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Digital transformation: Impact and transformational technologies

Author —Aakarsh Prakash5 min read7 Jan 2022
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Today, business is no longer about just producing and selling. Although these two remain important business functions, even industry-leading businesses and brands have to work hard on multiple fronts like innovation, technology, agility, and compliance, among others.

The advent and widespread availability of digital technology has led to massive opportunities for businesses of all sizes, from small businesses to enterprises. Organizations that adopt a customer-driven, technology-based, data-led approach to the way they source, produce, distribute, and promote are the ones that will survive in the coming days. Digital transformation has rapidly become a must-have for organizations.

What is digital transformation

Digital transformation is the strategic integration of digital technologies in order to improve processes, enhance stakeholder experience, and create value. This definition of digital transformation also acknowledges that it is all about adapting to change and being business-ready all the time.

The positive impact of the adoption of digital technology is nearly all-encompassing. From more efficient inventory to better financial controls, from cost-effective production to stellar customer experience, you’ll find digital transformation behind all this. Trends in digital transformation clearly show it has proved to be a massive enabler by creating opportunities.

The recent Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of using technology that can make your business more resilient, more capable to face any unprecedented situation. At the end of the day, it is not just about using one tool in place of another, it’s about adopting something that’s clearly faster, more efficient, and responsive.


Functions benefited by digital transformation solutions

Businesses today, no matter what size, are process-driven. Each business function relies on processes to be increasingly efficient, consistent, and dependable. With every passing day, you want more out of your processes, because your customers want more.

Your modern-day customers want things to be simple, personalized, and prompt. And to meet their expectations, you’ll need to move to systems that are underpinned by strong, scalable technologies. Every touchpoint in the journey of your stakeholders, be them customers, employees, or suppliers, needs to be swift, frictionless and pleasant.

Operations, marketing, sales, procurement, supply chain, finance ... every single business function stands to derive huge, future-proof benefits from digital technologies. For a compact understanding, however, we shall look at how four principal business functions are positively impacted by digital business transformation:

Supply chain management

The bigger your business, the more responsibility you have towards your buyers, customers and business partners. It’s no longer enough to say you’ve shipped the consignment. Whether you are an ecommerce entity delivering hundreds of items to different locations daily, a not-for-profit helping distribute pandemic relief supplies to myriad locations, or a paints company aiming to fulfil orders for three diverse projects, if there’s one thing you need, it’s data-visibility.

Your digital transformation strategy can help build data-efficient networks that can easily collaborate with other entities in the chain. While there’s always a lot of data available out there, your system would be able to aggregate that data, process it reliably into meaningful insights and provide you with all the information you need - all at the right time, at the right pace.

With a true digital solution in place, you’ll be able to track everything, without interruptions, without downtimes. You’ll be in absolute control because you’ll have the latest information on every element in your supply chain, from raw material procurement to successful delivery.

Human resources teams

Few people outside business organizations understand the complexities of human resources teams. As a human resource professional, you know what overwhelming challenges you face.

As the Human Resources head, or its senior decision-maker, two of your key priorities include making sure you hire the right people at the right pace and using data points to ensure current teams perform at their optimum levels. And reliable, efficient processes are the center of successful outcomes of both.

Digital transformation tools score well over your legacy applications when you try to stay on top of the classic HR triad of attracting, training, and nurturing talent. For example, are you all set to deliver a great candidate experience? Because even the candidates that you ultimately do not select contribute to employer branding. The better the experience you’ve delivered, the stronger your employer branding becomes, which, in turn makes it easier to attract better talent.

Finance

How much security can you wrap around your processes without impacting either their agility or security? Can you make things easier for your banking customers without crossing any compliance boundaries? Or will it be possible for your finance teams to close the quarter-end accounts without having to worry about it all through the quarter?

While computing technology has been assisting banking and finance for a long time - after all, computing is about numbers - digital transformation in finance has brought sweeping improvements in the workflow and work productivity for them. It has brought in transparency and predictability, two important pillars of resource management.

Finance is the custodian of the most important data - your financial health - so you want really robust, yet agile answers to the relevancy challenge.Sure, legacy systems did have solutions, but they were never able to give one composite view of the situation. Modern digital transformation services have been able to provide end-to-end solutions that give you a strategic, bird’s eye view just as easily as they can provide an operational, day-to-day ground-level view.

Sales and marketing

The first challenge in the modern world of intense business competition is finding customers. As if that were not enough, there’s a subsequent challenge: keeping customers happy profitably. Which is why all major businesses, from those selling expensive equipment to those selling inexpensive burgers rely on data to keep growing their number of customers.

Consider the way your customers interact with your products. A mother visiting a supermarket may look at six different breakfast cereals for her kids before she settles on one. Is your brand the chosen one? Did you have enough market intel on how to place your brand to improve visibility? Was your brand able to convey all the nutritional benefits (and taste) so that the mother would be persuaded enough to choose your brand over the others?

All this, and more, is possible if your digital transformation framework has ticked the right boxes. Right from enabling your frontline field staff with the correct software in their handheld devices to improving the massive number-crunching required before you give the go-ahead to the new multi-million dollar marketing campaign, everything pivots around how you’ve leveraged digital technology.


The transformational technologies behind digital transformation

Digital transformation, thankfully, isn’t one single monolithic technology that requires you to change anything and everything in your business overnight. Instead, it comprises a number of technologies, each of which can be independently deployed.

However, businesses will derive the maximum benefits by deploying the right technology. As an example, if your current business model doesn’t have ample scope for IoT right away, there’s no point chasing internet of things today. You can take it up all in good time, but today, you’ll want to focus on things you can really impact.

