As businesses around the world grapple with the immediate effects of COVID-19, the medium-to-long term impact of the virus is still unclear. While the prevailing hope is for things to return to normal, there are clear indications that the way companies do business is changing – fast.
‘Digitalization’ is nothing new, yet the rate at which companies are now undergoing digital transformations is unprecedented. As customer and employee engagement models shift online, the importance of positioning your organization for success now, as well as post-crisis, is paramount.
Whether you choose to purchase turn-key software, outsource a custom-built solution or develop one in-house, here are 3 things your company needs to consider before going ahead with its own digital transformation.
Simply put: can your company effectively translate its current workflow to a digital platform?
Be prepared to take stock of all internal and external processes, including employee and customer communication methods; customer and vendor contact management; individual employee roles and responsibilities; and important documents and forms that will ultimately need to be digitized. A successful digital transformation requires companies to streamline their data systems in order to make the transition as seamless and hassle-free as possible.
It’s also worth noting that, whichever digital solution your company does decide on, it should be one that is easily accessible, offers great support, and is capable of scaling with your business. Web-based solutions that provide its customers with regular maintenance and upgrades is your best bet, otherwise, you’ll be spending company dollars on costly upgrades and extended downtime trying to fit square pegs into round holes.
A digital transformation leaves no rock unturned, and no internal experience untouched. Your entire company plays a part in developing a working solution, with the success of the project hinging upon your team's collective ability to stay the course. The benefits of digitalization – increased efficiency, improved strategic planning, long-distance collaboration – are lost unless the entire company can align itself towards a singular goal.
Opting to develop an in-house software solution will ensure consistent involvement for your entire team, allowing you to adjust the project on the fly in order to accommodate specific needs. Yet the amount of time and money lost to staff dismissal is enough to make one reconsider. If your company chooses to outsource a solution or purchase turn-key software, the development time will be greatly reduced, however, the end-product relies on your company’s ability to communicate its needs, as well as the needs of its customers, effectively.
Timeline For Deliverables
COVID-19 has accelerated the need for companies to go digital, especially those deemed essential. The logistics of implementing a digital solution however, under both time and economic constraints, can be overwhelming for businesses.
‘How’ and ‘when’ a solution can be implemented is entirely different from ‘what’ the solution is supposed to include. Turn-key software is affordable and can deliver immediate results, but it’s limited in terms of customization and scalability. Choosing to outsource or build your own solution in-house allows for more personalization, but expect to spend more time and money on the project.
Another issue that most businesses overlook during this entire process, is the time it takes to onboard employees. Technological competence varies between individuals, and if your company isn’t accustomed to using technology in the first place, then expect a steep learning curve and plan accordingly. If this is the case for your company, it might be wise to research a solution that offers stellar technical support on top of easy-to-use features.
With so many options available to companies looking to go digital, it’s important they weigh the pros and cons of each one before making a final decision. Businesses that can make the transition quickly and efficiently will undoubtedly keep their company operating smoothly – now, and well into the future. It's also important for your company to maintain a customer-centric lens focused on the project throughout its entirety. The internal experience of your employees will undoubtedly shape the customer's experience in the end.
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