Why “Digital Transformation” is more than a buzz word for small business owners
Have you heard of the term Digital Transformation (DT)? It’s rapidly becoming the catch-all phrase for any kind of change that moves people and businesses into the digital age. But the concept can be confusing – especially for workers and everyday small business owners looking to keep up with today’s technology and workplace norms. Find out what it means, how it impacts you, and most importantly, why you must embrace it now.
All aboard the Digital Transformation train
Digital Transformation is the process of making changes and updates to how work is done to meet today’s new and evolving digital expectations. DT can include automating processes, using social media for marketing, collecting and understanding data, and even offering new digital products and services through digital channels.
DT doesn’t happen overnight; the move is gradual, and for people and businesses alike, it helps to start thinking out of the box by challenging the status quo and experimenting. Start by being open to the change and addressing these common small business questions:
Why can’t I keep doing what I’m doing? After all, I’m hanging in there and business is steady
The beauty of digital transformation is that it is not an all-or-nothing proposition. People and businesses have been doing it for years, in the simple adoption of phones or any kind of electronic equipment. In order to keep up, both businesses and workers need to meet their audiences where they are, and where they are going. This includes:
- Updating processes and workflows
- Using social media and customer data analytics
- Using Cloud capabilities
- Maximizing online presence/investing in your customer’s experience by covering all their digital touchpoints (Twitter, Facebook, online ads, Instagram, email, YouTube, etc.)
Not engaging in the above could eventually erode your ability to stay relevant. You may start to notice a drop in repeat business, number of referrals, or a stellar promotion that always brought tons of business no longer generates the numbers. If you are a worker, your skills may become obsolete. And while your digital renaissance doesn’t have to be monumental, it does have to exist – or others will be beating you to the sale.
What should I be thinking about to start tackling my digital transformation?
Start by identifying the steps you need given where you are in the digital makeover process. Does it require more personnel with different skills? Will there be an investment in technology and software? Maybe you will need to design a new job or hire a consultant that embodies the desired changes, and perhaps your business plan needs a rehaul to take digitalization into account.
Frame these questions with the biggest consideration of all – what is key to your small business doing well? If getting products in front of customers is essential, make your plan to focus on the tech to make that possible: boost your listing on Google and Apple Maps, add an online chatbot to your website, or enlist a product-specific app that makes you super easy to do business with.
If you or your business is struggling to network with partners, make yourself more visible with social media. Businesses can also use analytic tools to track what works and make smarter choices on everything from vendors to shipping methods.
How can digitizing increase productivity?
Studies show that businesses can save 528 hours per employee per year by simply digitizing data collection.2 Digitizing documents frees up space, saves time finding documents, supports your mobile working style and is more secure than loose papers. Today’s Cloud and Artificial Intelligence tech can bolster how much gets done as well, saving time by managing documents and automating data-related work, training and customer service.
Xerox® ConnectKey® technology offers built-in scanning capabilities and apps to help clear desktops of clutter by storing documents quickly and securely in the Cloud or digital folders, offering:
- Cloud Connector apps make it safe and easy to create highly efficient workflows by connecting your ConnectKey® Technology-enabled printers to your cloud storage app of choice. Scan directly to a cloud folder for easy sharing and collaboration, or print document stored in the cloud with just a few touches directly at the printer.
- Conversion apps help you go digital with your documents to save office space, lower costs, and reduce waste. Use your multifunction printer to convert paper documents into digital formats and resources allowing for easy emailing, storage, editing retrieval, translating and even listening.
- Mobile Scanning with Xerox Mobile Link App, lets you capture images and scan documents with your smartphone, combine and merge them into password protected PDFs, and send them to the cloud, email, or to be printed, simultaneously.
It’s also important to remember that small business digital transformation is enabled by technology but driven by people. When you begin to expand into digital realms you will expand your ability to attract and retain both new employees and customers – all of whom are growing more comfortable in a digital world.