They just haven’t realised yet.

On a daily basis we consume an ever-increasing number of digital services and products. Indeed, due to this trend, there are 5-year olds who are more competent with digital technology than some hardened business people. Businesses that have embraced digital innovation are now some of the largest companies in the world.

In a recent survey, 54 per cent of digital leaders said their companies will fail if they don’t achieve digital transformation at the same time as their industry rivals and over 80 percent of businesses could be left behind as technology comes to define modern commerce. The findings show just how important digital transformation will be to the future of business.

So, what is Digital Transformation all about? Well first off, it’s not about technology. It’s about technology which happens to be digital that can be used to solve traditional problems, essentially ‘digital problem solving’.  Business owners tend to have a range of objectives, from increasing sales, to decreasing costs, increasing productivity or reducing risk. Digital solutions can play a part in achieving these objectives and often the solution can produce phenomenal results.

…it’s not about technology. It’s about technology which happens to be digital that can be used to solve traditional problems, essentially ‘digital problem solving’.

At the SmartGov conference hosted by Naomh and the team at Smart Global, the Director of Digital Shared Services at the Department of Finance revealed that the digital transformation project they have been implementing over the last four years has produced savings of £96 million for taxpayers.

So, what are the implications for local businesses in Ireland? We have seen companies embrace digital transformation and drive innovation in their businesses. Just like any other project a business approaches, a digital project should be judged by its return on investment and this should be identified from the outset, so that the business and technology partner are clear on how the success of the solution will be measured.

This is how we approached a recent digital transformation project with Northern Ireland’s leading freight ferry booking agent. Initially the client wanted an app to help with positioning against competitors. After exploring current business processes, we identified the sales impact, decreased costs and increased productivity that a carefully planned, end to end digital solution could deliver. Fast-forward to the fully functioning digital solution and we’ve helped our client successfully grow their sales, 20% year-on-year.  In addition, the solution has enhanced efficiency as staff previously taking bookings over the phone have been re-allocated to sales roles, leading to a 20% reduction in staffing costs for customer service.

It can’t be overstated how important a carefully considered approach is when delivering a digital solution. The choice of digital partner can often be the difference between success and failure. If you want to overhaul current business processes to incorporate digital strategies and technology into your company, strategically structure your next digital project to solve the traditional problems that live in businesses of all shapes and sizes.

So where to start?

Quite often a digital transformation project can become an enormous challenge very quickly however the key is to take small but meaningful steps along a transformation journey. Sometimes a business will be able to identify the opportunities to increase sales, decrease costs, innovate or reduce risk but other times they won’t be able to see the forest for the trees.

Some of the low hanging fruit in digital transformation is found in processes that can be automated, allowing people to be more productive with their time. Identify repetitive tasks or manual processes and look at how an automated workflow could help add efficiencies.

You will find that once you get started, the path to continue on becomes much clearer and we find clients, after initial worries and concerns prevent them from starting quickly start to get excited about the potential that could be unlocked in their business once they see results. The key is to run a transformation project in phases, taking manageable chunks and making sure not to loose sight of your core business objectives.

To find out more contact us.