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What Is Digital Transformation? Definition, Benefits & Examples

If you’re looking to streamline business operations, you’ve come to the right place. From implementing smart manufacturing devices, upgrading sensors, and connecting machines, to organizing and analyzing massive amounts of data, digital transformation can launch your business into the future. But what is digital transformation, and how much of an investment is it really?

In this article, we’ll explain how digital transformation keeps businesses competitive, and how you can begin crafting your digital transformation strategy today.

What Is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies, such as smart factory devices, data-collecting sensors, and AI software, to fundamentally change and improve a multitude of operations, strategies, and customer experiences.

Digital transformation can happen across almost any industry, including manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, retail, and insurance. Each business’s digital transformation can and should be customized to suit its unique needs and goals.

5 Benefits of Digital Transformation

Your business is likely already using digital technologies for many operations. You might be using software to balance your books or track shipments and inventory. So, why digital transformation? Because every business needs to be continuously improving efficiency to keep up with the competition. 

Some elements and benefits of a full digital transformation include:

  1. Adoption of new technologies: Some businesses benefit greatly from implementing cloud computing, advanced data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), automation, tracking devices, and safety sensors.
  2. Reinvention of processes: By introducing new technologies, you’ll be able to retire many outdated and time-consuming processes, freeing up employees to tackle more meaningful problems. Digital tools improve efficiency, speed, and accuracy, reducing time spent on repetitive tasks.
  3. Better utilization of data: Not only do digital tools track data in real-time, but AI and business intelligence (BI) software can pull meaningful insights from data faster. Your leadership team can make more informed decisions faster.
  4. Improved customer experience: Digital tools capture and sort customer information and preferences, allowing your sales team to go into meetings prepared to meet the individual needs of each client. You can also leverage social tech to reach new audiences on their preferred platforms, whether that be via email, phone, or even direct mail.
  5. Risk management: Find and eliminate security and safety risks with frequently updated software. Digital transformation allows you to mitigate privacy issues for your clients and your business, safeguarding assets and protecting your business from legal challenges.

Digital transformation isn’t as simple as implementing new technologies. The true benefit of digital transformation comes when you connect these technologies to transform seemingly independent departments of your business into a cohesive whole. Properly implemented, digital transformation will allow collaboration across all levels of your organization, streamlining operations for all.

How to Craft Your Digital Transformation Strategy

Digital transformation solutions come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, the ability to completely customize your digital transformation strategy gives you a huge competitive edge: You can adopt the technologies you need and save money by declining the ones you don’t.

Here are some broad steps you can take to start creating your digital transformation roadmap.

1. Shop Digital Transformation Agencies

While hugely beneficial to your business, digital transformation is an undeniably massive project. An experienced digital transformation consulting agency can help from start to finish, from tech implementation to training reluctant employees.

Your digital transformation consultant will meet in person or remotely with your project manager to understand the scope of transformation and your business’s values, goals, challenges, and budget. Together, you’ll begin crafting your roadmap.

Pro tip: Find a digital transformation consulting service that has experience in your industry, whether that be manufacturing, healthcare, banking, or others. Your consultant may be a master of their preferred enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, but without understanding your industry, they may not know which tools you need to be competitive in your industry.

2. Select Your ERP Solution

Your digital transformation or ERP consultant will help you choose the best ERP system for your unique needs. Each ERP system comes with myriad ERP modules, but a consultant can help you determine which you need and which you don’t.

3. Get Your People On-Board

Yes, digital transformation involves a lot of tech. But do not underestimate the impact of your people: leadership, management teams, employees. These are the most important elements of any business.

Digital transformation means change, and change can be scary. If you can involve your people from the start by engaging employees, asking for their input, listening to their concerns, and clearly laying out your roadmap, you’ll have a much easier time during implementation.

Any digital transformation consultant worth their weight will be able to provide tips on employee engagement, as it’s often the biggest roadblock to success.

4. Start Customizing

Now that you have your consulting agency, the right ERP system, and employees who are excited to help improve operations, you can get to the fun stuff: customization. Customization involves identifying the largest areas of improvement and determining which digital technology can best solve those problems.

As mentioned above, there is no one-size-fits-all ERP solution. You’ll have to collaborate with your ERP experts to ensure the most efficient system for your business.

3 Examples of Digital Transformation

To help you visualize the improvement to operations digital transformation has, here are a few examples of digital transformation.

Examples of Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

Digital transformation for manufacturers ultimately results in optimized production. Use the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to connect your machines to each other and to your ERP system. IIoT sensors and cameras continuously collect data like temperature, pressure, speed, and energy consumption to identify small issues before they become big problems.

For example, advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms can take the above metrics and predict when it’s time for maintenance before a machine breaks down or negatively impacts the quality of your products. They can also integrate with inventory management technology and communicate with suppliers to ensure you get the exact materials you need when you need them.

Examples of Digital Transformation in Healthcare

In healthcare, digital transformation technologies include wearable technologies that provide accurate patient data remotely. No longer do you have to rely on infrequent visits or the word of your patients. These technologies offer real-time data analysis, plus alerts and notifications, to safeguard your patients the moment they need help – especially important in an emergency.

Examples of Digital Transformation in Financial Services

Every business has financial needs. Whether your finance department is in-house or contracted out, you can access well-organized financial information in real-time by connecting your finance department with sales and suppliers, and make more informed decisions for your business.

Digital Transformation Is Your Ticket to Growth

Digital transformation may feel overwhelming, and rightfully so. It requires a complete rethinking of your business operations and affects all team members. However, your bottom line will thank you. Learn how the experts at ProphecyIoT can help you effectively implement smart technologies and grow your business by contacting us today.

Discover what is possible for your enterprise.

Reach out to our team today to begin a conversation to discuss your specific needs, infrastructure, and growth opportunities.

Godlan is a name you can trust.

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