Digital Transformation For Small Businesses

Your alarm goes off. Automatically, your hand reaches out for your smartphone, to shut it up. Begrudgingly, you muster every muscle in your body up, to a vertical stance and proceed with your daily routine. Perhaps you read the news on your phone on the commute to work, check up on social media. Then you go to work, sit down on your chair, and open the dreaded Windows 7 interface. Even worse, you open Internet Explorer.

In this day and age when self-driving cars and artificial intelligence are getting closer and closer to being “human”, it is surprising to see how many companies are struggling with, or resisting to digital change. The Economist writes that only 10% of companies describe themselves as “fully digital”, while 90% of CEOs believe that digital will have a major impact on their industry. So what’s stopping these large corporations? The correct answer, will probably be the resistance of change. Humans, naturally, are scared of change. Change means that some people will be made redundant, it means that you will have to learn new technologies and be out of your comfort zone.

The best way to combat big change is to take it one step at a time. These are three simple steps to take to digitally transforming your organisation.

1. Change the way you communicate with each other.

Long e-mail threads with every person on your team CC’d in, suck. In a large corporation, the only way you can really reach someone that is 2 floors above you, is to either walk up to them, or e-mail. If everyone is on a smartphone, sending instant messages to each other, why are we not doing the same at work? Make it fun, make it personal. Team messaging apps like Slack or Yammer or HipChat are a great way for teams to not only collaborate more efficiently than ever before and it opens a new way for people to communicate with each other, in a more intimate manner.

Of course, e-mails are still appropriate and preferred for certain situations. But maybe not for a quick question.

2. Digitise your projects.

Many free project management tools are available on the web, so why not use them to your advantage? Project management tools are traditionally chunky and ugly to look at it. It is demotivating and no one wants to voluntarily log in! Get everyone on the same page by moving your team tasks to an online platform, such as Trello, JIRA or Asana. The advantages of these type of platforms is that they are intuitive to use, they have social aspects and most of the time, they have analytics on how well you are performing.

From a management’s perspective, it is an essential tool to gain transparency and real-time updates on what everyone is working on. It will increase accountability, productivity and reduces miscommunication between employees that can often occur if tasks are delegated via e-mail or in person.

3. Any task that is repeatable, automate them.

It is time to use your employees for what they are best at. Completing repetitive and monotonous tasks is not one of them! The human brain is great for analysing and solving complex problems. Use your team to complete high value tasks and leave the repeatable tasks to computers.

If there is a pattern to the task, it is most likely that the computer can automate them. For example, creating a sales pipeline that is automated is possible with any customer management relationship tool (HubSpot, PipeDrive and AgileCRM to name a few). Just create templates, input the customer’s details and you can shoot off e-mails automatically. It will not only save time, make your employees more productive, but also make them happier because they can exercise their brain for something more interesting.

However, there is no replacement for human interaction.

Humans are social animals. Whether you are an introvert or extravert, it is important to get recognition for your work and connect with others. While digital transformation is crucial to any business in a world that is going beyond digital, it is equally as important to speak to your employees, organise social events to celebrate big or small wins or have in-person meetings.

The biggest challenge is to find the perfect balance, something we discuss in our seminars and corporate training sessions at Innov8. Leave us a comment or contact us to understand more about transforming your business.