When you’re considering just what digital transformation is, the topic can seem almost overwhelmingly broad. Digital transformation strategies are having an impact everywhere in business: designing and producing products, managing employees, going to market and serving customers, dealing with finances and risk, and operating physical workplaces.
The efficiencies and improvements in productivity, sustainability and customer satisfaction are benefits of digital transformation driving investment in this area. Despite being dependent on electricity, digital transformation in business can reduce energy usage and costs.
Digital transformation is the use of digital business technology to change how you operate and serve customers. The benefits of digital transformation are better information and control, improved communication and cost savings, to name a few. If you adopt a digital transformation strategy, it will change the way your company operates, which can affect everything from your corporate culture to your energy usage.
Small-business digital transformation is especially attractive because it becomes a “force multiplier” for your operations and resources. You really can do more with less. Employees with digital tools for small businesses are more productive and are better managed.
You can reach more customers and serve them better. And you can do it all with better control of costs and more efficient use of energy through monitoring and smart systems.
Digital transformation is different for every business. It depends on what digital transformation strategy you pursue, the needs of your organization, your corporate culture and the business needs you address.
For many, small-business digital transformation is best done step by step according to a careful plan that accounts for costs and benefits. It could mean moving to chatbots in your small business to replace paper-based service management. Or it could mean creating a smart office with technology that controls equipment, lights and your HVAC system. One major cost in any strategy can be energy usage, so considering impacts and ways to save are important.
Small-business digital transformation has huge promise, but it can be tricky. You have to weigh complex choices, find reliable metrics to use in planning, understand the costs, worry about security and judge the ability of your organization — and your customers — to change.
Although there may be challenges to overcome, the benefits of digital transformation in business can greatly outweigh them. Here’s a look at the upside of going digital, in greater detail:
Digital transformation uses energy and saves it — but only if you take the right approach. With all the complexity involved in digital transformation planning, it’s easy for small businesses to overlook details and make energy mistakes. The costs of these errors can add up and bleed away the value that you hope to obtain in making digital investments.
With some rules of thumb, you can avoid the big energy-wasting mistakes most commonly made. Keeping the following core strategies in mind every step of the way can keep you in the green, both in saving money and in saving energy.
Making decisions that are informed by facts reduces the risk of getting it wrong. Detailed data lets you fine-tune. Digital tools for small businesses include sensors for capturing and sharing data, along with computing power and apps to synthesize it and analyze it.
Most systems provide a customizable dashboard that allows you to see the data you need to monitor trends and make decisions. Efficient use of data reduces risks, optimizes choices made and saves resources. For instance, an energy monitoring system helps you make data-informed decisions about how your business consumes power.
Customer service and delivering a memorable experience is where investing in digital transformation can really pay off for your small business. Technology makes it easy to connect to your customer online and in the real world, across platforms. Digital tools also let you gather customer information to better understand and serve them in engaging and personalized ways.
Digital transformation isn’t an event; it’s an ongoing reality of business. Innovation is a constant. Employees always need to be learning and improving their digital literacy just to keep pace. But the upside is that employees with up-to-date skills are more valuable to your company and helpful to your customers.
Connectivity is a core aspect of digital transformation strategies. It’s more than just connecting systems and sensors; it connects your teams. Digital tools help employees work together, even when off-site, sharing data, deliverables and insights for solving problems. It helps everyone work together to serve customers and develop innovations. The value of connected collaboration can revolutionize your business.
It all comes down to the bottom line. Saving money, serving the customer, innovating, reducing risk, working smarter and being more efficient are all ways to grow revenue, cut costs and boost profit. The bottom-line benefit of digital transformation for your small business is long-term. As your business performs better — with enhanced customer experiences, better products, efficient controls and better decisions — success builds on success for a sustainable and growing profit picture.
The best time to start your small-business digital transition is now. The benefits to your business — even taking just the first steps — can be substantial.
As with any large endeavor, planning is important if you’re to get the most value from your investment. Taking measured steps is easier on the budget and helps you focus on optimizing each phase. Saving energy should be at the core of your initiative, ensuring efficiency, effectiveness and profitability.
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