Small businesses have always taken small steps towards digitization and made their own decisions as to when and what to digitize. Some use apps and continue to rely on paper documents, while others have ventured into online marketing, social media, and video conferencing supported by online transcription service providers. However, Conga’s inaugural State of Digital Document Transformation survey found that 14% of the respondents still use typewriters as well as other out-of-date processes such as filing cabinets (38%), ink signatures (36%), and fax machines (30%) (www.businesswire.com).
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of this. Digitization is no longer optional for small businesses – it has become the new normal.
Digital transformation is the process of leveraging digital technology to manage business and deliver value to customers. This includes adopting new tech tools or automate processes, implementing smart operational strategies, and thinking of new ways to meet customer expectations through digital solutions. In addition to modern technology, successful adoption of digital transformation includes vendor and cultural support across the organization. By creating value for customers, digital transformation helps businesses gain a competitive advantage, save money, and grow.
As small businesses plan their digital journey, the following strategies can expedite the process, and make it easier and more effective:
- Identify areas that need improvement: New tech can automate various tasks and processes – from employee management and collaboration to analytics, spend management systems, finance processes, transactions and more. The first questions to consider are which areas can benefit from digitization and how digitizing will change operations in those areas. As small businesses have smaller budgets than enterprises, the goal should be to focus on the most important areas. To prepare your company for digitization, you also need to consider the impact of new technology on existing employees and new hires and how it will affect your customers.
- Prepare the team: It’s very important that your team is well prepared for digital transformation. Help them to adapt to change. Take time to educate all your employees about the goals and benefits of the new technology. Successful digitization requires empowering your team and making them feel confident about the deployment of new technology.
- Choose the right technologies: Digital solutions abound and there have been rapid advances in cloud services, artificial intelligence (AI), data management and IT services. While all of these can have a significant impact on a business, you should be selective and choose the right tech tools or processes that suits your operations and your company’s culture. Focus on your pain points and see what’s taking up too much time and money. For instance, if keeping accurate records of meetings, conferences, and other interactions is taking up too much of staff time, consider digital transcription services. Partnering with an efficient business transcription service provider can ensure quality documentation in short turnaround, minimize file backlogs, allowing your team to focus on core tasks and improve productivity.
- Offer training: It’s important to ensure that your team knows how to use the digital tools. Offering training and development initiatives is necessary to help your employees expand their skill set. For instance, for adopting digital collaboration, employees would need to have basic skills for uploading, sharing and editing documents online using cloud-based applications like Google Drive and Dropbox. If you are looking to digitize your recruitment workflow, there are a variety of automated tools to speed up the sourcing and hiring process. These include applicant tracking systems and customer relationship management software, and Zoom, Google Hangouts and other software for conducting interviews. HR leaders need to be familiarized with the recruiting software that the company adopts.
As the pandemic evolved and organizations moved to the work at home mode, they embraced digital strategies such as virtual meetings to communicate with their teams. Business transcription service providers ensure that these remote interactions are well documented. With the many advantages that they offer, virtual meetings could become the norm after the pandemic ends.
Once your digital transformation is underway, plan a review process to measure the effectiveness of each project, recommends a Forbes article. Choose the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the impact of your digital transformation. Evaluate the results carefully and take appropriate action.