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Digital Transformation Roadmap: Preparing for Success in a Modern Business Landscape

For SMB decision makers looking into digital transformation (DX), it can often seem like a complex and mystifying subject, inundated with buzzwords and acronyms. In its most basic form, digital transformation is, at its core, the principal of updating and modernizing your business and preparing it for the future through digital means.

Businesses often view DX with a mixture of enthusiasm and trepidation. Enthusiasm because of the immense possibilities that a company can achieve with a successful transformation. Trepidation because of the high percentage of transformations that are deemed unsuccessful, often after heavy investment into its implementation.

Coupled with a common reluctance by decision makers to change existing legacy processes—if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—digital transformation can be a difficult endeavor to plan for. At the heart of every successful DX is a comprehensive strategy for achieving it.

Here’s our overview of the steps we’ve taken to digitally transform our own business, as well as our clients’ businesses, from the high-level goals to the on-the-ground implementation process.

High-level Goals of a Digital Transformation Roadmap

There are typically four pillars to a digital transformation roadmap: improving processes through automation; evaluating business operations; improving the customer experience; and ensuring a security plan to counter cyber-attacks.

  • Automation: Improve efficiency in the workplace. This works very well when dealing with predictable transactional tasks; bots are excellent at removing human error in data entry. By automating repetitive manual tasks, employees are afforded the opportunity to focus their energies on other high-level tasks requiring a human touch.
  • Business operations: The ways digital transformation can influence the internal communications of an organization is a vital consideration of any strategy. Examples include a new and more effective digital communication channels between departments; coordinated schedules; better avenues for staff feedback. Businesses with extensive company-wide communications structures are far more likely to be higher-performing than those without.
  • Improving customer experience: A solid roadmap will place significant emphasis on delivering a better experience for customers. This is also the primary goal of many decision makers pursing DX. There are important goals here—to be connected with the customer for the entirety of the buyer’s journey and to streamline transactions and interactions between the customer and the brand (think using an app to order and pick up in-store on the way back from work).
  • Cybersecurity: Protecting tech within a business has become a pressing issue in recent years. With attackers focusing more of their time targeting unprepared SMBs than ever before, the vulnerabilities of smaller organizations have been brought into sharp focus. Decision makers are anxious to take a more proactive approach to securing their devices against threats, making it a top priority in digital transformation strategies.

Digital Transformation Roadmap

Impact’s Six-step Plan

Here at Impact, we have a tried-and-true roadmap that has helped many businesses achieve a successful strategy for transformation for their organization.

We’re proud of our 100% retention record among clients we provide managed IT services to. One of the reasons for our success is the quality of our methods in consulting and the strategies we provide and implement for SMBs.

Secure Your Network

The first step is to secure the network. With nearly half of all cyberattacks falling on smaller business, ensuring a stable network is essential before even contemplating moving forward with a digital transformation. If you’re constantly reacting to cyber threats, it is very difficult to implement a DX strategy.

This also means making sure the workplace environment is prepared and capable of handling a DX plan. Is your office adequately equipped with the right hardware and software to use the technology needed for a digital transformation? If not, then this is the stage where those requirements need to be met in order to continue to the next step.

Manage Connected Devices

Manage your network devices—for example, using analytics and tracking tools to reduce costly print usage. It’s also important to manage tech assets like collaboration tools, laptops, and phones. This can be achieved by implementing mobile device management software to control and support end user devices.

This step helps unify the workplace and devices into a cohesive system of interconnectivity—a vital component of digital transformation which benefits collaboration and communication within a business.

Optimize Processes

Optimizing the processes of an organization’s workplace is important to ensuring the long-term efficiency of the business. This will typically involve implementing the following into your business:

  • BPO: Business process optimization helps to reduce the manual work of inputting data into line-of-business (LOB) applications using tools like RPA
  • RPA: Robotic process automation can include converting paper-based processes, extracting data from various sources or taking data from one source and transferring it to another source without the need for human intervention
  • ECM: Enterprise content management includes integrating all business-critical documents into one database to support operations
  • ERP: Enterprise resource planning unifies all business processes and databases into one system for easy access for all departments. Modernizing the ERP system of an organization can have huge payoffs

Optimizing processes is a fundamental step for digital transformation. It improves efficiencies in the workplace and allows employees to focus their energies away from menial and repetitive tasks and work on projects which benefit from human application.

Business Intelligence & Analytics

It’s important to have actionable business intelligence and analytics to allow you visibility into business data. This will give you the chance to assess insights into the performance of your company.

Discovering pain points in workflows; having a better understanding of operations; analyzing big data sets. These all allow for quick and informed decision making, providing the opportunities for businesses to pinpoint and improve their processes.

This is a major part of a digital transformation plan, allowing decision makers to pull their own actionable data going forward.

Increase Productivity

Next up is increasing productivity in the workplace. This can be done in a number of ways, including:

  • Creating an intranet to improve communications within a company
  • Create custom applications for employees’ needs
  • Building out a learning management system (LMS) for organization to streamline training

These are important for a digital transformation roadmap as they provide a network for workers to communicate and learn—helping to establish a strong culture of improvement.

Improve Customer Experiences

The final step is to improve the customer experience. How can this be achieved? Businesses can use the improved capabilities from their digital transformation through:

  • Analytics: Create personalized and relevant communications through data-driven marketing
  • Transactions: Self-service portals make the buying journey easier for customers
  • Mobile apps: Platforms like Mendix can help companies digitize customer-related processes

Improving the customer’s digital interactions with the business is often cited as the number one goal of many decision makers thinking about digital transformation.

With a good DX strategy, a business will be better placed to understand customer data, which can be used to provide better service for clients.

Maintaining Your Transformation Roadmap

The implementation process is just the beginning of a digital transformation. A good roadmap strategy should mean a long-term goal. Think five years, not one. Correctly monitoring and maintaining newly installed systems as part of your DX plan should be a top priority as you look to make the most of your business’ transformation.

If you’re partnering with an MSP, be sure that they will be with you for the long haul. Your business needs a reliable and reputable partner to ensure the success of this endeavor past the implementation period and into the future.

Plan Your Roadmap for Digital Transformation Today

A solid digital transformation roadmap helps companies achieve and maintain a competitive advantage in their industry. With increased staff productivity and decreased costs—companies can enjoy higher operating capacity while delivering a superior customer experience.

Watch our digital transformation roadmap webinar, hosted by Impact CTO Frank DeGeorge, here.

Thinking it’s time to talk to someone about your company’s IT? Reach out to Impact’s Managed IT team and speak to one of our experts today!