Andy Pratt is Business Development Manager at Business Computer Projects, who have developed Oporteo, the ecommerce and digital services platform offering industry-specific functionality to help wholesalers survive and thrive in today’s fast-paced digital world. Andy looks at the issues you need to address in making the decision to go digital.
For many businesses, embarking on a digital transformation is a great unknown. It is often assumed it’s just implementing new technology or taking part in the latest digital trend. However, digital transformation is a major and complicated undertaking that many businesses fail to account for.
A global survey from McKinsey has shown that businesses undertaking digitisation are making little progress, which suggests digital projects are stalling due to unexpected problems.
These problems often emerge because businesses rush into digital projects without careful consideration. They are not connected to wider business objectives, and so are left in silos, which ultimately fail to deliver the expected results.
To overcome this, it is crucial businesses develop a clear and well thought out digital transformation strategy that aligns with their long-term objectives. This will ensure that the expected ROI from all digital initiatives is met.
The first step is to review the internal processes. This will give businesses a better understanding of the inefficiencies that need fixing and the platforms required to do so. Unfortunately, research shows that 80% of people responsible for digital transformations fail to do this.
This results in costly and timeconsuming initiatives that businesses do not necessarily need to undertake. Once this initial review is complete, businesses will have a better understanding of what needs to be achieved.
It’s now time to appoint a solutions partner that can provide ongoing strategic support to realise these objectives. Many businesses underestimate the disruptions and behavioural changes required for digital transformation, so it’s important to get advice from a specialist with the experience and expertise you may not have in-house.
A solutions partner will be able to guide you through the process of what digital initiatives need to be implemented, how and when. They can also provide advice on what resources will be required, timescales, and any design elements to ensure the transformation supports the brand strategy. By appointing a strategic partner, businesses will ensure their digital transformation runs more smoothly and hopefully avoids the many hurdles most businesses face. Working with BCP, we will help you address the following:
Underestimating how long it takes to implement digital transformation
Three or five year business plans can delay a digital transformation because technology changes. Instead, businesses should pursue a digital transformation as an individual initiative. Start by reviewing your current web, marketing, and mobile platforms, then prioritise missing projects and key areas for improvement based on your goals.
Discovering integration issues down the line
Most people consider data connectivity and integration as critical. However, if there are any issues, it can severely impact the progress of any digital initiative. It is important to shop around to find a suitable supplier and platform that helps, not hinders your digital transformation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure their solutions fit with your existing systems and processes.
Lack of buy-in or interest from management
Management really need to buy-into a digital transformation for it to be successful. This means you need to demonstrate the long term benefits and how they will help the business stay innovative. It’s important management understands that digital transformation is not a one-time investment in new technology, but a journey. It is long term, continuous and needs to be embedded and ingrained into the business culture.
Miscommunication and dealing with multiple suppliers
The number of additional suppliers you need to deal with will depend on the breadth of your digital transformation and your budget. It is advisable to research suppliers who can provide a package which includes a whole range of digital services, from strategy and implementation and ongoing digital marketing services.
Unexpected costs taking you over budget
The initial costs of a digital transformations can be hefty, depending on the extent of your technology investments. Remember, digital platforms provide significant and game changing returns on investment which means there are many opportunities to increase revenue and reduce costs in the long term.