When you think about technology, do you ever feel like the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass”? Imagine the scene where Alice and the Queen are running as fast as they can and despite their efforts, they remain stuck in the same place.
Is technology a lot like that for you? Does It seem as if you are falling behind? Let’s face it, digitalization is faced paced. And as technology changes, we are forced to adapt or avoid that inevitable change. Entrepreneurs, however, find themselves out of business if they do not keep up. So, let’s explore what digitalization means for your organization.
Digitalization vs Digitization
First, did you know digitalization and digitization are related but different processes? The two sound very similar but are often confused.
In short, digitalization is a broader transformative and dynamic process. Digitization is about transformation. The focus of this is on tangible things. Scanning paper records and keeping them as PDFs is digitization. Shifting your snail mail marketing program to email is digitalization.
Digitalization is also occasionally called digital transformation. The main distinction is that digital transformation is overarching. It is something that organizations incorporate into their vision statements and company culture.
Digital transformation focuses on an organization’s comprehensive metamorphosis into something more technologically driven. Digitalization, on the other hand, is the steps you take to complete your digital transformation. It is the new projects and processes that allow you to be more operationally effective.
While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, focusing on digitalization as defined in the next section will help you become better aware of the different uses of these terms.
At its heart, digitalization is about using digital technology to modernize your business model.
Technology encompasses a wide range of applications, tools and services, all of which are likely to be useful to your organization. Modernization, however, is relative.
Let’s cut right to the core. Business models are challenging to change. Sometimes it’s hard to change a speeding locomotive. And your organization exists because your business model has been successful so far, right? But as you’ve likely heard, what got you here won’t get you there. Successive wins often lead to too much stability, comfort and taking things for granted.
Ever catch yourself being set in your ways? This can be detrimental in top competitive markets and highly changing environments. When you become aware of it, It’s time to make a change.
How Digitalization Can Help You
With all of the questions and uncertainty in the world, you may wonder if digitalization is even worth it. Let me assure you, overcoming any frustration and expenses stemming from new technology, is worth it, unequivocally.
Your competitors are all doing it. And if you want to keep up with them, at some point, you’ll have to start digitizing your organization too.
If that’s not reason enough, digitalization opens up new growth opportunities for your organization. It also transforms your ability to reach and interact with current and future clients.
Right now, your market might consist of people within a 50-mile radius from your physical location. Depending on what services or products you offer, digitalization could expand that to encompass a 500-mile range or even the entire globe.
With changes over the last few years, more organizations now conduct their business virtually. It’s safer, easier and much more accessible. No matter what, now is the perfect time to start focusing on your organization’s digital transformation. Even if the digitalization you do is a contingency plan rather than a new mode of operation, it’s still a worthy endeavor.
What Are the Downsides?
The common statement, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is one of the worst things to rely upon. This type of lazy mentality is one of the reasons there is so much resistance to digitalization. What’s the point of doing extra work to counter unknown future problems, right? Wrong! Ask any risk management professional, they’ll assure you there are many reasons.
If you do not digitalize, you’ll not keep up with your competitors. Remember Blockbuster? The newest generations do not. Blockbuster is sometimes something Millennials joke about. That is if anyone thinks about it at all.
How did a multibillion-dollar company disappear? Blockbuster was once the leading video chain in the United States, but it did not digitalize. Netflix took advantage of the internet to make streaming widely available. Blockbuster did not. The rest is history. You don’t want your organization to turn into a cautionary tale, do you? Of course, you don’t.
Digitalization contributes to productivity. Think about the amount of time you and your employees spend shuffling through papers and desk drawers. Filing cabinets should solve this problem, but nowadays, many just take up space and collect dust.
Imagine running a quick search of a shared drive and turning up anything you are looking for immediately. Digitalization lets you do that. It also means your entire team is able to work on the same document. No more trying to keep track of who has what version. These are simple quick practices that can be implemented simply and easily.
Are There Risks Involved in Digitalization?
Sure, there are risks inherent in everything, including digitalization. That doesn’t mean you should abandon digitalizing your organization’s processes, yet, it is vital to be aware of the risks. One of the main concerns facing many organizations is cybersecurity. This is simply solved by seeking expert counsel. Especially with health, financial or otherwise sensitive information.
Other challenges may come in the form of expenses, training and technical know-how. Digitalization saves you time and money in the long-term. However, at the start, you may find yourself investing in your technology before receiving a return on your investment.
Before making purchases, carefully consider how you will train your team to interact with updated systems and processes. Don’t be discouraged. Seek consulting teams that can help.
If you’re searching for ideas to convince your organization to start digitalizing there’s good news. If that is the case, try to quantify the operational effectiveness, productivity and financial benefits digitalization would create. Make it specific and subjective. Do not rely on averages from other companies. Use cost comparisons and emphasize what return on investment digitalization offers your organization. The benefits will far outweigh the risks.
Ways to Start Implementing Digitalization
The word “digitalization” still might not resonate with you. That’s okay. Without concrete examples of how to implement it in your own company, it may be challenging to synthesize the words. It differs per industry and depends upon how much you’ve already completed.
Here are a few general tips:
- Implement Google My Business.
- Execute search engine optimization (SEO). SEO helps potential customers discover you when they run a search for pains, needs or specific goods and services.
- Set up an online store.
- Explore virtual consultations and coaching
- Double down on email marketing campaigns
- Implement online advertising
- Test artificial intelligence and chatbots for immediate customer service.
- Expand your digital assets and video content.
- Enhance your social media marketing strategy.
Successful Examples of Digitalization
Digitalization is not just a gimmick. Digitalization is something that major companies have been doing for years. It provides a competitive edge. Microsoft, for example, noticed that companies like Apple, Amazon and Google were producing more innovative products. They finally realized their long-time prestige had rendered them complacent.
When their market share dipped, they began to pivot. By investing in cloud computing and combining Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics, they developed a solid change.
That was 2014. A single share was 48.84 dollars. Now, according to the same source, it is 215.37 dollars a share. Without that pivot, Microsoft might have gone out of business.
Digitalization is a critical part of every business’s success.
Where to Go From Here
Maybe you’re feeling energized at the prospect of change. Or maybe you feel it’s a challenge. Either way, Build Brilliance is here to partner with you. Our team and partners span the globe. We offer professional consulting, coaching, in-house speaker workshops and virtual events to handle all your local and digital service requirements. Schedule a consultation today to discover what limitless success looks like for you.