The Case for Digital Transformation

December 7, 2015
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I’m aware of how dated this makes me seem, but I still remember a time when information was printed on paper, tucked into folders, and filed into cabinets.  I’ve spoken with Millennials who seem astounded at the fact there was ever a time when files weren’t readily available on computers to be accessed and exchanged at the click of a button.  But for the rest of us, digital technology isn’t something to be taken for granted.  A true digital transformation means a complete front-to-back integration of a company’s internal systems, yet there are still businesses out there who h

I’m aware of how dated this makes me seem, but I still remember a time when information was printed on paper, tucked into folders, and filed into cabinets.  I’ve spoken with Millennials who seem astounded at the fact there was ever a time when files weren’t readily available on computers to be accessed and exchanged at the click of a button.  But for the rest of us, digital technology isn’t something to be taken for granted.  A true digital transformation means a complete front-to-back integration of a company’s internal systems, yet there are still businesses out there who have yet to transform themselves by even the most basic digital technologies. Here are three arguments for the case of digital transformation, both basic and comprehensive:

Digital Technology Improves Lives (And The Lives of Trees)

When people talk about “digital transformation,” they’re talking about going paperless, or the process by which information is converted into an electronic format in order to be managed and accessed efficiently.  Think of the decades worth of paper-based medical records overflowing the offices of Healthcare providers, and think of the process of manually looking up a piece of information from one of the folders in one of the drawers in one of the cabinets in one of the rooms – a few hundred times a week.

Consider the joy of the insurance carrier working on a patient’s claim information once those records have been turned electronic and can be accessed, distributed, and consumed in seconds.  Not only that, but think about the security of the information and the fact that it can be sent in an electronic HIPAA 837 format that applies business rules validations that makes sure the data is correct.  Digital transformation is a game-changer; it enables businesses to provide services to its clients more quickly and efficiently because they have faster and more accurate access to the information necessary to deliver those services.

Digital Relationships Are Better Relationships

Digital transformation isn’t just about converting information, though; digitally transforming a business also means using technology to connect customers with information that is needed to sustain meaningful business relationships. Think about the relationship between an automotive supplier and an automotive manufacturer.  The supplier must keep their inventory of parts active and available for the manufacturer in order to maintain consistent production of a certain car model. 

With a digital inventory maintained in real-time and accessed by both parties, the manufacturer can easily avoid disruptions that would have been caused had information about the availability of parts not been provided. In this way, digital transformation enables better coordination which helps in fostering better business relationships between customers and trading partners.

Give Me A Digital Relationship or Give Me Death!

For companies that want to stay relevant and alive in today’s tumultuous business climate, digital transformation isn’t even a choice; it’s a necessity. As the business and technology landscapes change, volatile changes in competition and customer expectation are causing companies to rethink what their main goals are in the marketplace.  In fact, most customers are demanding a digital experience from their vendors, and most people won’t even consider a company that doesn’t provide digital capabilities.  With these critical shifts, it is crucial for companies to consider and define their digital strategies in order to adapt. 

Think about the proliferation of mobile apps that are being utilized by businesses of all varieties.  Companies who want to remain competitive have no choice but to consider their own strategy for mobile apps, because companies that are not able to reach out to customers through smartphones and social media will likely be outclassed by companies that are better at communicating through these mediums with their customers.  It is a fact that an insurance company that can offer plans to their customers through a simple smartphone app has a better reach and can achieve higher velocity in sales then a traditional carrier who is still depending on third-party agents and paper-based forms. In order to survive and excel in today’s dynamic marketplace, companies need a digital transformation strategy that leverages new technologies and takes into account everything from corporate vision to product messaging.