Digital transformation was most definitely the buzzword of 2020. In a time of uncertainty and fear, technology was the hero of the moment for us all. It enabled us to work from home, stay stocked up on essentials, and connect with our colleagues and loved ones. While this heavy reliance on technology seems like a logical step in a situation that disconnected us for long stretches of time, the leg work it took behind the scenes to make this possible wasn’t quite as straightforward.
A rapid shift to remote working pretty much across the board forced the hand of many organisations, whether they were ready for it or not. It is this integration of technology into all areas of a business that is classed as digital transformation.
What Is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the incorporation of new technologies into all areas of a business. It is not a destination, rather a journey, whereby organisations identify areas where technology can streamline work processes or improve the customer experience, for example, and implement strategies to put it in place.
What’s important to understand about digital transformation is that it looks different for every business. The uniting factor about this process is that it starts by thinking outside of the box. In a technology driven world, leaders must realise that it is not always possible, or effective, to carry old business practices over into new ones. Instead, a growth mindset is required along with an open-minded approach to emerging technologies and their potential applications to business.
Digital transformation also targets a problem or a goal. It is not ‘tech for the sake of tech,’ rather it is tech in response to an ongoing issue or sticking point. For example, organisations might identify that improvements could be made to their customer or employee experience and explore how different technologies could achieve the desired goal.
Why Is Digital Transformation Important?
Digital transformation is important because it can:
- Give your business a competitive edge
- Help your organisation to be more agile and resilient
- Bring together information and resources to be better used across the business
- Help businesses collect the right data and use it in the right ways
- Improve the customer experience
- Improve the employee experience
- Encourages more collaboration and innovation from anywhere
- Boosts productivity
When the pandemic reared its ugly head, digital transformation was a sink or swim matter. Any organisations that buried their head in the sand quickly found themselves falling behind their competition. Or, in some extreme cases, unable to cope with the rapid changes happening around them at all.
Those businesses who opened their minds to technology were invariably the ‘winners’ of the pandemic. And arguably, will also be the ones who continue to forge ahead in the future as long as they are armed with the same flexible growth mindset and willingness to try new things.
And that is why digital transformation is so important for businesses: the world will not wait for you to catch up. Technology is setting the benchmark for what customers and employees expect and if your business is unable to provide the same experience in all areas…they will vote with their feet.
Digital transformation is crucial to the evolution of any business. And, as we zoom in on that, it becomes clear that the early adopters – those businesses who are open to trying new things and not necessarily afraid of ‘failure’ – are ultimately the ones that pull ahead in the long run.
Digital Transformation Examples
So, what does digital transformation actually look like?
Digital transformation can look different across different businesses and sectors. Here are just a few examples to give you an inside look at what to expect.
Digital Transformation in Recruitment
The aim of digital transformation in recruitment is to simplify or eliminate admin tasks while increasing operational efficiency through the integration of tech solutions.
An example of digital transformation in recruitment includes video conferencing technologies, which simplify the face to face interview process and also allow for more flexibility in how, when and where a candidate is interviewed. Other technologies such as applicant tracking software, pre-employment assessments, and AI chatbots are also being put to good use throughout the recruitment journey from candidate sourcing right down to the final hiring decision.
Digital Transformation in Learning & Development
Upskilling employees is now more important than ever for businesses. As organisations recognise how beneficial it is to grow skills internally, all eyes are on learning and development from here on out.
Digital transformation in learning and development is much needed as we come to terms with the fact that learning doesn’t just happen in a classroom. It can, in fact, happen anywhere, including on the job and in virtual environments.
A great example of digital transformation in learning and development is the advent of learning experience platforms. While learning management systems have been common in the workplace for quite a while now, learning experience platforms are making use of technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, gamification and virtual reality (to name a few) in order to deliver more personalised learning experiences for employees.
Technologies are also being used to make learning and development in the workplace more hands-on and interactive. Virtual reality, for example, is a powerful way for employees to safely and realistically put new skills into practice and apply them to the flow of work.
Digital Transformation Of The Employee Experience
Positive employee experiences make a big difference to productivity, collaboration, innovation, creativity and growth. It makes sense then that businesses would be turning to digital transformation to create more positive employee experiences across the board.
Employee experience platforms are just one way HR teams are taking control of this. These clever cloud-based systems work to streamline and automate parts of the employee experience, allowing leaders to take a people-first approach that isn’t bogged down in paperwork and admin. What’s more, employee experience platforms also provide personalisation throughout crucial touchpoints in the employee journey to better help organisations take control of, and redefine, elements of it.
Other technologies being used to redefine the employee experience include employee engagement platforms, onboarding tools, productivity tools, learning platforms, wellbeing initiatives and much more.
What Are The Main Drivers Of Digital Transformation
One of the main drivers of digital transformation is the identification of slow, outdated processes and legacy technologies. Very rarely does digital transformation come about because of a new technology specifically, rather a problem emerges first which can be overcome with the help of a technological solution.
The Domino Effect
As more and more businesses move to the cloud, it’s likely that more opportunities for digital transformation will arise to make the transformation smoother and more effective. This will be exacerbated further by the rise in remote and hybrid working, as access from anywhere on any device becomes essential, rather than just a nice to have.
Privacy and security are hot topics right now. From customer to employee data, the introduction of new legislation such as GDPR means that organisations need to get even more serious about how they manage and store information. On top of this, the rise in remote and hybrid working also brings with it a number of security issues.
During the pandemic, there was a huge spike in cybercrime and fraud, partly due to the fact that employees were working from home, on unsecured networks, sometimes from their own devices. From this knowledge alone, it is clear why digital transformation is needed to ensure employees and data remain safe and secure as the work from anywhere revolution continues to gain traction.
Your customers are used to slick digital experiences. If a business can’t provide that, it’s fair to say it probably won’t enjoy the same growth as one that embraces digital transformation.
This doesn’t just refer to paying customers either, it also refers to ‘internal customers’ AKA your employees. We all use technology in our day to day life, and most of it fits seamlessly into our lives from our mobile phones to the virtual assistants in our homes. That being said, it’s fair to say that up until recently there has been an incongruence between our personal tech and work tech.
For example, intranets or customer portals can be very outdated, slow and unintuitive. This results in low employee engagement or low customer engagement – both of which no one wants to see. Digital transformation presents an opportunity to level up your technology offerings in line with what your customers, both external and internal, are used to in order to get better engagement from the people that matter most to your business.
Getting Started With Digital Transformation
Digital transformation can revolutionise your business when done correctly. Here at Huler, we are passionate about helping organisations level up their work tech game with the help of HulerHub, our revolutionary digital workplace and employee engagement platform. To find out more about HulerHub, book a demo now to speak to a member of our team.