Digital transformation is a change that occurs when organizations integrate digital technologies, invest in processes and improve competencies organization-wide. This change process usually takes place in a planned and coordinated manner, and when well executed, usually results in operational efficiency.
Although this definition stands, experts agree that organizations should define what digital transformation means to them and that the said transformation should be driven by the change or results that organization wants the most.
Technology is key for the right level of digital transformation to occur. You cannot for instance envision a process where more value is created for customers, when using dated legacy systems. For such change to occur, a decent level of technology up datedness must happen as to inspire innovation. As well, the organization must roll out new capabilities to support the updated technology. For instance, if you want to automate pipeline management, then you need AI-led CRM systems, and, consequently, employees who are competent enough to use those systems.
Digital Transformation Is Becoming A Way Of Life
For the longest time, digital transformation had been the preserve of private organizations. Today though, governments and other public sector functions have a growing appreciation of the value that digital transformation holds when it comes to service delivery, reaching vulnerable groups, disaster management, etc. Most recently, with the covid-19 pandemic, functions such as dispensation of healthcare (particularly home-based care), have benefited a great deal from digital advancements.
Digital transformation may yet become a way of life as governments invest more in technology. Japan’s society 5.0 is just one example; and having tasted and experienced what a world on its knees would look like, it’s not a far-fetched idea that most governments would want to go this route.
So, what does digital transformation seek to achieve? A society, or organization that is:
- Customer centric
- A people oriented culture
- A focus on service delivery
- Data-and-insight-driven decision making
In other words, when digital transformation happens, the entire status quo is put to the test and is indeed transformed into a new way of operating. Change happens. And when this change happens and is embraced organization-wide, it drives revenue growth and profitability.
The Role of Digital Transformation In Optimizing Sales Operations
There was a time when collecting, storing and working with data was a big challenge. However, as the evolution of AI has continued to reach new heights, organizations have found that they can leverage all their data in new and innovative ways. CRM tools are now sophisticated systems that are so highly integrative, one can hardly miss any data points (unless they aren’t paying attention).
In Sales, such disruptive technologies help out in the following ways:
- Automating administrative tasks such as meeting scheduling, forecasting and data entry The 2018 Salesforce state of sales report found that sales people only spend only 34% of their time on selling. The rest is spent on sales-related administrative tasks.
- Identifying behavioral patterns in customers, using data such as intent data or purchase data
- Keeping information centralized and available to colleagues and managers across the entire organization. This allows for closer collaboration of teams and provides all stakeholders with the necessary information they need to aid the customer journey
- Personalizing content based on a person’s position in the purchase funnel
- Making better hiring, restructuring and rewards and incentives systems for sales team.
- Suggesting the best use of a sales rep’s time for individual accounts/customers. For instance, if a lead has gone cold with your brand but is still searching other brands, a sales rep can reactivate that lead’s interest with special offers and discounts.
So, how can you know if your business’ operations are optimized? While increased productivity and better revenue results are natural consequence of streamlined business operations, we think, the hallmark of agility within an organization is quality, and, the efficiency with which this quality is delivered.
For Best Digital Transformation Results, Invest in People
Digital transformation can help you engage customers better. How? With data. When you have tech that’s powerful enough to collect massive amounts of unstructured data and then derive meaningful insights from that data, this primes your organization to deliver services to your customers in a more meaningful way.
That being said, none of these things can happen if you don’t sort out the “people” part of the equation. Employees are just as important as your technology investment when it comes to value creation and better service delivery. You must, therefore, not only make your employees an integral part of the change, but also equip them to better adapt to the organization’s new way of “thinking”.
Important questions to start you on your digital transformation journey
Your journey to digital transformation begins with understanding how technologically-versed your company is at the moment. Then, ask yourself these questions (and of course engage your teams to come up with answers):
- What technology do you have at the moment?
- What is the true potential of that technology?
- How well leveraged is that technology currently and can you push it to achieve more as is? If not, what kind of upgrades do you need and what will that cost?
- Most importantly, are you prepared for that kind of investment? Is the ROI worth it for you?
This list of questions could go on and on, but the point of it all is that by engaging in such an exercise, you get to audit your current position by revisiting your tech and processes. Only once you understand everything and appreciate its implications, you can make the right investment that will effectively change how you do business.
To conclude this article, here’s what Paige O’Neill, Sitecore’s CMO, says about digital transformation: “It’s important to keep in mind that digital transformation is not a single project or change, but an organization-wide restructure that extends to the people, the operations and the technology.”
As such, as you prepare for digital transformation in your organization, it’s important to note that the benefits outlined above aren’t just limited to sales functions, but can also be experienced in manufacturing, sourcing, human resources, among other functions.
What’s more, digital transformation can be seen and felt across multiple industries. In large scale farming for instance, AI can collect data on farm equipment being used and farming conditions such as temperature and humidity levels. This data-based approach eliminates guesswork from the farming process. Add AI to the mix and you have results such as higher quality produce and better yields.