Negosentro | What is Digital Transformation? What Small Businesses Need to Know | Over the past decade or so, digital transformation helped small and large companies to gain an edge over their competitors. The COVID-19 pandemic saw a tremendous quest for contemporary user-friendly digital tools in businesses’ processes. However, small businesses still face problems when it comes to digital transformation, which is often due to the lack of finances or the reluctance to change.
Sooner or later, regardless of the size of your business, you will have to embrace digital transformation to stay up with the competition.
What is Digital Transformation?
Technology continues to develop quickly and these developments have shaped digital transformation into something beyond the introduction of some basic digital tools. Today, digital transformation requires you to envision the future and focus on the operational requirements of your business to be able to compete in the world of digital integration.
In simple terms, digital transformation is the replacement of conventional non-digital processes with modern digital technology. This is an ongoing process, since many digital tools may become conventional within a decade, and at some stage, you will have to replace them with the the latest technology.
There are two meanings of transformation in this context. The first is obvious: technological adoption. The second is the positive transformation of your business thanks to using the right digital processes and integrating the best tools.
How Does Digital Transformation Benefits Small Businesses?
The COVID-19 pandemic has already let everyone understand the importance of digital transformation for small businesses. However, this forced transformation is still in its early stages. Many small businesses are still struggling to fully implement digital transformation, but there won’t be any other way to attain consistent and significant growth in the coming years. A recent Cisco report concluded that just 24% of small businesses have reached advanced levels of digital transformation.
Those small businesses which were ahead of the curve experienced exceptional growth thanks to digital transformation. Not only did they grow rapidly, but many of these small businesses recovered the losses they suffered from during lockdown.
However, timeliness is key here. Digital transformation is an evolutionary process and even large companies need a lot of time to reach the advanced stages. As a small business owner, you should start implementing digital integration at some level and gradually improve it over time. However, delay at this stage will only push your business further back in the race for market share and growth.
Knowing where to start can be a challenge. You could begin with using cloud technology to make processes more agile and responsive. Establish contacts with experts and reliable vendors to integrate the best available technologies into your business’ processes.
Customer Experience has Evolved Dramatically
COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on consumer behaviour. For example, contactless payments, multiple payment options, fast fulfillment, timely feedback, and partially or fully automated processes have combined to set a new business order.
On top of that, people are not ready to accept any compromises to health and hygeine, especially if you are operating in the hospitality or fast-food industry. Many businesses have decided to work with experts phs.co.uk to ensure the highest standards of cleanliness and hygeine.
Home delivery services have made the most of lockdowns and other COVID restriction. Furthermore, this shift was only made possible thanks to the integration of order management and customer service digital tools. Small businesses that struggled during lockdowns had to go for digital solutions to attract online customers and keep their business running.
Even as restrictions eased and lockdowns disappeared, they left their mark. Buyers’ habits have changed over the past couple of years. They are comfortable with online orders as long as trusted businesses continue to provide quality service. Otherwise, they may look to another provider, but are unlikely to return to their pre-COVID buying habits.
Digital Transformation is the Future
As a small business owner, you should understand that we are not talking about a sudden revolutionary change in your business processes. Rather, this is a gradual process that involves digitalising your business, starting with customer experience.
Customers’ expectations should be your guiding compass, and you can meet these expectations with the right digital tools. If you want to achieve long-term success, you must accept that we are living in the era of a remote work environment. However, it is still challenging for businesses that require on-site interaction with customers, such as restaurants. For them, the scope of virtual experiences and communication is limited, though they can use digital transformation to create customised instructions and contactless tools, for example.
There are many things that may have stopped you from implementing digital transformation in your small business, but there way to avoid this shift if you want to achieve long-term success. The track is built, competitors are ready to compete and some have already started sprinting. The decision is yours, but early adopters are already enjoying the benefits.