Digital Transformation: A 5-Stage Guide for Small Businesses

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship Startup Advice / July 8, 2021

When it comes to digital transformation, business leaders all over the world now agree. No one should have a goal of creating an IT infrastructure for their company “once and for all.”

It’s never about making your business merely reach from point A to point B. Digital transformation focuses more on accommodating new technologies continuously and creating space for more powerful customer interactions, branding maneuvers, employee management, and expertise-driven thought leadership.

For small and local businesses with less exposure to digitization and/or lack of resources to embrace digital infrastructure, taking advantage of this transformation remains challenging. Digital transformation in the context of modern businesses demands continuous evolution towards more sophistication. It needs a comprehensive and highly business-specific digitization strategy as well.

Source: Gartner

As the situation stands, rapid digital transformation is continuing to take place all over the globe. According to a Statista report, global spending on digital transformation from 2017 to 2024 rose from $600 million to $2,39 trillion in volume. Clearly, digital transformation represents a future that no company can sidestep and remain competitive.

As a small business brand with limited exposure and scope, you want to know the ways to go about digital transformation. Listed below are the five key stages to consider.

1. Come up with a meticulous strategy for digital transformation.

According to Constellation Research, a whopping 77% of CIOs across organizations consider digital transformation the most important priority in their list of things to focus on this year. However, simply prioritizing digital transformation is not enough. It requires a comprehensive entrepreneurial strategy as well.

Three critical steps for developing a digital transformation strategy.

  • First, managers and CEOs need to carry out a comprehensive evaluation of their business and where the present state of digitization stands. They also need to evaluate whether the culture of the company stands receptive and accommodating to the transformation brought by digital tools, business applications, process automation, IT infrastructure, and gadgets.
  • The second most important step is to sync business objectives with the latest technologies and tech trends that are shaping the digital transformation. This is when a business needs to measure how the new technologies can accelerate business growth and ensure more customer satisfaction.
  • The last part of the digital transformation strategy is to accommodate both established practices and software solutions alongside new tools and technologies with a holistic and accommodating approach. Instead of commanding everyone to opt for business process automation tools, it’s important to facilitate a moderately paced, consistent, and well-grounded adoption.

2. Evaluate the impact of digital transformation on customers and the workforce.

The focus for any business is likely to rest on how customers perceive, react, and resonate with changes. Any digital transformation should insist primarily on ensuring a better customer experience.

Customers these days decide on their purchases only after being convinced about brand personality and brand voice. Digital transformation should be able to orient the brand with customer preferences. For example, when using a chatbot for customer support, a brand for teens should boast a bit of personality. In sound, appearance, and choice of words, the company’s voice should resonate with its young audience.

In this respect, we shouldn’t forget the evolving role played by data in enhancing the customer experience. Getting customer feedback and accessing data-driven insights about customers is extremely easy now. Generating business leads and nurturing the leads to business conversion also became a lot easier. The new technologies, tools, and IT infrastructure used for digital transformation should utilize data-driven insights to the fullest extent.

3. Stay ahead of the latest trends in technology.

One important question you should always ask is whether you as a business brand want to be a trendsetter or just a follower of trends.

True, while embracing digital transformation you can also emerge as a thought leader and stay ahead of the evolving trends by adopting the latest technology. Just think of the early mobile commerce apps or video streaming platforms that came up with unique digital solutions well ahead of other brands.

Several powerful technologies are still going through slow and cautious adoption by enterprises. Blockchain database technology or machine learning algorithms remain limited to large enterprise apps. According to an IDC report, more than 90% of startup app ideas across enterprises will utilize AI technology for business process automation or sales communication by the year 2025. Your digital transformation can only help you to stay ahead of the competition thanks to these technologies.

4. Prioritize neat and small teams, faster iteration, and cloud support.

There are instances when large developer teams with their monolithic processes take too much time for every development need, including project validation and requirement gathering. On the other hand, apps built involving such inter-dependencies cannot remain flexible. They’re slow to accommodate new feature requirements and market demands.

Neat and small developer teams ensure faster iterations. They do away with many dependencies that pull down the efficiency and ease of maintenance for an app project. On top of that, development helps apps get built faster and more accurately as your well-connected developers take ownership and divvy up responsibilities. 

5. Choose the proper ecosystem, scale, and APIs.

Finally, for digital transformation, you need to choose the right tools. These decisions include your tech stack, development environment, tools, and APIs that push growth where it is needed. APIs sit at the core of modern, cloud-first application architecture. They play a particularly large role in offering your enterprise advanced technologies. This is primarily due to their modularity and flexible approach to development. APIs help to present data and app features easier while maintaining scalability and modularity in all contexts.

As APIs are increasingly becoming subject to open-source accessibility, they are often shared by numerous enterprises for modular development approaches. These APIs representing different types of features and functions for various needs ensure easy access to different markets. In the digital transformation of modern enterprises, the scalable technology stack and flexible APIs will play an important role.

When it comes to ecosystems, mobile platforms such as iOS and Android are already the forerunners. But multi-cloud platforms are increasingly getting popular as highly scalable, flexibly managed, and priced ecosystems with unlimited possibilities.

Maintaining Agility Will Require Tossing Aside a ‘Finish Line’ Mentality

Last but not least consideration is maintaining agility.

Creating solutions and catering to customers with digitized solutions and services must remain flexible. Speed and performance are crucial determinants for customer satisfaction and engagement. Your digital transformation cannot undermine and underplay agility. It should stay on top of the list of priorities.

About The Author

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Tuhin Bhatt is one of the co-founders of Intelivita, a digital transformation place to hire dedicated mobile app developers. Tuhin is regarded in the industry as a powerhouse of unique and best app ideas that shaped award-winning app projects across iOS, Android, web, desktop, and game console platforms. He usually writes on cutting-edge technologies, future-ready development practices, eye-opening leadership principles, and trending entrepreneurial skills.

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