Why every business in Northern Ireland, and beyond, must ensure that they are in full digital health to embrace the headwinds ahead and why embracing change may prove to be the catalyst for a fresh, innovative approach to growth and greater profitability.
As politics and the economy continue to throw up uncertainty, regular dilemmas and real causes for concern, businesses in Northern Ireland continue to prove themselves resilient, ambitious and willing to adapt.
Despite the Brexit turmoil and investment conundrum, local businesses haven’t faltered from focusing on the basics – and that includes applying resources to implementing a digital transformation strategy that means a move to the ‘cloud’. Without it, few businesses can expect to survive the headwinds ahead.
Though many have already deployed a full-scale overhaul of their telecommunications and ICT functions and are already enjoying the cost-saving, flexibility and security benefits aligned, there are still a few who have yet to dip their toes in the water.
Attracted by the fast-growing range of cloud-based software products which are revolutionising age-old businesses processes and customer interactions, some are also starting to realise just how essential access to greater storage capacity is in this new digital world – and are already worrying about when their current storage capacity might just run out.
A decade ago, both hard and software were fully contained on your own computer. Now, using cloud computing, you can access your data anytime, anywhere. From accounting applications, databases, email and file services, everything is possible.
Whether your journey to digital transformation is already well advanced, or it’s only something you’re beginning to consider, it’s important to know what all this really means. Critically, it’s about understanding the shift in customer behaviour towards digital. Embracing digital strategies that make it easier for customers to interact with you, no matter where or when.
An up-to-date digital transformation strategy should be part of your full business planning – it’s your roadmap for how you will use digital technologies to enhance your business processes, improve productivity, cut costs and increase profitability, allowing you to keep up with your competitors.
In a fast-paced digital age, it’s vitally important that companies and organisations must change how they think, how they interact with customers, partners, and suppliers, and how the business works inside.
Implementation of the UK government’s Digital Transformation Strategy is already well advanced, so there’s every reason for companies here to start – or advance – their own digital journey.
So, what should you be doing? From our experience, companies who have already implemented the following, are ahead of the game, and their competitors.
- Create a clear vision: Know who and what you want to be and focus on the end goal. Focus on the experiences you want to create for customers and staff. Are you an innovator or a follower?
- Take back control:Developing a digital transformation strategy for your business involves everyone. Consider the talent you have and formulate your best minds to ensure a joined up, cohesive and collaborative approach.
- Embrace a sense of urgency:Five-year plans are great, but the pace of change in technology is moving much faster. Consider what you can achieve quickly, setting the groundwork for a longer programme of activity which you can review, amend and continually evolve.
- Set goals:Define key milestones and timelines to achieve them. These will depend on the opportunities and challenge you face and your business model.
- Customer first:With the breadth of new and exciting technologies, it is easy to overlook the importance of learning about your customer’s expectations. Choose technology that will enhance your customer’s user journey.
- Be brave:Adopting new ways of working can be challenging, but it is exciting. Be prepared to take risks and try new approaches. Hire capable talent that can propel your digital journey.
- Choose a good partner:The final factor that makes a big difference to successful digital transformation is the selection of the right technology partner – who can drive the process forward, and to scale. A good partner will demonstrate how technology transformation can save you money while setting your business on a new path of growth and innovation.