Why and how should you invest in digitalising your business?

Digitalisation, which is now a ubiquitous phenomenon, is shaking up codes and fundamentally transforming the way we consume, communicate and work. As a result, companies that fail to anticipate and understand the digital challenges run the risk of falling far behind, or even being left behind.

Yet many organisations are still dragging their feet when it comes to the investment required by this digital transformation. Employee reluctance and a lack of visibility on the returns on investment are slowing down the adoption of digital tools.

The aim of this article is to demystify the digital transformation of businesses. We will take a close look at the reasons for investing in digital technology, and at the steps to be taken to ensure that the transformation is a success.

Reasons to invest in digital

The shift towards digital technology offers many advantages to businesses. Let’s take a closer look at the tangible benefits they can expect.

Improving customer relations

Showcase sites, customer areas and mobile applications provide a better understanding of how customers interact with the company. Thanks to advanced analytics, it is possible to identify exactly how they interact, the pages they consult, their preferred channels of communication, etc.

Armed with these insights, the marketing and sales teams can fine-tune the customer experience. In this way, the website highlights the content on the front page that best matches the interests of each user profile.

Above all, when a customer contacts customer services, the advisor can immediately see the history of past exchanges. They can also access details of their contracts, so they can respond appropriately to any concerns they may have.

Similarly, in the personal space, customers can find at a glance the status of their requests, invoices, scheduled appointments, etc. Depending on their profile and length of service, they can also be offered targeted promotional offers.

Chatbots also provide users with personalised support. They answer over 80% of questions autonomously, thanks to artificial intelligence. For more complex requests, they transfer the conversation to a human agent. This chatbot/adviser duo combines efficiency and empathy to serve customers.

Today, nearly 80% of business leaders believe that digital technology improves communication with customers and their staff.

Optimising and automating internal processes

The dematerialisation of internal procedures saves employees precious time.

Optical character recognition, for example, now automatically scans documents and integrates them into back-office systems. As a result, processing time has fallen from 4 days to… 4 minutes!

Electronic signatures and automated workflows also help to streamline the validation process. No more documents lost at the back of a cupboard waiting to be signed!

Encouraging collaboration between teams

Another advantage is that online collaborative tools significantly improve internal communication.

All stakeholders can now access a centralised platform to share all project information in real time. Everyone can view the progress of tasks, add comments and submit deliverables directly online.

What’s more, these new digital workspaces encourage collective intelligence. Teams can more easily co-author documents and co-construct new ideas using mindmapping and interactive voting functions.

Reduce costs and develop new revenues

The dematerialisation of processes eliminates the cost of storing and archiving paper documents.

What’s more, SaaS and PaaS solutions optimise IT spending by eliminating the need to host infrastructures in-house. It is no longer necessary to invest heavily in ultra-powerful servers that are expensive to maintain!

From now on, businesses are adopting a pay-as-you-go, on-demand approach. They only pay for what they use, via a flexible subscription that can be adjusted at any time.

Digital technology is also opening up opportunities for additional revenue. Connected objects and marketplaces make it possible to bill for new value-added services. Last but not least, companies that have reached digital maturity are 26% more profitable than their competitors (MIT Sloan Research & Capgemini).

Steps to a successful digital transformation

1 – Audit the existing system

The first step is to carry out a complete inventory of the information system and internal processes. We analyse the size of the databases, the applications used, the procedures in place in each department, the customer journey, etc.

This phase enables a precise assessment to be made of the level of digital maturity of each part of the company. In this way, we can identify the priority areas for the future transformation roadmap at company level.

2 – Getting management and teams on board

The initiators of the digitisation programme must then present its ins and outs to the internal stakeholders. The aim is to get the decision-makers to agree to the colossal investment involved.

The aim is also to overcome any resistance to change that might emerge among the teams. To do this, the project leaders highlight the expected benefits in terms of working conditions and employability. They present digital transformation not as an end in itself, but as a means of improving the day-to-day lives of employees.

3 – Mapping out the processes to be digitised

Based on the results of the audit, the project managers clearly define the scope of the digitisation. They pinpoint the processes to be optimised as a priority, according to their level of digital maturity.

They model the future end-to-end process step by step, integrating the new digital solutions identified. These blueprints enable the expected gains to be simulated and the necessary resources to be sized.

4 – Supporting change

Change management is crucial to the success of a digital transformation programme. Without the support of in-house teams, the most sophisticated technological solutions will remain a dead letter, however sophisticated they may be.

The instigators of the project must therefore redouble their educational efforts to convert employees to the digital cause. First of all, they need to guard against two symmetrical pitfalls: technophobia and technophilia.

On the one hand, local managers temper employees’ legitimate fears about the permanence of their jobs and the cognitive overload induced by this inevitable paradigm shift.

They demonstrate, with scientific evidence to back them up, that the advent of digital technology does not spell the inexorable end of traditional professions. On the contrary, it is giving rise to new skills requirements, guaranteeing their future employability.

On the other hand, they warn against the techno-babble of self-proclaimed experts. These experts, caught up in the hype of the latest innovations, often play down the inertia of habits and the need to support stakeholders.

Without a gradual build-up of user skills, the most sophisticated tools will remain little technological gems… under-exploited.

To achieve this, an extensive training programme is deployed prior to start-up. Video tutorials and step-by-step instructions are made available as self-service on the corporate social network. With just one click, employees can find illustrated instructions on how to carry out their new digital tasks.

Thanks to this multi-modal support, each employee progresses at his or her own pace towards mastery of the new tools. Digital technology, once seen as a constraint, gradually becomes a powerful ally in the serene accomplishment of each employee’s tasks.

5 – Adopt an agile approach: test, listen to feedback and improve

Rather than deploying all the technological building blocks simultaneously, we favour iterative approaches. The aim is to rapidly launch the first versions of the future target system (MVP) in order to gather feedback from end users.

They evaluate the solution and share their irritations or ideas for improvements. This ongoing feedback from the field means that the solution can be enriched from version to version to ensure that it meets the expectations of the teams as closely as possible.

Ultimately, digital transformation brings tangible benefits to all levels of the company. It optimises the customer experience by responding to their fleeting expectations. It also increases team productivity by automating tedious internal processes. Above all, it perpetuates the company’s business model by opening up new avenues for growth.

Of course, as with any major change, the technological shift is not without its bumps and fractures. But the extra value created in the medium term more than offsets the initial inconvenience.

So, far from seeing digitalisation as a passing fad, it should be seen as a necessary step. Wise managers approach it with lucidity, but also with healthy ambition. They see it as a vector for continuous improvement in customer service and for staff fulfilment in the workplace.

Knowmore can assist you on a daily basis with your transformation projects!

Knowmore can assist you with your digital transformation from A to Z. Our business expertise and innovative platform ensure that your teams adopt digital tools over the long term. Boost your growth by taking advantage of the latest innovations!

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