Earlier this year, in February 2019, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella declared that “every company is a software company“. In Australia, according to the Business Use of Information Technology and Innovation in Australian Business report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on the 14th of June 2018, between the years 2014 and 2017 digital transformation in business has been progressing steadily. Only in the retail trade industry, for the first time, 59% of companies had a website presence, with 56% present on social media. As Nadella pointed out “It’s no longer just about procuring one solution and deploying one. It’s not about one simple software solution. It’s really you yourself thinking of your own future as a digital company.”. In today’s digital world, the success of a modern business depends on its ability to embrace digital transformation. As business owners, we have to change the way we think about ourselves and our businesses.
Digital Transformation in Business Explained
Digital transformation goes beyond just having a well-maintained website, a Facebook page or a LinkedIn profile along with a YouTube Channel. In modern business, the use of software changes everything. The use of IT transforms the operation and management of businesses, the kind of relationships they can have with third parties, down to the type of products and services a business can offer.
- Operation and Management of Businesses – from payroll through bookkeeping; invoicing, sales recording to inventory management; timesheet management, task scheduling, and assigning work to your staff. These are a few examples of business operations that are now handled using specialised software by not just large enterprises, but also by SMEs.
- Relationships with Partners and Third Parties – in retail trade, for example, an increasing number of suppliers offers services like ordering via internet portals. Retail distributors can now often lodge pricing and supply discrepancies and misdeliveries online. Many bookkeeping service providers use online portals to help their clients manage staff leave requests. Government agencies and industry regulators increasingly ask business owners to migrate to digital solutions (see, for example, the Australian Tax Office’s Single Touch Payroll).
- Product and Services on Offer – The rise of e-commerce has significantly changed how goods and services are purchased and ordered, but this goes beyond merely having an online store. Think about how many restaurants and fast-food outlets now offer some form of online ordering compared to ten or twelve years ago. The rise of ride-sharing apps forced the Taxi industry to adapt and develop their own apps for ride bookings. Your managed IT services provider almost certainly gives you the option of submitting a support ticket online without having to telephone for help. Similarly, apps like AirTasker allow tradespeople to offer their services online.
Digital technology is well on the way to a thorough penetration of the goods and services industries, fundamentally changing them in the process.
What Does Digital Transformation Mean for YOUR Business?
As a business owner, you would be excused to think that it is your service provider who has to worry about whether the stock or inventory management software, the ordering app or the bookkeeping portal they sold you on is up to scratch. In many cases, this will be true, but there is still a lot that depends on the technology already in use at your company. Your business needs to be able to support the technologies used by your partners or suppliers and expected by your customers and government regulators. Technology changes rapidly and you may have a difficult time meeting those requirements if you are still hanging onto old computer hardware like Windows 7 or older era PCs. Your internet connection needs to be adequate for the amount of data you are sending over it and stable for always-online services. If the ongoing operation of your company fundamentally depends on a working, stable 24/7 internet connection, consider whether you have a fallback, or a back-up available in case your ISP is experiencing a significant outage. If not, you are at a clear risk of loss. If you store important data like stock and inventory databases, client sales orders or supplier purchase orders on-site, consider the disruption to the ongoing operation of your business if you lose that data in a systems failure or a disaster.
Proofing Your Business
In simpler terms, this is what Microsoft’s Satya Nadella meant when he said every business needs to think of itself and its future as “digital”. Electronic hardware and the digital software running on it are a fundamental part of business ownership in 2019. They are unlikely to become less critical in the future. Quite the contrary, it is now more important than ever to stay on top of the changing technological landscape, those who fail to prepare risk falling behind. While there is no denying of how important digital technology is in business these days, SMEs and especially small business owners with limited budgets are likely to see it as a challenge they did not need. Digital transformation requires adequate digital literacy to match, but not every small business can afford to hire a full-time team of IT specialists just to keep its systems in order and under control. It is, however, quite possible to achieve IT cost reduction with the help of managed IT services. A managed services provider can effectively ensure that the technology in your business is adequate to the software you need to use, well-managed and disaster-proof while making sure your software is up-to-date and your data is backed-up.
Chat With Us About the Technology in Your Business
At Connected Platforms we deliver small business IT support Brisbane wide, think of us as your managed IT services partner. Technology can be overwhelming but having to rely on it does not have to be as expensive as you may think, we offer a range of small business IT solutions to help companies like yours.
To have a chat about the challenges of digital transformation in your business, to reduce the stress and cost of needing technology in your company or to learn which of our other IT solutions can help you and your business, book a coffee meeting with Eric today.