What is digital transformation and why should you care?

We talk a lot about digital transformation, so much so, you might almost accuse the of of being a ‘buzzword’. However, the phrase has a real and serious meaning for businesses – especially now.

Digital transformation, by definition, is when digital technologies are integrated into every area of a business. And, when the addition of those technologies has a fundamental effect on the way a business operates. More than that, digital transformation is a switch in the mindset of employees, from traditional and steadfast, to forward-thinking and experimental.

That definition is, perhaps, a little loose. But the reason is that digital transformation for Company A is rarely the same as it is for Company B. Different processes are needed and different technology combinations. What is often the same, however, is the need for businesses to let go of old, archaic methods in order to invest in new technological practices (often these are still evolving, themselves).

And the purpose of digital transformation at this moment in time is clear – it’s a case of survival. At a time when the world and its industries are in a state of flux, digital transformation can help a business maintain pace with new and growing customer demands. It allows it to compete better within the struggling economic environment and respond faster to technological challenges as they arise. 

Those businesses that failed to adapt at all during the COVID pandemic found themselves fighting harder to stay afloat, and many didn’t make it. Now, at the (hopeful) tail-end of the virus, that purpose is more meaningful than ever. There are fresh pressures in terms of customer expectations, market prices and supply chain challenges. Digital transformation may be the only way to survive.

Because digital transformation differs between companies, knowing where to begin can feel complex. To start, it’s critical to establish exactly what it means for the business in question. You first need to step back and take a wide view of the organisation’s challenges and maturity. That includes the state of the industry it exists within, the competition it faces, the demands of customers and all other variables of influence. With this information it becomes possible to define digital transformation within the context of the brand, and why it is needed.

With the definition and reason for digital transformation established, the next step is to assess what existing digital capabilities are in place. You can then consider what more is needed and which incumbent solutions should be switched out or upgraded. The key is to enhance the business and its operations, making things easier or faster. Every change should be made with that in mind.

Is Digital transformation a buzz term. Well, yes. But only in the same way that ‘The Cloud’ was five years ago, It’s the phrase on everyone’s lips at the moment because it is recognised as the key to progress and future potential. It would be a real shame for brands with great products and great reputations to fade and die simply because they’re too slow or too afraid to embrace the buzz.