Vision33’s Strategy in 33 webinar series is a quarterly offering featuring bright minds and industry thought leaders providing tips and insights about enterprise technology. In only 33 minutes, you’ll gain fresh ideas for driving your business forward.
In this session, Jim Kofalt, founder of DX4 Research, discusses digital transformation. He removes the complexity and brings digital transformation down to earth through examples and advice for small and midsized businesses.
What is Digital Transformation?
Jim defines digital transformation as applying digital technologies to transform business processes. Technology can automate and streamline your core processes, making your business more efficient. It can also improve your agility and adaptability when faced with change. In addition, embarking on a digital transformation journey offers new opportunities and increases customer engagement.
Digital transformation doesn’t have to involve significant, disruptive changes. It can start with identifying a single pain point and adopting new technology – or changing existing technology – to make your business run better.
When considering a digital transformation strategy, Jim recommends focusing on three areas: process and integration, business models, and a culture of innovation.
Process and Integration
Automation is the key to process and integration. You can achieve automation with a low-code integration platform that allows your data to flow seamlessly between your mission-critical business applications. Integration is a low-cost, low-risk solution that eliminates repetitive data entry and is the ideal first step toward digital transformation.
Reexamining your business model shouldn’t be overwhelming; no one expects you to be the next Uber or Netflix. Instead, Jim suggests observing the world around you, understanding which changes may affect your business, and getting ahead of the curve.
Assess your customers’ issues and consider how to resolve them. Which needs are you currently filling, and which needs are still frustrating customers? Then, consider how you can address those needs more effectively with technology and other tools.
Don’t try to overhaul your existing business model. Instead, consider ways to extend and experiment with it. Try things that could transform how you do business or help you reach more customers.
Culture of Innovation
Jim quoted Edgar Schein, an MIT professor: “The only thing that leaders really have control over is culture, and if they don't proactively manage culture, then culture will manage them.”
Creating a culture of innovation for your business involves time and persistence but will pay off. Here’s how to foster a culture of innovation:
- Be clear about your values. Align your words and actions and be clear about what your company stands for.
- Communicate your message frequently. Talk about it in meetings, at new employee orientations, and in marketing materials.
- Initiate conversations. Talk to your team consistently about how to make changes and continuously improve.
- Align incentives. Reward the right things.
- Recognize excellence. Praise your top innovators publicly.
Digital transformation is achievable for small and midsized businesses. Start small and take baby steps. Focus on saving time and alleviating headaches. Keep an open mind and a spirit of continuous improvement – and never forget that digital transformation is a journey.
For more insights from Jim, and to access a free digital transformation eBook, watch the Strategy in 33 on-demand webinar recording.