11 Mar Digital transformation in the business sector and SMEs
The digital transformation crosses every divide and, above all, affects the future of every company. And it’s been that way for a number of years now. In the business world, no sector is exempt from facing up to the digitalisation of businesses process to one degree or another… and it’s not just a set of changes that exclusively affects companies related to technology, connectivity and the Internet.
Most corporations of a certain size can deal with their own digital transformations without too much of an issue – which doesn’t mean they can avoid the process altogether, of course. But some SMEs find it much more difficult to make that all-important technological leap forwards due to a multitude of factors, and because every SME is, quite literally, a world apart. But they too, like the big names, must face up to the changes required and understand the keys to digital transformation to ensure their future survival.
Challenges of the digital transformation
For both giant organisations and SMEs alike, the challenges of the digital transformation process are largely shared. These strategic milestones, broadly speaking and with a few nuances, can be summarised as follows:
- Having a team that’s adaptable to change and that, even when all the steps of the process or their complexity aren’t quite clear or detailed, is capable of being flexible, learning, adapting to new realities and not losing motivation.
- Taking on new responsibilities that may have been external previously but now must be carried out internally, or at least integrated within new workflows.
- Having a single data centre, where all information from the omnichannel, multi-format and different data sources involved can be integrated. Otherwise, the coherence and stability of the entire system would be at risk.
- Focussing on the customer and their experience, given customers now have so many ways to access, analyse, compare and contact companies, which increases their prominence and influence as a result. All strategies should work to make things easier.
- Changing the company culture, not just with regard to the company’s relationship with technology, but in everything to do with the way work is viewed and approached in a new market with changing rules, which evolves fifty times faster than perhaps just twenty years ago.
The keys to digital transformation for SMEs
SMEs need to face the technological transition process with a slightly different approach. Mostly because they simply don’t have the resources their ‘bigger sisters’ do, but that doesn’t mean they have to stop being competitive. In this way, it’s worth paying close attention to the following points:
- Computerisation and automation, not only for repetitive tasks or jobs that can be extremely simplified or removed altogether. Instead, it’s better to forget specific roles and see computing, devices and the Cloud as allies, rather than enemies, in every possible process and as part of the day-to-day running of SMEs, wherever they can be incorporated.
- Big Data, AI and bots. Algorithms, artificial intelligence and bots can all be applied in many different parts of the production chain, from inventory management to customer profiling, even user services. If it can benefit SMEs, there’s no need to fear implementing them.
Training and partnerships. It’s important to appreciate some things can be totally alien to SMEs, including the use of certain tools, digitalised processes and working with data. If they can’t do something directly themselves, it’s worth establishing strategic partnerships with consultants or specialists in a particular field who can collaborate and support the process of their digital transformation.