Are You a Digital Business?
If you have ever wondered whether your business is a digital business, the answer is “Yes”! The real question is, how effectively have you accomplished this transformation and are you seeing its maximum benefits? If you are still questioning whether you qualify as a “digital business”, ask yourself this: does every one of your employees (or at least most of them) use a computer, or, if in the field, a tablet? Is your accounting kept on accounting software or are you still using a pen (or quill) to make journal entries? How about productivity software? Are you using Google Docs or Microsoft Office (or Office 365)? We bet you’re also using email. Think about how different your business would be if someone took all these things away. So, yes, your business is a digital business. Most businesses are. Even if you live in a rural area, we will bet that your local blacksmith has a website and uses QuickBooks.
What makes you a digital business is that you are providing to your employees a bunch of technology-based solutions, applications, and various other tools to empower them and make them more productive in their jobs. And since most people would prefer to be productive, it also makes them happier and more engaged in their work. So, the question really isn’t whether or not you are a digital business, the question is, are you using the digitization available for the current workplace to your best advantage? The reality is, virtually every company in the USA has gone through a digital transformation that we might call “Phase 1”. The thing is, if that’s Phase 1, then “Phase 2” is here and companies that take advantage of the empowering developments available to them are way ahead of their competition.
Digitization: Phase 1 and Phase 2
Why is Phase 2 so important? All businesses face challenges. In today’s workplace, some of your challenges may be:
- A waning trust in leadership caused by a lack of direction in how to accomplish business goals.
- Employees losing interest and becoming disengaged and, therefore, becoming less productive.
- Individual employees becoming almost irreplaceable because vital company information exists only inside their heads.
- Delays in project completions because teams spend more time in meetings talking about projects than being able to work on them.
Now go back and reread each of the above problems, and while doing so, think about this word: Communication. One of today’s key business communications tools is an intranet. But today’s high-end intranet is not the same as yesterday’s intranet. The old intranet was created for two purposes:
1: A storehouse of company information, the maintenance of which required almost constant support from an IT services team that was likely already stretched thin.
2: A corporate “news channel” that was used to keep employees and other constituents up-to-date on company strategies, achievements, operations, and policies, usually with little or no input from anyone not on the management team.
The result was that, all too often, interest in this company vehicle started at a moderate level, andheaded straight down from there.
According to Gartner Research, 87% of business executives have set digitizing their businesses as the top priority in their organizations’ growth strategies. That said, they also report that 66% of executives are concerned that their companies won’t properly accomplish this, which will make them less competitive. They also find that failing to digitize properly makes the recruitment of top-level younger employees more difficult as millennials “love all things digital”. While millennials are not the only ones who download apps to their ubiquitous smartphones, the fact that there were an estimated 197,000,000,000 mobile phone app downloads just in 2017 alone, with an expected 352,900,000,000 annually by 2021, should give you an idea into just how digitized our society has become.