Digital Transformations Part 1: What Are They?

With our series on integrations wrapped up, we’d now like to turn our attention to something we feel equally passionate about—digital transformations.

The past two decades have seen dramatic shifts in the way businesses operate. Take clothes shopping, for example. Up until the early 2000s, how did you buy clothes? You went to a department store or some other physical retail outlet, browsed through their selection, tried on what you liked, and then made your purchase. That transformed into checking out a store’s website, virtually looking at what was for sale, making the purchase, and hoping it would fit you when it arrived at your home. Now, some online retailers will even let you wear the clothes for a certain period of time—for free—and then return them if you don’t like them.

The way we make purchases nowadays is orders of magnitude different from how it used to be done. As technology and customer desires have evolved, so have the ways companies do business.

Larger companies have an inherent advantage with their wealth and manpower. They’re able to dedicate large amounts of resources to identifying market trends, technological advantages, etc. in order to continuously grow and innovate.

What about the smaller companies? Furthermore, what about companies that were set up a long time ago, but do not have the immense resources of large multinationals? What exactly can they do in order to remain competitive?

That’s where digital transformations come into play.

What are Digital Transformations?

At its core, a digital transformation means that a company is using technology to transform their services or their business by replacing their non-digital and/or manual processes with those that are digital. If the company already has digital processes, then the transformation would be replacing the older technology with newer technology. By taking the processes, techniques, and operational strategies of your company and streamlining them with modern technology, you are able to give your company the ability to meet new and more challenging goals and market demands.

In other words: you’re taking what you’re already doing and using technology to do it more efficiently to keep up with modern trends.

Sounds simple, right? Not exactly!

Transformations are more than just developing and implementing improvements within your company that can be measured. They are also a reaction to underlying organizational problems that need to be fixed and may call for disruptive change within an organization that will dramatically improve how your company conducts business.

One great example is from the healthcare industry. For decades, medical records were physical, printed or even handwritten copies of a patient’s information. Even though the rest of the world had gone digital, many healthcare providers were hesitant to “go paperless.” Finally, in the early 2010s, the rise of electronic medical record (EMR) systems had become so advanced that the industry underwent a massive transformation towards digital records. In the past, your doctor would take physical notes using pen and paper while examining you. Now, it is much more common to see doctors using tablets or laptop stands equipped with EMR systems. This transformation—which was almost unimaginable not too long ago—has dramatically streamlined medical processes and improved patient care.

In order to complete a successful digital transformation, it is imperative that your company use a high quality Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application. After all, a digital transformation is all about changing the way your company operates through process improvement—which gives your customers, vendors, and stakeholders a greater ability to interact with your business. Simply put, your ERP will be the benchmark of your transformation.

Moreover, your company must be ready for the digital transformation. By “ready,” we mean that your company must have a high level of support for the transformation among your entire workforce and, more importantly, there must be a deep commitment to making sure it works. This support and commitment should begin in the c-suite and other top-level leadership positions and then spread to the rest of your employees.

With your entire company on board and the right ERP chosen to make it happen, your digital transformation will surely be a success. Stay tuned for future episodes of this series where we discuss digital transformations in more detail. If you missed our series on Integrations, you can find it at https://ctrworld.com/enterprise-application-integration/.

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At CTR, we can make your digital transformation dreams a reality. If you’re ready, we invite you to learn more by contacting us at sales@ctrworld.com