What is digital transformation?

It’s a term that’s chucked around left, right, and centre these days. We thought we’d sit down and explain exactly what digital transformation is, particularly for businesses.

What does it mean?

Digital transformation is a broad term that covers a wide range of issues and industries, but it isn’t anything new. It’s technically been happening since Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz came up with the concept of the binary system.  That’s a bit abstract for now though.

In the end, digital transformation is taking a process and changing it with digital techniques and technology. It’s in the name essentially. This includes the use of early computers to complete tasks to the smart watches we wear on our wrists.

For the sake of this post though, we’re going to focus more on business digital transformation. In other words, any attempt to update an aspect of your business digitally falls under digital transformation.

The aim of the game is improvement. Digital technology can often make things more efficient, but that isn’t always the case. You need to make sure what you’re doing works properly, you have the people to manage it, and your current workforce can actually use it.

It’s all well and good to try and automate your business, but are you prepared for when something goes wrong? It’s easy to get dazzled by impressive numbers so always approach with caution.

We’ve put together two examples of digital transformation below so you can get a better idea of what it might involve. Generally though you’ll find a balance needs to be found between implementation and preparation.

Internal Communication

Emails were obviously an example of digital transformation, but now they’re old hat. Many businesses have been looking to improve internal communications with other tools instead. Slack is a major example, but far from the only one.

The idea is to make communication more efficient and to better connect employees. For example, in Slack you can create what are essentially chatrooms. You could assign one to a project, or a department, or whatever you like.

This has the positives of closer comms by segmenting by project or group, meaning employees won’t be bothered by messages that don’t concern them. Many tools also integrate with third party software meaning people can interact with wider parts of the businesses more easily.

On the con’s side, easier conversation means lots of noise. Important details could be missed, while it becomes harder to sift through old messages to find important information. On top of that, you might need to update security protocols and look at how you’re monitoring this new type of communication.

Customer Service

Social media has transformed many things, and businesses have been trying to capitalise on this. It’s common for consumers to contact companies through social media leading to a dilemma for business owners: is social media the right place to conduct customer service?

Many play it safe and simply point social media users to more traditional contact methods. Others on the other hand have entirely transformed their customer service approach by making social media an integral part. British Gas are a prime example of this.

The positives are quite clear. Your customers have a nice and simple way to get in touch where you can reply very quickly, not to mention the social platforms are free. This can change how people view a brand, making them seem more approachable and open.

On the other hand, it can be a nightmare to implement effectively. Especially for a large business. There are issues around data protection, while it can be hugely time consuming if you don’t use tools to automate tracking all the queries you get.

It’s an option worth considering, but not one to take lightly. Don’t just open up your Twitter account as a full customer service route. Assess your resources and your customers’ needs to see if it’s worth doing.

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