How to successfully embrace the digital revolution and its opportunities on a small business budget

One of the few positives of the global pandemic was that it highlighted the importance for organisations of all types and sizes to embrace new technologies and the digital revolution to ensure business continuity and agility. This was a lesson well worth learning as well-targeted digital change has proven to deliver long-term benefits in terms of flexibility and cost savings.

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However, whilst the global pandemic has shown the undeniable benefits, there is still the question of the best way of introducing digital initiatives into an organisation that suit both the needs and the budget. Some commentators will talk about picking the so-called ‘low hanging fruit’ to get rapid results. However, the starting point for any organisation (no matter where it is in its digital maturity journey) is to determine exactly what the adoption of digital change entails for the business, and what results you require from it.

The idea of ‘low hanging fruit’ can be misleading – just because an action is easier it doesn’t mean it is right! Equally, it can be difficult to identify the ‘low hanging fruit’, especially if there are multiple projects in the pipeline. It is imperative to first understand what your organisation needs before you can deliver the most effective digital transformation initiatives on the allocated budget, whilst also maximising the impact of these digital initiatives.

Implementation challenges

Implementing digital change will always present a number of challenges, but budget is often the one that small businesses will worry about first. Many organisations will find that internal resistance (be it deliberate or passive), prioritisation of business needs, and complexity will also be key considerations.    
There is no magic ‘one size fits all’ approach to embracing the digital revolution, but it certainly requires coordination of a long-term strategy that ensures continuous optimisation, a managed budget, and a clear understanding of the return on investment at the end of the process.
Here are three key things that are crucial in achieving digital change.

1. Utilising Teamwork and Partnership

It is essential to gather key people/stakeholders from across the business when it comes to planning for digital initiatives. Along with identifying the right business objectives, consulting with these key individuals/teams also enables you to identify the KPIs that will ensure the project remains on track. Digital change requires investment from people as well as resources, and usually involves initiatives that are run across multiple departments and therefore require input, expertise, and management from these various key stakeholders.
Whether this process is across an internal team or even if it is with the support of a technology partner, it is essential to collaborate effectively with honest discussions to build a genuinely holistic view of your organisation’s digital change maturity level. This also enables you to build a clear picture of the processes and legacy systems involved, as well as getting full buy-in to successfully drive this transformation towards your digital revolution goals.     

2. Comprehensive Assessment 

Once you have the right people/stakeholders onboard with the project, you will quickly find that each has their priorities, and these may not match each other or align to the business’ overall goals. Unfortunately, different departments may have their own siloed view of what is required, so it is vital to have an objective view of the situation. Therefore, you must have a reliable structure in place that will enable you to accurately assess which parts of the business are costing unnecessary time and money, and thereby holding your business back from its full operational potential.
Without carrying out an appropriate assessment (such as the completely free and no obligation Konica Minolta DX360° Assessment), you simply won’t be able to determine where your business is on its digital change journey, what funding will be required, and which digital transformation initiatives will have the biggest impact on your business objectives. Before you make any plans, it is essential to understand if you have the procedures and tools in place to support and enhance your digital change strategy.
Once you have completed these assessments, you will have the best way of easily and rapidly reviewing all the areas of your business, to understand what transformation is required, and where there could be potential synergies between different departments. When you have confirmed these details, you can then scale solutions and fully understand which areas are costing the business unnecessarily.

3. Alignment and priorities

By conducting a thorough assessment, you will not only have a clear view of the challenges but also the considerable opportunities on offer from the digital revolution.
This will also support your business case by enabling you to uncover tangible spending and operational figures and then forecast the cost of digital transformation initiatives versus the return on investment. It will also enable you to measure the success in terms of decreases in costs, employee efficiency, customer experience ratings, and all the other areas in which a business must excel to thrive.
You will also have an excellent foundation on which to properly consider your technology requirements and the order in which you action your projects, as well as the ability to organise the pipeline of ongoing and continuous optimisation and improvement.
What is more, you will be in the perfect position to build a realistic and costed plan which balances the digital change needs of your business against the assigned budget. You can also ensure it is scaled accordingly to maximise the benefits across your business, targeting the right areas that need the assistance.

Finding the right level for your business

Embracing the digital revolution does not necessarily have to begin with the most grandiose or ground-breaking technology - such as the introduction of robotics or a commitment to AI, which will involve a considerable investment.
Solutions such as automated workflows, data analytics, and harnessing the power of cloud hosting are perfect for hybrid remote working and can be highly financially viable options for any size of business. They boost business performance in weeks (rather than having to wait years) and provide solid foundations for long term digital change and improvement, which will enable you to expand these digital transformation initiatives as and when you need them.

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