Digital Transformation is the phrase on everybody’s lips. Entrepreneurs shout they’re redefining it, technology providers promise they’ll deliver it and businesses… well, they just want the commercial advantages it brings.

But does anybody actually know what it is anymore and how do they know when they’ve got it?

So what is Digital Transformation?

Contrary to what most organisations will tell you, Digital Transformation isn’t about investing large amounts of money in new products; it’s not migrating to the cloud; it’s not employing a digital team and it’s not making wholesale changes to your business. Although it might involve an element of these over time.

In reality, Digital Transformation isn’t actually about any one single thing. At its core, Digital Transformation is simply your ability to meet customer needs through the delivery of services and products via a digital channel.

Okay… but what actually is Digital Transformation?

Digital Transformation is something different for every organisation, and data and analytics form a huge part of it – they give you reams of real-time information you can use to make informed business decisions.

If the data shows your customers are mobile-first, your business needs to be mobile-first.

If the data shows that automating particular processes can increase profitability, that’s what you do.

If data shows margins are better when customers purchase products occur online, focus more budget and time on extending your digital reach and increasing resource investments to this area.

If 3D printing becomes more accessible and you find that it meets a particular customer challenge, embrace it. Ideally you’d already have a plan in place if your data had identified an opportunity/justification for its use.

That’s what Digital Transformation is really about, adapting the culture of your organisation so it’s always looking forward to how it can better operate with new technology. Whether it’s a new process, strategy or product, it needs to be designed and developed so it can easily change as the world evolves.

How do I know when I’ve digitally transformed?

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you’ll never “achieve” a complete Digital Transformation, and this is because for as long as customer needs/demands change, technology evolves, and markets and industries fluctuate, you’ll need to adapt. What you will need is a scalable technological grounding, and your ERP and CRM systems are key to this.

Modern cloud ERP and CRM platforms should allow you to create a flexible framework of applications and service delivery models that allow you to evolve to meet changing demands.

By all means set yourself targets, make the right changes for your organisation, analyse the data and then celebrate your successes. At the end of that period though, please don’t be surprised when a revised Digital Transformation strategy is required.

It’s because technology is more affordable and accessible to everyone, real Digital Transformation is about being fluid enough as an organisation to change when the macro and micro factors that impact your business, occur.

Digital Transformation is most certainly a never ending journey of discovery.

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