In a digital world where competition is tougher than ever, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses of all sizes to develop the digital skills and processes needed to remain competitive. However, for small business owners, the challenge can seem insurmountable.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for 99% of all businesses in the European Economic Area and employ two-thirds of the European workforce. Yet SMEs are struggling to access the digital resources they need to compete in today’s market. This is partly due to the limited financial and human resources available to them.
If you are a small business owner wondering how to transform your business or organisation into a leading player in the digital environment, this article is for you. We discuss the challenges of digital transition and the tools needed to make it happen. Get ready to give your company the competitive edge it needs!
What is a digital transformation?
When a company integrates digital technologies into its business processes, this is referred to as digital transformation. Meeting this challenge is critical for improving the customer experience and increasing your company’s efficiency.
The use of digital solutions will simplify processes, solve business problems, and create new business opportunities. However, the scope of the term digital transformation can differ greatly depending on the company and its sector. The associated technologies are also varied. We can mention artificial intelligence, cloud solutions, Big Data, or the Internet of Things (IoT).
What are the effects of the digital transition?
At the societal level, the effects of the digital transformation have been very significant. It has directly or indirectly impacted the way we get information, the way we travel and of course the way we do business.
The digital transition has accelerated society and our processes. Traditional processes have been automated. They have become faster and more efficient. At the same time, data analysis and task automation have changed or even eliminated many jobs.
In the business sector, the impact of the transformation has been very significant. Many opportunities have emerged from this digitalisation. Access to large amounts of qualitative data has allowed for a better understanding of user behaviour and market trends. Companies that take full advantage of digital technologies are therefore better able to drive their business and create competitive advantages over the competition.
Why is digital transformation important for SMEs?
Digital transformation is critical because it allows SMEs to compete on an equal ground with larger corporations. Digital communication, such as social networks, is ideal for significantly increasing the visibility of a small or medium-sized business. Similarly, using a website and natural or paid referencing to attract prospects locally or nationally is an effective strategy. All of this is necessary if your company is to make the digital transition.
Companies that implement a digital transformation strategy are more efficient, more productive, and more profitable. In addition, in the Digital Workplace Barometer conducted by Julhiet Sterwen and IFOP, 80% of employees believed that digital transformation offers considerable time savings. Moreover, 72% of them also stated that this transformation brought them more efficiency and autonomy.
A digital transformation, which affects both strategic and operational levels, also provides access to more efficient workflows, cost savings, increased sales volume, and a better customer experience.
What are the strategies for a successful digital transformation?
To support this digital revolution and eventually become a digital company, your company needs to develop different strategies. These are of two main courses of action.
The first will allow you to succeed in your actual transformation:
- Establish an action plan and define your objectives.
- Take advantage of digital solutions on the cloud.
- Define the roles and responsibilities of each person.
- Adapt your processes to the digital challenges.
Achieving the fourth objective requires you to adopt various strategies:
- Use new technologies to deliver your products.
- Update the company’s internal systems.
- Evaluate customer data and its quantity.
- Deploy an online marketing strategy.
To begin with, becoming a digital company means preparing for the digital evolution. Second, to complete this transition, your company must employ new skills and develop new services. A traditional company can transform into a digital company by renewing itself and questioning its current activities and methods.
What are the essential tools for a successful digital transition?
The impact of digital transformation on your business can be very significant and it’s important to use digital tools to achieve your goals. Digital tools are essential to speed up processes, optimise workflows and increase agility.
The software that will enable you to meet the challenge of these new digital uses must include a set of functionalities:
- Dashboards to visualise data.
- Some customer relationship tools.
- Some analysis tools.
- Various cloud services.
- Automation tools.
- Online communication tools.
In other words, your company needs to be able to collect data, analyse it and make sense of it. It’s also important to have collaborative tools. These will allow your employees to exchange information easily and improve efficiency. All these elements promote fluidity and flexibility, which are specific to the agile approaches of the digital era.
Global strategies are required to fulfil your digital transformation.