The COVID-19 pandemic appeared as a once-in-a-century global public health crisis. COVID-19 lockdowns and containment measures have pushed this world towards catastrophic economic, health, and social crises.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are more vulnerable to the catastrophic effects caused by COVID-19 as most mid-sized businesses face severe revenue loss and don’t have enough cash reserves to meet their deadlines. Other containment measures like border control and social distancing have created a supply-demand gap due to limited consumer access to physical marketplaces.
The ongoing crisis is casting a furious impact on the global economy. Mid Sized businesses account for 90% of all business activities, making SMEs the incubators for innovation that can develop into larger enterprises and become a driver of GDP and productivity growth.
Digital transformation fundamentally changes how businesses operate and adds value to customers’ lives by integrating digital technology into all key business areas. The recent shift in world affairs amid COVID-19 has restricted businesses from adopting these changes and acting accordingly. We are now seeing famous brands changing their priorities and business process by improving customer experience (CX) and implementing digital transformation strategies.
Mid Sized businesses have adapted to the contemporary crisis through innovations and advancements such as sharing ideas and ensuring support through a digital medium.
As far as the contemporary scenario is concerned, the world is experiencing a rapid transition towards a digital transformation. It has the potential to increase innovation, enhance productivity and improve efficiency. The pandemic has catalyzed digital transformation because of the downfall of traditional business routines in many countries and pushing consumers to engage with companies on a digital medium.
Digital Transformation Strategy for Mid-Size Businesses
Digital transformation is crucial for businesses of any size to stay updated in a competitive market. One cannot simply ignore the benefits of integrating the right technologies in the business model. It helps improve efficiency, cost-cutting, increase productivity, better customer experience, and ultimately, more profit.
According to research, 42% of SMBs are gearing up for digital transformation and integrating digital technology in their core business models. For now, almost 80% of SMBs have already deployed some digital transformation in their business model.
Whether you’re just gearing up or want to improve your existing digital transformation plan, a smart strategy and planning can always help you get the most out of the investment.
Keys Areas to Successfully Integrate Digital Tech In Midsize Businesses
People think that by making digital transformation complicated, they can make it work for them more efficiently, but that’s not the case. You can break down the complex implementation structure into subunits and stay focused on simple initiatives to extract the highest Return on Investment (ROI). It’s also important to ensure that employees and the upper hierarchy are aligned with the plan.
Here are six key areas to focus on in your small business’s digital transformation strategy:
Ensure Collaboration & Remove Barriers
Almost all digital transformation initiatives are put into action to improve operational efficiency across the entire business model and create a customer-centric facility. In business, organizational silos refer to business divisions that work independently and avoid sharing information or overlapping. By breaking silos and ensuring that all departments can collaborate effectively is the key to successful digital transformation.
It’s important to call all stakeholders on board to contribute collectively to the bigger cause and transformation initiatives. No doubt, digital transformation can’t be dealt with as an isolated project.
There are several ways to ensure collaboration and connectivity among all internal departments. For example, the budget for a digital transformation should not just come out of the IT budget. Instead, all Business departments and units that can enjoy the benefit from the project should contribute as well.
Consider a digital eCommerce platform is responsible for a poor user experience that’s damaging sales. Marketing and sales departments benefit directly from a better eCommerce experience. They should also take part in budget allocation and be involved with the development of the platform.
AI, Data Science and Machine Learning
Data is the main driver of precise and accurate business decisions. You need to focus on integrating such technologies in your business model that allow your team to extract valuable insights from various datasets. Employees can use these insights to enhance productivity which in turn improves growth.
Valuable patterns and insights hidden in the vastness of data can help you better acknowledge what customers, partners, and employees want so that you can design the most relevant products, roadmaps, and processes to boost sales and unlock the full potential of your business.
However, as datasets are getting more complex, it’s becoming more difficult for small businesses to use them effectively. But due to the recent advancement in AI and machine learning algorithms, you can easily deal with huge and complex datasets using different processing tools. These modern algorithms and tools can extract valuable insights from data and improve the decision-making process.
