There is no denying that we live in the digital age. Life without the internet is almost unimaginable. The generation that witnessed the change in their youth or young adult years can barely remember how they got by without Google. On a personal level, we have all made the shift to digital to some degree. So, why then are some businesses not embracing the change to the full extent?

Businesses and change

One of the main reasons businesses are not entirely moving into the digital era is because change is uncomfortable. From a business point of view, upgrading systems, transferring records and training staff to use the new digital frameworks is time-consuming and even costly. There is also the mentality of, ‘why fix what already works?’ However, in the long run, this kind of thinking can be detrimental to a business.

Businesses that don’t keep up with the changing trends risk getting left behind and swallowed by the competition. With buzzwords like cloud computing, live updates and real-time being thrown about liberally, any business that is ‘slow,’ does not stand a chance.

So, what should we do?

Well, long story short – embrace the change. In a digital landscape, it is necessary to go digital. Yes, it might be uncomfortable and time-consuming and even costly at first, but in the long run, you will drive profits.

Here are some of the advantages of going digital:

Everything is faster: With computers and smart devices doing most of the tedious tasks, your workforce can become more efficient. Planning and is quicker and more comfortable than ever, and analysis of big data can be carried out in a fraction of the time.

Lower error rate: Humans are smart, but we do have our limitations when it comes to handling large volumes of data. Other human traits like fatigue and distracting thoughts can also hamper our fundamental skills. All of these factors lead to human errors. Going digital can effectively remove all possibility of human error. Yes, a wrongly calibrated system can still cause errors, but a single point problem on a digital system is a lot easier to identify and fix.

Larger volumes of data: With the advent of the cloud, we are no longer just digital but super digital. Cloud storage has freed-up the need to have physical storage systems and servers (and reduced the dependency on internal IT support) while giving companies more storage space at a cheap rate. Plus cloud storage means that businesses can virtualise data storage, so it is easily accessed from almost any location.

Faster response time: Can you remember the last time you wrote a physical letter to a business? Neither can we. Digital systems such as chatbots help businesses instantly respond to customer queries at any time of the day or night. Live chat options also give you the freedom to have an employee address a customer concern and provide a solution almost immediately. Businesses that offer real-time solutions to customers have a definite edge over competitors that don’t.

Live updates: Social media has revolutionised advertising. Ads on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can have a far greater reach than television, radio or print ads. Social media marketing not only helps target specific audiences but also provides customers with live updates of what is going on with a company or brand. Almost every major company has its own social media pages and actively promote their products via them.

Wider access: Digital businesses can connect with existing and new audiences from anywhere in the world. Companies can have their entire team of employees work remotely. Information flows seamlessly between systems and people, and groups of people can work on a single document at the same time with version control.

Saves cost on physical presence: Think about Amazon is one of the largest stores in the world that up until quite recently did not have a physical store at all. Similarly, e-commerce has partially removed the need for physical stores, saving on infrastructure costs. Some businesses no longer need physical offices at all, giving entrepreneurs a chance to launch startups with much smaller investments than previously required.

When you look at all the potential advantages of the digital revolution, it is clear that every business should take steps to make positive change.

Tips for embracing the digital evolution

Taking a business from traditional means to a more digital approach takes considerable planning, time, and effort – but when done right, it does not have to be hard. Following some simple steps, every business should be able to make the transformation and enjoy the benefits of a digital landscape:

Budget: Before getting started, it is critical to get an idea of realistic costs for your business to implement positive change. You might have to look at getting new systems and integrations, invest in software, and potentially re-brand if your current positioning is not resonating with your on-the-pulse and informed audience. Finding the right digital partners that understand your needs and vision will be imperative.

Training: New systems means that you and your staff have to learn how to operate them. You might need to hire a professional to train the organisation, so, budget both time and money for this as well.

Migrations: Data will need to be uploaded or transferred when you adopt new digital systems for your business. Plan data transfer in a way that won’t affect your day-to-day working.

Dedicated team: For larger organisations, you might need to consider creating a dedicated tech team to manage and maintain your digital footprint. Your digital team will include specially trained individuals that can oversee all aspects of your digital systems, and can either be internal or outsourced.

Every business will face its share of hurdles in the process of change. A digital transformation process should be addressed with respect and care, but with these points in mind and with the right partners by your side, all businesses can transition and thrive. Read more here on How to Make Digital Transformation a Success.