Here is brief overview of the transformative technologies that will drive digital transformation in your organization:

Artificial intelligence

One of the several technologies that is disrupting the status-quo of businesses, artificial intelligence (AI) will perhaps be one of the key builders of tomorrow’s businesses.

Think of the AI-powered chatbot that’s helping visitors to your site. While on the one hand it interacts with the visitors and answers their questions, on the other hand it keeps learning and making itself more sophisticated, more valuable. AI has long come out of the realms of science fiction.

The best part of AI is that it learns and improves itself without any active human intervention. Most experts agree this is one digital transformational technology businesses can leverage to gain a sustainable, competitive advantage, along with cost-cutting and efficiency.

Hybrid cloud

The days of in-house, system-heavy infrastructure are almost behind us. As businesses switch to cloud, they keep discovering one advantage after another. By choosing cloud, they are freeing their resources from system management workload and redeploying them to more growth-directed activities.

Hybrid cloud, as you probably already know, offers you the best of both worlds. Your business gets the peace of mind you were always looking for, and you also get access to superior infrastructure solutions anytime, on-demand.

When you draw the roadmap of the technology transformation of your organization, be sure to list hybrid cloud among the top to-do things.

Internet of things

With increasing digital engagement everywhere, you know there’s a lot of data you can potentially capture, process, and leverage to serve your customers better. But how do you do it?

The answer lies in connected devices, or more specifically internet of things (IoT). Anything that’s connected to the internet, from your fridge at home to the industrial conveyor belt in your manufacturing facility, is a part of the IoT. It supplies you with valuable information on how that equipment is operating, if it’s overloaded, whether it’s time for servicing and a lot more.

All this data can be infused into many things. For example, it can be fed into product design so that you can improve your products. It can be shared with your sales and marketing teams so that they can better understand the customers out there. It will tell your service teams what basic tips they can share with customers in order to prevent massive breakdowns.

Digitization

We have been using electronic books (Kindle, for instance) for so long that we’ve forgotten that there’s still tons and tons of media that’s yet not digitised. And entire business models are being built around that.

Consider some old books in the neighborhood library that aren’t used much by the local community. Because they are in physical form, they can’t be used even by people in the adjacent town, forget another country.

But digitization of such books, images, pictures, maps and all that can mean that digital transformation will democratize knowledge and information. With digitizing, such assets become widely available, leading to overall addition in the global knowledge pool

Robotics and automation

We don’t really mean the industrial robots that move heavy objects in manufacturing facilities (though they’re important too). We mean the digital bots - specialized software, basically - that can take care of the huge repetitive tasks in your organization.

Consider a credit union or a bank, for example. A lot of form-filling goes into customer onboarding. Traditionally, your human teams used to do these high-volume, repetitive (read boring) tasks. Robotic process automation (RPA) can easily take these tasks up and free your human teams to do more meaningful activities.

The best part of RPA is that it is relatively inexpensive and can be deployed in an extremely short time. Organizations looking to automate processes should look at RPA as one of their first steps towards comprehensive digital transformation.

Microservices

Ever thought how you could leverage a single application to deliver coupled, yet independently deployable smaller services? With a change in how you approach cloud native architecture, you can easily achieve this.

Imagine you’re operating a cloud-kitchen business. The code of your principal business process, over time, grows as your business requirements grow and you add more customers, partners, and modules. The code starts becoming complex and soon it becomes a daunting mammoth. That means your software development will no longer be swift because there will be tons of ramifications for every modification, every addition to the code.

Microservice enables you to extract those pieces of your code and let them perform independently, ‘talking’ to the rest of the code through only APIs. That would make these codes independent and your overall system faster.

Block chain

Because it can form the backbone of contracts, records, and centralized processes, blockchain holds a lot of promise. Although most of us know this, it’s so important it’s worth repeating: blockchain brings unparalleled security to transactions.

That’s perhaps the single most important reason public administrations, governments, B2C and B2B businesses, gaming companies and nearly everyone else is embracing blockchain technology. It boosts efficiency, unlocks value, and eliminates roadblocks from the path to digital transformation.

Consider a government that’s trying to distribute economic benefits to the weaker sections of the society. With blockchain, they can trace every single stage of the entire chain, making it not only transparent but more widely acceptable.

Design thinking

Design thinking is a part of changing the overall organizational culture when you’re setting on the journey of digital transformation. It puts your customers first, by improving the way you define their challenges and create solutions.

Design thinking, by using technology, supports novel ways at looking at and understanding customer problems, encourages processes to better address them, and explores creative approaches to design solutions to these problems.

Design thinking aims to foster innovation by leveraging digital resources. And because technology is ever-evolving, design thinking stresses on being an iterative process.


Digital transformation - the road ahead

There’s no doubt that embracing digital transformation is a necessity for businesses of all sizes; it’s only a matter of time. And considering the limitless opportunities for re-engineering, engaging, and scaling, organizations will need no further push to adapt to these technologies.

The incredible results our clients have achieved are a testimony of how transformative technology, deployed with the help of experts, can be a game-changer. They have discovered that with this transformation, they have built a tech-powered resilience that will help them face unexpected situations, whenever they come up.

Whatever stage you are at, today’s the right time to start a conversation around how your organization can build capabilities with modern technology. From sourcing to marketing, from finance to customer experience, our solutions have empowered organizations to be more nimble, customer-focussed, and innovative.

We’d love to help you explore how our expertise can help you build more reliable processes with which to serve more customers than ever before. Let’s talk!

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