We are at an inflection point, a true paradigm shift across businesses of every size, industry and market. No business is immune to the rapid technological change brought about by the digital era. But therein belies the disruption of digital transformation: the reward vs perceived time commitment and investment. The question on everyone’s mind is, is digital transformation all hype or reality?
A Digital Bacakbone from the Ground Up
The reality is digital transformation is a business imperative. Any new business started today must be built with a digital backbone and infrastructure from the ground up. There are three crucial components that can make or break a new business today:
Automate Business Processes and Workflows
Almost every organization maintains several routine to complex business processes and workflows. Sometimes the process falls within a certain department, while other times it may span multiple departments and even third-party vendors or customers. And not to overly complicate things for this example, but there often times a single process ties into another process or two, or three.
At least in the field service management space, for instance, digital transformation is slowly making its way into the fabric of organizations that have a field service or mobile workforce. The main goals are to increase operational efficiency, improve the customer experience and understand key field service metrics impact across the workforce and the organization as a whole. Business process automation makes it possible to reap the benefits of digital transformation by starting with small, incremental workflows and graduate to more complex processes as the business grows.
Focus on Real-Time Customer Experience
You’ve probably heard it said that we are in the Age of the Customer, where every good or bad experience has the chance to appear on social in a minute and go viral. Fear of negative repercussions is not the reason to focus on the customer; rather, it’s learning opportunity to gain first-hand insight on how to improve the business or exceed expectations the next time around. Further, real-time communication tools (i.e., chat, text, email, phone call, etc.) ensure businesses can keep in touch with customers from the moment they visit a website or make a purchase, day or night, location and time zone need not apply.
As is the case with service-based businesses—field service organizations, for instance—the ability to send real-time alerts via text are an important part of many different types of work orders. Digital solutions provide the means to not leave a customer out of the communication loop when you can automate sending a text to notify the customer of a late arrival or a change in technician. Focusing on getting the customer experience right is reason enough alone that makes digital transformation an imperative for businesses today.
Open to Innovation
Innovation is one of the more controversial considerations of businesses on their digital transformation journey. Innovation comes in many forms, can be thought of as a harbinger of good (or evil) and oftentimes follows a change in executive management.
The common thread among businesses that are open to innovation, is the desire to move the business forward—be seen as a leader. Famed inventor and futurist Dean Kamen said it best, “Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem and a big idea turn into an innovation.” Most business leaders can relate to simply putting up with a problem until something breaks.
Today, business leaders must be savvy when it comes to being aware of innovative solutions available to solve old problems. Keeping on the theme of field service organizations, the first problem most try to solve for is scheduling and/or routing their technicians. A simple concept, but a powerful first step nonetheless. If, however, the big picture comes into view, it’s possible to go way beyond scheduling—to come full-circle— and instead automate business processes.
In the end, digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight, which is a good thing because it makes the concept accessible. Whatever route businesses take to improve their operations, today’s business imperative is digital transformation, before it’s too late.