As a leading IT support provider here in London, when we ask whether your small business is in need of digital transformation, what do we mean? To help, let’s look at a few examples of digital transformation in action.
In 1975 Kodak invented digital photography and built the first digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera by 1989. However, the company refused to support these digital innovations. Kodak, then probably the world’s biggest and best-known photography brand, was effectively put out of business in 2012 by – you guessed it – digital photography.
Xerox, at their Palo Alto Research Center, built the first ‘Windows’ computer. However, they let a 24-year-old Steve Jobs of tech start up Apple Computer get a look at it. Although a small business at the time, Apple is of course one of the world’s most valuable brands today, worth over $300 billion.
Take another example of a once small business: Netflix. Originally it was a mail order service disrupting the bricks-and-mortar video rental businesses, like Blockbuster. It was also before digital innovations made wide-scale video streaming possible. Now Netflix is a household name and Blockbuster is just another brand on a long list of high street memories.
These are just three examples of digital transformation changing businesses and whole sectors beyond recognition. They took advantage of available and new technologies in turn revolutionising how enterprises and industries work.
Is your small business in need of digital transformation?
We’ve put together this post to help you consider whether your small business is in need of digital transformation. We highlight the three sure signs that your business is in fact in need of change.
In this post we’ve included:
- Digital transformation defined
- The 3 signs that your business is in need of digital transformation
- Sign 1. You only call your IT department or IT services provider when things go wrong
- Sign 2. You use a lot of spreadsheets
- Sign 3. You spend a lot of time reading and sending e-mails
- The actions you can take right now
Digital transformation defined
As an expert and experienced managed IT service provider (MSP), we define digital transformation as the integration of digital technology into all areas of your business. It brings together your people, processes and technologies to fundamentally change how you operate. As a result, digital transformation creates a more cost effective, efficient enterprise that delivers better value and experiences to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organisations to continually challenge the status quo and experiment.
Now we’re firmly entrenched in the digital age, new technologies have changed the rules of doing business. This has expanded from the Internet, mobile communications, and new telephony, to AI, automation, and big data. Many London-based start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are creating clever, effective and disruptive ways to leverage technology for both their competitive advantage and their customers’ benefit.
The 3 signs that your business is in need of digital transformation
Sign 1. You only call your IT department or IT service provider when something goes wrong
If your SMB has an ‘IT person,’ let alone an ‘IT department,’ you already have an advantage over many other organisations of your size. It’s more likely that you outsource your IT to a managed service provider in London.
But whatever your situation, we bet you have a ‘reactive’ relationship with them, with often a lot of waiting involved. This means your IT people will typically wait for an issue to arise and you wait for them to resolve it.
If you are in this situation, you’re missing an opportunity to turn your IT team into a proactive resource. Your MSP should be closely involved and invested in your organisation and its operations.
Nowadays IT is the increasing focal point of your business, interacting and leading every aspect of what you do. This begins with communications, planning meetings and making presentations, to keeping your accounts and production schedule in order.
Why not let your IT people observe and suggest ways that IT can streamline and speed up your workflows and processes? IT can be most beneficial in automating the tedious activities you currently undertake manually. Your MSP can make certain processes more cost and time effective.
What’s more, not only can they help you automate routines, but they can also help you to integrate them. For example, with the implementation of a customer relationship management (CRM) system you can enter a customer’s details and records once. The CRM then feeds information into everything, from procurement and production to billing.
So, if you don’t have an IT support provider here in London, now is the best time to find one.
Sign 2. You use a lot of spreadsheets
Businesses of all sizes and sectors are guilty of falling into line with two trains of thought that, ultimately, hold them back in their development. The first is ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, and the second is ‘We’ve always done it this way.’
Neither is a strong enough argument for sticking with a process or workflow that’s inefficient or requires a lot of hands-on effort.
Take the use of spreadsheets. For keeping track of business operations and for certain tasks, like financial or statistical analysis, they’re still a simple, proven, and powerful tool for the job. But in the last ten years, we’ve developed a lot of other tools to solve problems that used to require heavily customised spreadsheets.
For example, if you have a content production and publishing spreadsheet, why not replace it with a project management tool like Asana or BaseCamp?
If you have a spreadsheet to keep track of prospects, customers, suppliers or vendors, look at the CRM solution we’ve mentioned above. This way you create data which can be accessed, analysed, actioned, and fed into other automated processes.
Sign 3. You spend a lot of time reading and sending e-mails
E-mail. Where would we be without it? But when you’ve got an overflowing inbox it’s easy to see it as a stressful curse rather than the business blessing it can be.
E-mail is a great tool that makes it easy to coordinate and share information across teams but sorting out the signal from the noise can be tricky. Furthermore, reducing clutter in email communications is difficult but can be done.
The first things to consider are who are you spending most time communicating with, why and when.
As we said above, a good project management suite can consolidate information and take it out of your inbox. Production schedules, specific tasks, progress reports and who’s in charge of what are all readily available and intuitive in a PM system.
Then consider a collaboration tool, like Slack. This platform can stop project iteration feedback or collaboration turning into an endless chain of dozens, if not hundreds of e-mails. Slack can better organise those conversations for you and create room for more back-and-forth. There are also several bots that have been developed for the platform to automate scheduling.
Last but far from least, consider a marketing automation system for communications with your customers. Taking the time to build and curate your e-mail list is important, but it’s next to useless if you don’t know how to learn from, and leverage, it. An e-mail marketing platform can enable you to set up and automate sequences of communication. They can also set triggers for things like an abandoned cart or a second site visit to send prospects the right offer at the right time.
The actions you can take right now
Digital transformation gives you the opportunity to reimagine your business, especially how you engage and delight your customers.
Digital transformation is already underway, but the good news is that it’s not proceeding at the same pace everywhere, so there’s opportunity for proactive business. To help kickstart digital transformation, there are even national initiatives, such as the Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation (HNCDI) programme, supporting SMEs in adopting new digital technologies to boost their competition.
Put simply, building a successful 21st-century business on stickies and handwritten ledgers isn’t going to work. So, get your managed IT service provider more involved in your business processes, rather than mere problem solving. Look for opportunities to automate and simplify workflows and revolutionise your business communications to stop being overwhelmed with email. And if you don’t have a managed IT service partner here in London, now’s the time to get one.
In fact, why not talk about your digital transformation with the expert, experienced and award-winning team here at totality services? We’ve earned Five Star customer service ratings from TrustPilot, Feefo and Google to become the go to IT support team for London. Simply contact us for a confidential, no obligation chat about your requirements.