Why digital transformation is the key to future-proofing your business

Spend any time at a conference, tradeshow, or other business event, and you’ll probably hear the term ‘digital transformation’ tossed around. So, is this just a buzzword? Or is Australia genuinely experiencing a digital transformation? Let’s take a closer look at this topic, and determine whether your business should be thinking about digital transformation too. 

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is a catch-all term used to describe the application of new technologies into a business to deliver greater agility and value, competitive advantage and stakeholder impact. When approached correctly, digital transformation fundamentally alters how a business operates and engages with customers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders. A companywide culture change is often necessary to successfully embrace digital transformation so that organisations can effectively challenge the status quo, adapt to new technologies, and enhance their way of doing business.

In Australia, there are many examples of businesses of every size undergoing their own digital transformation across a diverse range of industries. The global COVID19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation for both established and start-up businesses alike, many of whom were challenged to ‘pivot’ from more traditional in person business models to meet soaring demand for online products, services and interactions. 

In terms of policy making, the Digital Transformation Agency was established by the Australian Government in 2016, with the stated mission of both driving and securing Australia’s digital future. More recently, the 2021 Federal Budget made provisions for a Digital Economic Strategy valued at $1.2 billion, to ensure Australia is recognised as a world-leading digital economy by the year 2030. 

What are the benefits of digital transformation?

As a concept, digital transformation might seem like a ‘pie in the sky’ idea. However, it’s important to understand that digital transformation can offer real benefits for your business. Here’s just a few of the advantages: 

  • Cost savings.
    • Digital transformation can offer businesses the opportunity to shed outdated legacy systems that may no longer be fit-for-purpose, or that require costly resources to maintain. While undergoing a digital transformation is likely to involve some upfront investment, it’s also likely that your business will save money long-term.
  • Data insights. 
    • While most businesses collect large quantities of data, the real power is unlocking these insights to enable informed decision-making. Digital transformation enables businesses to better collect, classify and analyse data. Maturing your data insights will offer you a clearer picture of your end-to-end customer journey – we’ll touch on that more below.
  • Data security.
    • Speaking of data, the process of digital transformation allows your business to audit how data is being collected, stored, shared, and evaluated. When approached correctly, digital transformation ensures that valuable data will be  better secured, stored and accessible. It’s also worthwhile revisiting your company’s data governance and privacy policies as you progress on your transformation journey, especially as the proper handling of personally identifiable information (PII) becomes a more prominent issue in the mind of consumers.
  • Customer experience.
    • As mentioned, digital transformation also empowers a business to make improvements to streamline and simplify the customer journey. Whether it’s providing more product options, lower prices, or faster delivery, improving your end-to-end customer experience could unlock additional value for your business and a source of competitive advantage.
  • Greater collaboration.
    • In addition to powering a better customer experience, digital transformation can also help your internal teams as well as external partners to collaborate and communicate more effectively. Businesses that embrace the digital transformation process often report greater levels of staff engagement, satisfaction, and productivity.
  • Increased profitability.
    • Of course, with superior customer experience and increased productivity, it’s reasonable to assume that your company can expect to see a lift in profits too. In fact, businesses that undergo a digital transformation frequently report an increase in profits, greater market share, and higher revenue growth than competitors. What’s not to love? 
  • Increased speed and agility
    • By leveraging the latest digital technologies and automation, coupled with the change in organisational capability and culture to take best advantage of these new processes and insights, businesses can more rapidly pivot to meet market demand. A “test and learn” culture of experimentation, supported by measurable data, can allow the organisation to more rapidly evolve to better match the environment in which they operate.

As you can see, digital transformation can be key to future-proofing your business and ensuring that it remains competitive long into the future. At Business Aspect, our expert team can help to assist your business plan and manage the process and help you avoid risks as you embark on your digital transformation journey.

How to prepare your business for digital transformation. 

Digital transformation can unlock major advantages for your business – but like anything, it’s best to be strategic and have a plan. There are some steps you should consider to properly prepare your business for digital transformation. 

Plan and document

It’s important to understand that individuals are naturally concerned with how change will impact them. For some businesses, digital transformation may feel daunting, and so it’s crucial to map out a comprehensive digital transformation strategy that can be agreed to by the relevant stakeholders and act as a point of reference to help you stay on track.

Your strategy should outline which areas of your business will be transformed first, and should indicate specific capabilities needed to support and sustain the change. Experts like our team at Business Aspect can help you to strategize and document your digital transformation strategy. 

Communicate and support

As we talked about earlier, a companywide culture shift is also necessary to get the most out of digital transformation. It’s important to manage expectations so that people feel more confident, and that starts from the top.

Managers should clearly articulate the benefits of digital transformation to their teams, and open communication should be encouraged as the process gets underway. Consider whether change management experts or other professionals are needed to support your business throughout this program of transformation.

Educate and optimise

As every stage of your digital transformation strategy rolls out, it’s vital to look for opportunities to educate and optimise. Invite your team to engage with learning opportunities that will enable them to get comfortable with the future state, learn new technology skills and help look for further improvements. Getting champions of change in your team to help realise your desired future state will help you embed the new technology, systems and process into the DNA of the organisation.

Digital transformation can be viewed as a journey, rather than a singular destination. However, when digital transformation is approached correctly, it’s an exciting and rewarding time that can have a lasting impact on the organisation and productivity of the wider Australian economy.

Are you considering whether it’s the right time for your business to take the next step with your digital transformation? Our team can help you to understand the benefits that digital transformation could offer for your organisation. We are ready to help develop a tailor-made digital transformation strategy for you. For more information, contact Business Aspect today.