You Don’t Understand Digital Transformation, And It’s Hurting You

If you think you understand digital transformation, you’re sadly mistaken. Many company executives have the misguided impression that it has something to do with making the office paperless, but that’s only a small part of it. 

Thinking that digital transformation is about making all files electronic is like thinking that cooking is about reheating meals in the microwave. There’s a lot more to it than that. 

If digitalisation is cheese on toast, digital transformation is a Henry VIII banquet. 

What is Digital Transformation?

Pexels – CC0 License

So, this begs the question: what is digital transformation? And what the heck does it have to do with your business? 

Digital transformation is annoying jargon – and it sounds surprisingly similar to digitalisation. The difference is that with digitalisation, all you’re doing is taking an existing process and putting it online. So, for instance, if you currently train workers on-site, digitalisation would mean switching to online e-learning. Or if you currently get customers to fill out paper forms, it would be switching to some computerised version. 

Digitalisation isn’t very exciting. And when you talk about it frankly, it’s not very innovative either. You’re not actually changing any of the core processes in your business. Instead, you’re just rehashing some existing function and giving it a digital skin – hardly the stuff of legend. 

Digital transformation – now that’s an entirely different concept. 

Here, you’re starting with all things digital and then thinking about how they could make your business model better. So, in effect, you’re looking at the technology available and then rebuilding your company from the ground up, depending on the opportunities that it offers. You’re not trying to shoehorn technological gimmicks into the paradigm. Instead, you’re fundamentally reworking it to do something different. 

Facebook is an excellent example of this. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t set up an advertising company and then attempt to turn it into a social media brand by organising lots of in-person networking. Instead, he began by asking what state-of-the-art technology could do and then made it happen. Facebook layers on top of existing internet, software and server technology. It doesn’t try to coopt those platforms into some old business model. Instead, hr just took those existing systems and built something of value on top of them. 

That’s the concept with digital transformation, according to You’re primarily looking at the technology around you and starting with a blank sheet of paper. At the end of the process, you should wind up with a much more compelling business proposition, less prone to disruption. It’ll feel a little scary – like a brand new start. But it can make all the difference in the world. Profits can soar once you learn how to correctly use technology and make it the foundation of your business model. Going “paperless” will seem deathly dull by comparison. 

Why You Need Digital Transformation

Discussions of digital transformation tend to get lost in the technical jargon. Most regular business people don’t have a good understanding of what an API is or how to implement Java. But when it comes to digital transformation, that doesn’t actually matter. This is high-level stuff. 

The challenge for leaders is seeing the forest for the trees. All the technical details are necessary, but they’re not always relevant. The strategic problem is to think about where your enterprise could go, were you to use technology as a starting point. 

Many company executives don’t like thinking about this because it usually means radical change. You should remember, though, that radical change is coming anyway, whether you like it or not. Either you disrupt your industry, or somebody else disrupts you. You don’t have a choice in the matter. It’s going to happen regardless of whether you sit on your hands or get out there and start making big changes.

So why do you need digital transformation? 

Integrate Disparate Systems To Improve Operations

This article at reveals just how many different systems companies use. They have finance software, CRM systems, databases, ERP systems and internal applications. It’s a complete mess, and very few firms are anywhere close to pulling it all into a single, overarching framework. 

Digital transformation, however, demands that they do because the technology to do so already exists. Enterprise application integration is a real thing and not just something on the drawing board – just ask the team at Royal Cyber, who have 19+ years of experience in the integration platform space and offer MuleSoft consulting services as well. It can massively simplify your processes and transform the nature of your business. 

Integrating disparate systems is a challenge and not something you’ll want to do on a whim. Most companies go through several planning stages before any project gets off the ground. But once you start, you’ll find that it makes a tremendous difference in your competitiveness. 

Avoid Disruption

The second reason you need digital transformation is to avoid disruption. You want to be on the cutting edge of what technology allows. You don’t want to wait for somebody else to find a new business model that blows yours out of the water. That’s a dark path and one that leads to the eventual destruction of the entire business. It has happened to many companies in the past. And the same can certainly occur to yours in the future. 

Pexels – CC0 License

Provide Customers With Better Service

Think about how much better streaming services are than regular cable TV. People can watch whatever they like when they like. They don’t have to sit through ads. And they don’t have to pay a fortune every month for their subscriptions. They pay all the hardware costs in their monthly broadband bills. 

Business digital transformation is critical for providing customers with better service, no matter what your industry. When you leverage all the technology available to you, you gain the ability to improve your processes and accessibility massively. And customers notice. All of a sudden, they find out that you’re easier to use than your competitors and make the switch. There are so many examples of this; it’s almost embarrassing. 

Currently, you probably don’t understand digital transformation. But when you do, it can overhaul your enterprise to a degree you never thought possible.