According to Wikipedia, digital transformation is:
Digital transformation (DX) is the adoption of digital technology by a company to improve business processes, value for customers and innovation.
However, whilst that sums it up nicely, there is far more to it.
Digital Transformation has been around as a concept for some time; however the last 18 months has seen an increase both in interest on the topic as well as the benefits of digital transformation itself.
“We have seen 2 years of digital transformation in 2 months”.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, famously quoted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic:
That pace of change has showed no signs of slowing as, even as recovery slowly begins, most people’s working lives have change shape in some way, forever. Whether you’re an office worker who is now based remotely, or work in the hospitality industry who’s had to quickly adapt to online deliveries or a manufacturer that’s seen a sharp, sustained, increase in demand, the way we do business is becoming increasingly digitised.
Many of our customers have had to swiftly switch from a predominantly office-based environment to one where people are working remotely from any location. This has posed both technological challenges, but also cultural ones as we strive to stay connected and in touch with our colleagues, whilst balancing the strain of managing many virtual meetings.
The simplest form of digital transformation, taking something manual and digitising it, has been key to keeping businesses moving over the pandemic. Whether something as simple as moving from a paper-based expenses process to one where expenses are logged in a spreadsheet or moving to Microsoft Teams or Zoom calls in place of face-to-face meetings, everyone has had to adapt. We have been able to use the Microsoft Power Platform to support our customers with these simple requirements, enabling manual and paper-based processes to be quickly made electronic.
The forced shift to digital transformation
People have been forced to quickly adopt cloud-based systems, which has seen a shift in thinking and technology. This shift, whilst uncomfortable and too fast for some, presents an enormous opportunity.
Building a Digital Future, by Lipi Sarkar and Vinnie Bansal, identifies the three key stages of true digital transformation:
- Digital Assets/Optimising existing IT support
- This involves moving existing IT infrastructure and systems to the cloud
- Digital Experience – Optimise the current business model
- This involves moving business data and processes into a cloud-based application, enabling operational improvements
- Digital Transformation – Creating new business models
- Use the power of your cloud-based IT infrastructure, processes, and data to create new offerings
Digital transformation stages
Almost all organisations (who weren’t already in the cloud) have been forced into the first stage of digital transformation, having migrated to cloud-based infrastructure and tools.
Stage 2 and 3
Stages two and three are where the real opportunity lies, once using scalable, secure, cloud-based systems you have an opportunity to vastly improve business process and therefore your customers’ experiences. Having utilised a cloud approach to increase efficiency, better serve your customers and drive sales, you can then use those tools to expand your offering and create new ways of working.
Increasing licence utilisation to improve digital transformation
Due to rapid pace of change, driven by necessity, many businesses have transitioned to cloud-based tools, but are only utilising them to perform like for like operations compared to what they were doing with legacy systems. A good example of this is moving to Microsoft 365, which includes SharePoint for online document management and Exchange for sending and receiving emails, but continuing to attach documents to emails when sending them. Whilst this is possible in the cloud, you are missing out on sharing files using secure links, vastly reducing the size of emails, retaining control of documents, and facilitating real time document collaboration. There are many similar examples of this, and we often see customers utilising a fraction of the power of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 licences they own.
Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 to transform your business operations
Another good example is an organisation using Microsoft Dynamics 365. It may work perfectly well as a basic CRM system, and do everything its predecessor did, but included with a Dynamics 365 Sales licence are a vast array of productivity features such as Teams, SharePoint and Office 365 integration, tools to help sellers track email (and attachment) interactions, and Power Automate to automate large parts of current workflows and facilitate integration with other systems. Our customer success managers proactively identify areas where customers can leverage more from their existing licence investment and help them to build efficient and productive teams.
Maximising the potential of tools you already have unlocks stage two of digital transformation, paving the way for the third stage. The third stage is where you have everything necessary in place to enable you to innovate, rapidly, and provide new and improved products and services to your customers.
If you are looking for digital transformation consultancy to help improve the performance and efficiency of your business, or for specialist IT consultancy to make recommendations on how you can fully utilise your businesses current license subscriptions please get in touch.