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Ten Quick Wins for Small Businesses to Accelerate Digital Transformation

Discover how your organisation can create value through digital transformation and achieve its true digital potential in this ever-changing environment.

24.03.2022
6 minutes 6 minutes
Table of Contents
Constant and unpredictable change has become the 'new normal’ for owners and employees of the estimated 5.6 million SMEs in the UK. In this ever-evolving environment ‘traditional’ operations and models are being drastically disrupted, struggling to compete, or deliver the outcomes they need at the speed demanded. However, there are organisations that are thriving and leapfrogging ahead, and their success is attributed to embracing digital transformation as a top strategic priority.

So, how does an organisation join this small but growing elite? It begins with defining the digital transformation strategy for the organisation, which can seem a daunting prospect. However, by following ten guiding steps it is possible to embark on a programme of change that encompasses people, process, and technology.
 

1. Decide who should lead your company's digital agenda

It is imperative that whoever leads the digital transformation programme within an organisation has extensive customer-facing experience and skills, with the ability to focus on opportunities for new revenue generation and customer value creation.
 

2. Create a superior customer service and experience

As important as product and price have been in the past, customer experience is today just as crucial in determining who wins and who loses. In a digital world, customers are more demanding and likely to switch brands, due to poor customer experience. Customers expect easier, intuitive, and compelling digital experiences across channels. Mapping the customer journey is one way of defining expected and desired user behaviour.
 

3. Digitise corporate culture

A company’s culture is defined by its values, employee behaviour, and how things get done. Whilst there is no universal strategy towards establishing a 'standard' digital culture, research indicates that it typically has these defining elements: 
 
  • Employees are encouraged to create new solutions by engaging with customers and partners.
  • Employees are empowered to make decisions throughout the company by following guiding principles.
  • Employees can take risks, fail fast, learn, and push the boundaries towards continuous experimentation. 
  • A focus on short-term planning and quick decision making rather than long-term, detailed plans. The promotion of continuous iteration and improvement. 
  • Collective teamwork to ensure shared information throughout the company.

4. Understand the competition

Regularly assess the competitive landscape, monitoring and comparing the evolution of their product and service offerings. This practice is as relevant now as it was decades ago. The critical difference now is that businesses need to think more broadly when thinking about the competition in the digital age. Whether business to business or business to consumer what’s important is that all business centres around people and their experiences. 
 

5. Get digitally engaged

Consider what a digital operating model would look like for the business. Digitally competitive organisations experiment with solutions and processes, that drive revenue and help forecast future needs, by responding quickly to any identified gaps. 
 

6. Assess employee skills

The pace and success of digital transformation is only as good as the team driving and delivering it. So, it is important to ascertain what new skills (both business disciplines and technical know-how) will need to be hired or trained.
 

7. Implement new and improved processes

Put your customer at the heart of any process improvements. One of the important process changes necessary to spur digital transformation is Agile Development. Ideally, the intended end user of the product or service should be involved in its development. Their feedback on what is working, or what is not should refine the functionality throughout the development journey.
 

8. Manage and communicate change

Digital transformation has the potential to cause anxiety amongst employees, leading to a resistance to change. To negate this, there needs to be a clear plan for change that incorporates training and communications, taking into consideration the differences in people's position, location, and areas of responsibility. It is better to over-communicate and take corrective action at the appropriate point.
 

9. Introduce new technology

Digital transformation requires investment in new technology. As companies age, they typically have older technology, which tends to be weaved together in a complex web. These have unintended consequences on other technologies, with even minor changes resulting in complexity and unnecessary expense. To address this:
 
  • Highlight the status of current technology, the risks of not modernising, and then define the future taking associated risks into account.
  • Develop more loosely coupled technologies connected via an ecosystem so that changes to one platform can be made independent of others. 
  • Develop a cloud-first strategy. Cloud technology helps organisations to be flexible and to scale up and back up as needed. 
  • Consider retiring old technology.
  • Standardise as much technology as possible. There may be multiple operating companies or business units in the company, and they may be different enough to justify other technology. 

10. Evaluate digital maturity

Digital Maturity is a measure of an organisation’s digital transformation and ability to create value through digital. Knowing the maturity level can help address gaps towards a truly digitally transformed state. Finally, it is never too late to act - only a few organisations are genuinely digitally mature.
 
Whatever your maturity level, Konica Minolta’s online DX360° Digital Maturity Assessment will help you understand, explore, and consider your next steps for your digital transformation journey to realise your true digital potential. 
 

About the author

Milan Lakhani

Milan Lakhani is Head of Strategy and Business Development at the Konica Minolta Business Innovation Centre, Europe, and responsible for the overall strategy to bring new ideas to life. He also leads the Konica Minolta global intrapreneurship programme focusing on talent development and cultural transformation. Milan thrives on creating empowering innovative solutions based on innovation management and design-thinking principles, which ultimately, accelerates Konica Minolta’s digital transformation initiatives by creating new customer value.

DX360° Digital Maturity Assessment

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