Digital Transformation is a term that is widely used today, & probably means different things to different people. For us at gutowski & milner, we would define it as the integration of digital processes, systems & software into the organisation’s functions, thereby moving from an analogue (manual) paper-based system to that of a digital (automated) system.
The reasons for pursuing such a change are multiple & include:
- Improved efficiency, even taking into consideration the upfront investment & employee training costs, (which can be written off below the EFO line), the move to such systems will make the organisation more efficient, enabling substantial employee productivity gains.
- Timely & accurate management decision making is substantially improved, with “live” data available, as well as the ability to zoom down to micro & pan out to macro views. Multiple “what if scenarios” can easily be run, again improving decision making visibility.
- Vastly improved “live” visibility of all key indicators for both clients, stakeholders & management alike.
- Scalability – the organisation becomes less reliant on individual skills, & enabling flexibility to scale up or down, as needed by the business.
- Employee enrichment is improved, by less time spent on the simple tasks (eg, inputting data), with more time available for the qualitative role elements. Also, the business will be seen as investing in the employees.
Examples of Digital Transformation:
The following are examples of driving digitalisation in the business:
- Upgrading to a modern ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, that enables the business to automate & connect the key business functions such as Finance, Supply Chain, Operations, Order Processing, price control, Inventory Management & Reporting etc.
- Creation of a modern web site that has order processing facilities.
- Creation of Intranet (for all key internal communication) & extranet (for key external communication) portals.
Of course, like many of the subjects that we have discussed in this series of blogs, this is not a “silver bullet” to success, & there are risks that need to be carefully considered / mitigated, typically these being:
Before embarking on such a programme of Digital Transformation, you should (a) carefully evaluate the likely impact & (b) prepare the organisation accordingly for the change. Eg, we have seen clients who completely underestimated the effect on their team’s morale, when, implementing a new ERP system, when they were unable to generate customer invoices in the first few days of switching on their new system.
Not all employees will be able to make this transformation journey. The sad reality is that by implementing change from a manual (paper driven) culture to that of a fully-fledged digital one, the tasks (& therefore required skill base) of your teams will also fundamentally change. Not everyone will thrive in the new environment of pushing up productivity & changing functions / roles.
As with implementing any major change, it is likely that there will be teething issues in the first few weeks after implementation. We know of horror stories of companies calling their customers to confirm details of the shipments that they have made, or substantial invoicing errors.
Preparation, preparation & more preparation!
To minimise the potential disruption to the on-going business, we strongly recommend that the organisation pulls together a task force with clear authority to complete the implementation process, & then subsequently builds a realistic project plan for implementation.
Regular updates / progress reports need to be made, where all parties involved in the programme have a platform to voice their concerns / views. Adjustments to the plan need to be then made accordingly. Realistic time frames only please!
In summary, Digital Transformation is not in our view a kind of “optional extra” that the business may want to employ at some stage in the future. This is for the here & now, & without implementing such a cultural change, your business will be at a disadvantage from more agile, faster moving, more efficient competitors. So, the clock is ticking……
Please contact us at https://www.gutowskiandmilner.com/contact-us/ for an initial chat regarding this or indeed any other service that we offer.