatly improved. As online data storage allows for better data analysis and upkeep, it is much easier for customers or clients interacting with businesses to access and edit their personal data as necessary remotely. This means that any data is constantly kept up to date and current and is therefore of higher quality.
This transformation not only improves data quality but also makes the management of data much simpler and cheaper. With reduced paperwork and increased degrees of data automation freeing up workers to spend more time focusing on other areas of work, any business will be able to function even more efficiently. These changes also make it significantly easier to comply with the, often confusing and changing, laws surrounding data governance. The storage of data in a digital format makes compliance with GDPR regulations much simpler, allowing for quicker responses to Subject Access Requests, and easy removal of data which no longer need to be stored.
Digital Presence: Better engaging with your customers and prospects
For most organisations, this will be the most visible benefit – certainly from the outside. Having a good presence on the internet not only makes things easier for current customers, it also helps attract new ones.
Improving engagement with the outside world can multiply the visibility of an organisation and increase potential sales channels. As with all things this can be achieved in several ways including:
- Online stores
- Customer portals
- Online chat
- Social networks
- Corporate pages
For some, this may be the focus of their digital strategy resulting in a tectonic shift in their business, moving from traditional forms to online commerce. For others this may be the icing on the cake but not their focus or objective.
However, with a new digital presence and tools there will also be new challenges to consider both around cyber security and data protection.
Reducing your operational overheads through improved “Efficiency and productivity”
By far one of the biggest reasons for business to undergo digital transformation is operational efficiency and the cost saving that comes with this.
With organisations gathering more information on clients, prospective industries, new services etc., this enables organisations to gain better visibility of their performance but also market trends and areas for new opportunities. This collection of data intelligence visibility in turn enables better decision making, and technological tools to make work easier. When used well, the digital transformation of a business can not only result in significant improvements in productivity but can reduce operational costs.
So now you have improved your digital presence and have better data intelligence, you need to ensure you manage the data correctly. We are now in the era of the “Cloud” and while this presents numerous benefits, moving your data to online storage systems such as the cloud also bypasses many of the traditional on-premise data security measures.
With your data no longer present in any of your corporate physical location(s) and now in the “cloud”, your data is automatically protected against any potential physical damage, e.g. from fire, theft, accidental loss, etc. This greatly reduces any risks to data security.
However, it does bring with it some new management challenges ranging from access control, cyber security monitoring, data sovereignty, data privacy and theft from hacking. While these challenges are different, they can be managed with good cyber security, data governance and data protection.
In summary digital transformation offers priceless benefits to your customers, prospects and workforce regardless of industry. It also opens up opportunities for new markets, innovation, as well as driving operational efficiencies. Although the initial costs of digital transformation may seem daunting, this transformation can streamline costs in the long-term, making businesses much more cost efficient. Benefits aside, digital transformation is inevitable, and businesses must start to adapt quickly or risk being left behind. However, there will be new challenges that come with digital transformation, this is the area which norm. can help you with.
Written by Isabella Gibson
Isabella Gibson is a member of the norm. sales team. She joins the team with a BSc in Biology from the University of Bristol and puts her well developed research and data analysis skills in to good use in her role. She is currently focusing her research on the benefits and risks of an increasingly digital working environment.