How to digitise your business in simple steps – Part 2

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Last week we looked at what digitisation can do for your business. While many SME owners understand the benefits digitisation offers but implementing and managing new technologies while still keeping their current network operational and stable, poses a huge challenge. More often than not they will need expert help to achieve these goals.

Here is my advice to help get you up and running on your digital journey.

1. Lead from the front

If you aren’t personally committed to change, then stop right here! Your employees will be looking to you as a role model and benchmark so, to give yourself confidence and ideas, read and learn everything you can.

2. Identify your digital gap and grab “low-hanging fruit”

Find out what digital leaders in your sector are doing and select obvious “low-hanging fruit” that can be digitised now – don’t try to do everything at once. After you’ve begun your journey, reimagine other parts of your business as digital operations.

3. Think “platform” and invest time

Ask yourself this question, “If you were to start up a competitor to your business today and you had the funds, how would you beat your current business?”

Understand what a digital platform for your business could look like and offer the team by taking the time to talk to experts.

If you are nervous, plan your digital platform for your business. Don’t forget about cyber security.

4. Upskill your workforce

Employees are your biggest asset and a key source of ideas and new ways of re-imagining your business. Consider signing your employees up to a number of free and paid for courses available online to ensure staff are comfortable with digitisation. They will help them understand their adapted role, particularly when it comes to acting as the company’s first line of defence against cyber attacks; one click on a bad link could lead to a devastating ransomware attack.

When it comes to hiring new employees, look for individuals that align with your future direction and help fill your knowledge gaps.

5. Integrate Collaboration Tools

How you collaborate internally and externally is integral to digital transformation.

Most Australian employees would prefer to work remotely (63 per cent)* but this is impossible without seamless tools in place to ensure consistent connectivity and collaboration. Ask yourself whether your IT is enabling your employees or acting as a roadblock to productivity and collaboration?

6. Set and Forget

Your employees are busy doing their jobs and you’re busy running a company so consider solutions that can be set up in hours and then left to run in the background, such as Cisco Start.

For most online SMEs, if there’s no network there’s no functioning company, so take advantage of cloud-managed IT; no need to wait around for technicians and you’re protected whether you’re at the office or working from home.

Digitisation is a journey not a destination, so try not to allow yourself to get overwhelmed or put off. It’ll be one of the best investments you ever made.

* Research from recruitment company Randstad

Kevin Bloch, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco ANZ