Digital Transformation is the Leverage You Need
Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new or modify existing business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. It transcends traditional roles like sales, marketing, and customer service. Instead, a digital transformation begins and ends with how you think about, and engage with, customers. As we move from paper to spreadsheets to smart applications for managing our business, we have the chance to reimagine how we do business and how we engage our customers with digital technology on our side.
Building a 21st-century business on stickies and handwritten ledgers just aren’t sustainable anymore. Working from application to application is time-consuming that doesn’t allow for more individual or business growth. For small businesses just getting started, there’s no need to set up your business processes and transform them later. You can future-proof your organization from the word go. Thinking, planning, and building digitally sets you up to be agile, flexible, and ready to grow no matter where you and your staff are.
With digital transformation, companies are taking a step back and revisiting everything they do, from internal systems to customer interactions both online and in person. They’re asking big questions like “Can we change our processes in a way that will enable better decision-making, game-changing efficiencies, or better customer experience with more personalization?”
Now we’re firmly entrenched in the digital age, and businesses of all sorts are creating clever, effective, and disruptive ways of leveraging technology. Netflix is a great example. It started out as a mail-order service and disrupted the brick-and-mortar video rental business. Then digital innovations made the wide-scale streaming video possible. Today, Netflix takes on traditional broadcast and cable television networks and production studios all at once by offering a growing library of on-demand content at ultracompetitive prices. It uses that data to inform everything from the design of its user experience to the development of first-run shows and movies at in-house studios. That’s digital transformation in action: taking advantage of available technologies to inform how a business runs.
First, understand what’s possible with digital transformation.
A key element of digital transformation is understanding the potential of your technology. Again, that doesn’t mean asking “How much faster can we do things the same way?” It means asking “What is our technology really capable of, and how can we adapt our business and processes to make the most of our technology investments?”
Before Netflix, people chose movies to rent by going to stores and combing through shelves of tapes and discs in search of something that looked good. Now, libraries of digital content are served upon personal devices, complete with recommendations and reviews based on user preferences.
RPA is the Basis for Efficiency Gains
In a digital transformation, the core goal is to change what you are doing and how you are doing it. But in many cases, enterprises that seek to achieve transformation need to bring processes together and get out of the siloed structure that they have been used to.
Authors Thomas H. Davenport and David Brain note that for many companies, “RPA implementations support the ‘as-is’ process, with no improvement or examination of the current process steps that are automated. As a result, they may achieve modest savings, but in many cases, they will miss out on opportunities to dramatically improve process outcomes, quality, costs, and cycle times.”
In addition, it’s worth highlighting that RPA can be set up quickly because it doesn’t require coding or complex integration. It doesn’t impact the underlying business logic. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. But it does mean it’s quite easy to test and pilot the technology, at least on a small scale. This can mean that organizations will find that various lines of business are all experimenting with their own RPA pilots, with limited input from the CIO or IT department. Again, such initiatives will help drive efficiency initially but have limited scope and lack the full potential that RPA can ultimately provide.
According to research conducted by Deloitte in 2017, 53% of organizations have already started their RPA journeys. The research firm expects this to increase to 72% next year and believes we will achieve “near-universal adoption” by 2022.
However, despite this level of widespread adoption, the study highlights that few organizations have yet been able to scale their RPA initiatives, with the majority having just built pilots or proofs of concept. This is today’s challenge for organizations and is where a strategic RPA/Digital Transformation needs to start.
RPA is an incredibly powerful technology, and it’s only improving with the advances we’re currently seeing in technology. That’s why there is so much focus on it. However, simply automating a process isn’t enough for organizations to achieve success in the digital world. Having an experienced RPA consultant will help you understand the value RPA and Digital Transformation can bring.