If you also want your organisation to be future-ready, it also needs to work like a well-oiled machine. That means having streamlined processes that ensure satisfied employees and customers. All systems work together seamlessly, making data available to everyone at all times. So your organisation can really do what it does best.
If you want your organisation to be future-ready, it needs to work like a well-functioning machine. That means having streamlined processes that ensure satisfied employees and customers. All systems work together seamlessly, making data available to everyone at all times. So your organisation can really do what it does best.
You can only achieve this by digitising labour-intensive processes as much as possible.
What is digitisation?
Digitisation includes the process of converting physical data into digital data. It often also refers to the digitisation of procedures. Process digitisation refers to the inclusion of digital technologies in business and social processes, with the aim of improving them.
Digitalising processes involves not only information, but also how you process it. In other words, who you share the information with and where the information goes. In addition, digitisation of business processes ensures that processes are more streamlined and efficient than before. You significantly reduce the number of manual actions and have a better overview of how your business is doing.
Where do you start your digital transformation?
Such a journey of digital streamlining starts with the question What are we doing it for? In other words: what value proposition do we want to realise or improve? Is the customer experience central or is it mainly about improving efficiency ? And what exactly do we mean by that? Once an organisation has answered these questions unambiguously, it is important to determine which processes are most decisive for realising the value proposition in question, and to what extent. By digitising these processes, they can be organised better and more efficiently. This already provides a hefty step forward.
To start digital transformation, you first map out how digitally ‘mature’ your organisation currently is and your organisation’s ability to change successfully. Often, as an entrepreneur, you know that digitalisation is necessary; you have done research, read articles and you know that steps need to be taken to remain successful and relevant to your clients.
A good inventory is needed to start the digital transformation. So in this phase, you find out if there are constraints that need to be solved first, before you start actually developing new digital products and services.
Drawing up digitisation plan
Now that you have established your vision and plans for digital transformation, it is time to start drawing up the digitisation plan. This plan will write down what needs to be done. To work towards what it should look like in the future, it is obviously important to first map the current situation.
The digitisation plan paints a clear picture of where the organisation stands, what the challenges are and where it should grow towards. The plan provides tools to start actual digitisation.
Importance of digitalisation
An important part within the digitisation plan is to explain why digitisation is important. From the outside looking in, the potential benefits of digitisation are often obvious. After all, digitisation increases efficiency, improves workflow and improves competitiveness.
Besides these benefits, it is also important to explain possible company-specific (additional) benefits such as possible new channels for customer acquisition, improved decision-making or an increase in innovation and thus job satisfaction.
Although the disadvantages of digitisation are minor, it is important to also name them in the digitisation plan. For example, under-implementation of digitalisation may cause development and knowledge of different ecosystems to lag behind. Also, user experiences can sometimes be improved to the point where digital transformation has a negative impact on financial profits. The process then creates spectacular benefits for the customer, but not for the company.
With any change, there is a great need for leadership. Prepare for digitisation by looking around the organisation carefully and talking a lot with the managers. Who are your employees and how do they view change? A few stereotypes can be identified.
There are the victims who see every change as a personal attack, and the onlookers who are neither for nor against change, but suffer everything idly. The critics form the third group you need to have a good view on. And beware, because not all critics are outspoken! Some say they have no problems with a change, or say nothing at all, but go out of their way to sabotage the change.
Finally, the group you can work with: the advocates. These are the people who understand the importance of change, who are enthusiastic about your plans and who can spread a positive vibe in the organisation. If you invest time to properly inform these people and get them on your side, they can do a good job among their less happy colleagues.
The choice of tools and systems needed naturally depends on the organisation’s strategy and ambitions. One development to keep an eye on is the rise of the Digital Experience Platform (DXP). These platforms provide the architecture for companies to digitise operations, optimise the customer experience and gather insights on which action can be taken. All three pillars in one, in other words.
It can be a standalone product or a suite of products working together. In doing so, it is useful to check which tools are already being used satisfactorily within the company and whether they can be connected to a DXP. The right platform fits into the organisation’s infrastructure and is flexible.
Technology testing and building
Once a preliminary choice has been made on which technology to use, it is important to set up and test a prototype. Testing focuses mainly on usability and desirability. This should show whether the currently elaborated idea catches on, is easy to use and actually adds value for the target group. The target group is given the opportunity to click through the product and can ask specific questions about its operation. Comments and remarks are implemented to define the final solution. This prototype and the results of the test form the basis for the cost and engineering estimate of the construction phase.
Building and implementing the chosen technology can then begin.
Change is tricky. This applies to a drastic turnaround like digital transformation squared. You can have a great plan, but if you do not get the organisation on board, nothing will come of the implementation.
You also have to make sure you get everyone on board. For this, you use the supporters, but also your entire management team has to work to get all employees on board or at least neutralise their resistance. Furthermore, it is essential that your managers are given sufficient responsibilities to achieve the desired results: therefore give them the right tools, talents, resources and authority
Use the information obtained from the organisational analysis carried out earlier! After all, during that phase, you found out what your organisation’s capacity for successful change is and what, if any, constraints there are that need to be solved first.
Further development and after-care
Now that the chosen technology has been built and implemented, the digital transformation does not stop immediately. Structural decisions need to be made about hosting, technical support and further development.
It is also important to have a plan defining aftercare. For instance, it is wise to put together one or more after-care teams. These after-care teams are needed to continue to support and reinforce the changes in digitalisation. Consider ongoing communication and training to ensure that everyone continues to actively participate in the new way of working.
If it is already clear within an organisation which processes can be improved using digitisation, it is important to actually make this happen. Also read the following BLOG describing five steps to digitalisation within the existing business model : Five steps to digitalisation within the existing business model (thenextpractice.co.uk)