YESTERDAY’S DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Digital transformation has been one of the key areas of development for companies in recent years. Its degree of maturity still allows room for development, for adopting new initiatives and for improving existing processes.

Despite the shift towards this term, “digital transformation” is not new if we understand it as the process of adopting digital technologies to improve or optimise business processes or any other area of activity.

Digital transformation goes back further than can be assumed from the outset and has greater depth. While in many areas the use of new digital channels such as social networks, e-commerce, or large information systems such as Data Lakes is understood as a digital transformation, in reality, the digital transformation started quite a while ago when both businesses and consumers adopted the use of computers to streamline processes and also forms of communication (e.g., email).

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TODAY’S DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

The digital transformation in the business environment today may be understood as the application of various types of technologies (from ERPs, CRMs, customer service systems to new solutions or business models) to achieve a positive impact on the business.

This can be achieved in several ways: optimising existing processes by making them cheaper, less error-prone or faster (or all these together at the same time); or allowing the development of new business models that would not have been possible a few years ago, with the technological ecosystem at that time. For example, applications such as Uber or Cabify have made it possible to “hybridise” a traditional business model such as transport, with a digital platform that allows management of the entire process. In the same way, Airbnb and other applications have allowed the development of new tourism business models that would have been unimaginable 15 years ago.

What is the motivation for adopting a digital transformation strategy?

1. COST/TIME SAVINGS

The use of new technologies to automate, use or govern processes, favours obtaining positive synergies from the perspective of personal costs savings (allowing time to be spent on more productive tasks).

Avoiding costly errors (for example, billing problems) is another area of action linked to cost savings, among many other applications.

2. IMPROVED PROCESS GOVERNANCE

Although this is not always the case, the use of new technologies allows for greater process tracking, which means greater knowledge and/or control. For example, a CRM solution facilitates a better vision of customers and of each of the interactions carried out with the company. This information allows sales processes to be homogenised or data to be analysed in order to better understand the reasons for the success or failure of operations.

3. INCREASED SALES

In many cases the transformation allows for new channels of interaction with the customer. For example, an e-commerce platform, either the company’s own or integrated with a third party, can allow more sales and business without having to open in new locations, countries or regions.

4. PROCESS AUTOMATION

Robotisation is also an increasingly tangible implication of digital transformation at a general level, used mainly to optimize processes or improve interaction with customers. A clear example of this is the case of the increasingly common conversational chatbots.

5. IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY

Beyond time savings and automation, it allows more knowledge to be extracted from data. This knowledge leads to improved productivity, from optimising production processes in the industrial sector, improving facility, deciding the best areas to place cars/bikes in the shared use models (such as Car2go or Ecooltra) to improving marketing actions by better selecting the message or the channel to interact with customers.

6. DEVELOPMENT OF NEW WORK OR INTERACTION MODELS

Teleworking is increasingly an option for companies due to the possibility of working from home with the same facilities as in the office, having tools that allow us to communicate, establish conferences or simply work together on a document. For details of how to apply technology (and the cultural changes that this entails) to improve communication and knowledge in the work team, see this post: 10 habits to generate shared knowledge in an organisation.

7. IMPROVED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

The goal of improving the customer experience has long been talked about as a way of optimising customer interaction with companies, in order to build loyalty and bonding. In this sense, big data and artificial intelligence solutions have been helpful, allowing a better understanding of their characteristics and interests in order to predict their behaviour. One example is incident management systems, which allow customer history to be linked to the incident being dealt with, in order to offer a better service.

8. DEVELOPMENT OF NEW BUSINESS MODELS

Perhaps this is one of the more “graphic” points. We all use social networks and applications for different purposes, such as Google Maps, Uber or MyTaxi. This kind of solution/platform that has become an everyday part of our lives today would not have been viable 10 or 15 years ago because the technology available at the level of telecommunications processing did not exist, or simply was not as accessible as now. These new technological capacities have made it possible to define and implement new business models, making innovation another key point for exploiting the digital transformation.

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