How to digitise your business in simple steps – Part 1

What is digitisation? At our company, we refer to digitisation as “translation of the physical world into the digital world so that we can leverage the power of computing and software to automate processes and provide intelligence and actionable insights enabling business outcomes.”

When you start looking at all the requirements necessary to fully digitise a business, it’s easy to see why SME owners, who not only have to remain profitable but also move their company into unknown digitised territory, become overwhelmed by the pressures.

The bottom line, however, is that it’s no longer a matter of whether a business should become digitised, it’s a matter of when. In order to survive long-term, all businesses will need to adapt and transform.

Why should you digitise your business?

The world is becoming more digital at an unprecedented pace. Companies with digital-ready networks today are growing revenue and profits two to three times more quickly* than those with legacy networks, and the number of digital-ready networks globally will triple over the next two years.*

Increased profit is likely to be the key reason for digitising your business, however, the benefits can be realised across the board. Another way to look at it is that those companies that don’t digitise, will probably not survive in five years. Below, I have outlined five additional reasons it’s time to start thinking about your digitisation strategy:

1. Enhance customers’ experience

Customers’ expectations are steadily increasing; they expect information at their fingertips, faster service and more personalisation, including understanding their online behaviour. This personalisation is BIG business and is often referred to as “The Internet of Me.”

2. Retain top talent

Talented employees want to work in organisations that are innovating and will survive this digital transition. They want to expand their appropriate (digital) skill set so that they can continue progressing in their chosen profession and be more relevant wherever they are.

3. Deliver on business operation efficiencies

Increased revenue and reduced costs are two of the most obvious end goals of streamlining your operations. Digital businesses are comprehensively showing how they can provide higher levels of service at lower cost… and they are winning!

4. Become agile

SMEs already have the upper hand against larger companies and enterprises when it comes to making decisions and implementing change. However, manual processes still have the ability to slow down even the “nimblest” companies in our anytime, anywhere world.

Digitised processes enable the workforce to see what is going on across the business in real-time and use data and analytics to drive decision making, resulting in fast execution.

5. Secure and analyse data

Having customer, industry and competitor data at your fingertips is invaluable, however, unless you have the ability to analyse it and draw insights to help drive the direction of your business, it’s useless. Similarly, data can be gold-dust to cyber criminals and hackers but customers expect you to keep it safe. Breaches can severely damage a business or brand’s reputation and the threat continues to grow, so take advantage of the security tools and services out there as part of your digital journey. Warning: Don’t digitise if you don’t secure.

Next week we’ll look at six more steps to help you on your digitisation journey.

* IDC White Paper sponsored by Cisco, “Is Your Network Ready for Digital Transformation,” January 2017

Kevin Bloch, Chief Technology Officer, Cisco ANZ

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