By Maeson Maherry, COO at Ascertia
Companies consider digital transformation for many reasons. Some are close to digitising their entire operation after a series of connected projects, while others are just starting their journey.
So, what does digital transformation mean to businesses today, and why is getting it right so important for long-term success?
Ascertia COO, Maeson Maherry, explores how enterprises can transform their operation to achieve their business goals.
What is digital transformation?
Understanding what transformation means to your business can be challenging due to the constantly shifting nature of your requirements.
In the early days of digitisation, this could be digitising paper-based processes and documents or adopting a new digital workflow within HR. This is the ideal first step for any company looking to digitally transform its business.
Fast forward to today, digital transformation has dramatically impacted business operations and strategic planning. The remote working boom of recent years has forced a rapid turnaround in supporting hybrid working environments and an uncoupling of work from a fixed location.
Digital transformation is both the process and the key to creating secure, productive workplaces.
An example of digitalisation
Organisations across the globe are already experiencing the benefits. Higher productivity, more efficient workflows, enhanced digital trust, lower operating costs. These happen when digital transformation is done right.
It’s important to note that digital transformation can emerge differently depending on the business. The rise of remote teams produces a healthier work-life balance for many and faster decision-making.
Elsewhere, with data and privacy regulations tightening online, it’s vital that businesses can adhere to strict compliance requirements without disrupting operations.
Implementing digitised processes can help to facilitate smooth digital workflows. Esignatures are an example, as are cloud-based system integrations.
Implementing a digital transformation strategy
Crafting a successful transformation plan impacts multiple levels of a business such as team structure, HR processes and leadership.
An effective strategy starts with a clear vision and understanding of the business objectives, to identify and target critical technology gaps.
Identify technology gaps in the business
Establishing the technology that requires refreshing is the ideal starting point. Below are some key areas businesses should consider when planning.
Are you still putting pen to paper to sign contracts?
Electronic signatures can save you more than just ink – they can dramatically accelerate your business transformation strategy, strengthen collaboration, and simplify departmental processes.
High-trust remote signing solutions are transforming how legal agreements are signed. In recent years, this has significantly pushed digital transformation initiatives forward.
More and more companies are employing a zero trust approach to cybersecurity, for which users, systems and devices require constant verification to access networks.
Any data you relay needs to be proven trustworthy before you do it – verify before you trust. This includes documents, data, transactions, and audit trails, which are all open to alteration or forgery.
This is important for businesses to protect their data as they employ hybrid and remote working in an increasingly digital world.
A fundamental aspect of zero trust networks is utilising a secure method for identity verification – Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is incredibly useful in this regard. PKI is integral for the authentication and encryption involved in zero trust architecture, providing automated tools to issue, revoke and replace certificates efficiently. The extension of this into data integrity is to digitally sign and timestamp every transaction and audit trail, guaranteeing authenticity which can be verified before you or other parties rely on the information in the future.
Cybersecurity is a foundational step in digital transformation; outsourcing your need for zero trust and PKI infrastructure to a trusted partner will mitigate the resource required to manage this internally.
Cloud solutions are the bedrock of digital transformation plans, helping to reduce business costs and make teams significantly more productive.
There are various cloud models to consider:
- Software as a Service (SaaS): SaaS solutions are primarily third-party services delivered via the internet.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): With IaaS, customers only pay for the infrastructure their businesses use.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): PaaS gives organisations the hardware and software they need to undergo a digital transformation.
Choosing the right cloud infrastructure will impact all aspects of your transformation strategy. Security, cost efficiency, scalability and many more operational factors are affected by how the cloud is implemented in your business.
Educate and equip your workforce
Digital innovations play a vital role, but they shouldn’t subtract focus from any business’s most vital asset: the people.
From now on, a successful business likely relies on the perfect blend of digital and people together. When outlining a digital transformation strategy, it’s crucial to educate your teams on the new tools in your tech stack.
Found a new tool for accounting to automate invoicing processes? Host a session with your team to explain the tool to equip them with the knowledge needed to succeed.
Grow your employees’ skills on how to have productive video conferencing meetings to ensure they feel confident, mimicking what’s natural during in-person meetings.
A wealth of guides and educational services are available to share internally when integrating new technology. Bring people along on your business transformation; the results will speak for themselves.
Where is digital transformation heading?
A report by IDC predicts global spending on digital transformation technologies will reach $3.4 trillion. However, investing in new systems won’t necessarily transform a business – sometimes, it could waste resources. Any change to your technology stack should be carefully implemented to avoid damaging your business processes that do work.
Instead of overloading your existing team, build a dedicated digital transformation team full of departmental champions with senior buy-in.
This isn’t a step you need to take early in the process, but it should alleviate the pressure of those early steps. Having a dedicated team provides direction and organisation in this journey towards successful digital transformation.
Start small, focus on workflows that require immediate improvement, and expand from there.