In addition, AI-based technologies, such as machine learning and deep learning, are specifically set up to process and analyze many complex and diverse datasets. Investing in these state-of-the-art technologies can assist you in making effective data-driven predictions models for a rational decision-making process.
Simultaneous Integration of Business Divisions
Some businesses want to adopt digital transformation to streamline their operations, automate workflows, connect, boost efficiency, and improve the CX. You must make all your business systems communicate with each other in real-time.
When you bring your diverse business models such as finance, eCommerce, and customer care to the same platform, you turn them into interdependent platforms. It enables you to break down internal silos, improve collaboration and connectivity across departments.
Cloud technology makes it much easier for small companies to integrate various software applications making it easier to automate workflow and manage different business functions simultaneously.
For instance, the ability to synchronize data sharing among two or more business divisions eliminates the risk of data redundancy, letting you improve efficiency and eliminate errors.
Involve Everyone From Top To Bottom
A successful digital transformation demands a firm foundational basis of healthy corporate culture in the company. Getting everyone on board requires a coordinated effort at all levels, including synchronization at the top, agility in the middle, and adaptability at the bottom.
It’s also crucial to give attention to what your employees think of the upcoming technology, as many people feel that their job role is at risk due to the introduction of technology and automation. 27% of SMB owners face resistance from their frontline employees in digital transformation drive.
To curb this issue, educate your employees on the perks of digital transformation. For instance, arrange a workshop session about how digital tools can assist them in increasing their productivity while saving time and energy. By arranging such training sessions for your employees, you can let them feel empowered and confident in the technologies effectively and achieve their goals.
You probably don’t have enough budget and time to hire an entire IT team as a small business. Outsourcing is the solution to this problem. To get your hands on desired technology, outsource your IT project to maximize your resources. It allows you to focus your budget on core business areas that have the greatest impact on your operations and productivity.
Additionally, small businesses have to deal with unique challenges and need a box IT strategy compared to larger organizations. Search for technology outsourcing partners, vendors, and consultants that have expertise in working with small or midsize businesses.
Choose a service provider who recommends budget-friendly solutions that are compatible with your existing IT infrastructure. They must be capable and collaborative enough to identify key areas that can produce the highest ROI. It should also provide the necessary onboarding and training so your employees can easily adapt to the new technology.
The most effective technology doesn’t need to be complex or expensive. Be aware of the outsourcing vendors who try to manipulate you to opt for costly solutions without explaining why you need such a solution and how it can help meet specific business goals.
Make A Right Choice
It demands dedication and a lot of energy to integrate every new technology that promises success with the parallel probability and harsh reality of making the wrong choice that can consume your IT budget without much to return for.
Before opting from which digital initiative to implement, make your objectives and vision clear. Identify key areas that will produce the most fruitful outcomes, such as customer experience (CX), employee engagement, data analytics, automated workflow & business operation, and cloud computing.
Many midsize or small businesses can produce the highest ROI by using simple technologies to automate time & energy-consuming repetitive manual tasks. In reality, complex technologies built for giant organizations could even push more confusion and negatively impact productivity.
For now, stay focused on how to implement digital transformation to make existing processes simpler and easier. Simple methodologies with high impact are ideal for small or mid-sized companies. For example, predictive analytics optimizes online ad spend and enables you to cut costs by limiting an impartial marketing budget and increasing your sales without changing all the existing key processes of your organization.
Launching a digital transformation drive is not that simple as most people think. Still, with smart planning, prioritization, collaboration, and employee training, you can unleash the power of technology for the greater good of your business. Workflow automation for small businesses can boost productivity, cut costs, improve the CX, and allow your business to grow cost-effectively.
It’s vital to design your digital transformation strategy following your company’s objective by establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that showcase your business goal. You can then efficiently track metrics that matter and improve your strategies to boost ROI.