Digital Transformation is one of the buzz words of recent times. Simply put it refers to a business using new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing to drive growth, streamline operations and increase competitive edge.
There are numerous opinions surrounding the use, and probably even the ethical nature, of AI considerations, however Digital Advancement does not have to look like something out of the science fiction worlds of H.G. Wells. Rather technology can be harnessed at a truly practical level to increase efficiencies and drive businesses forward without losing the human touch.
The First Steps
Adding new technologies is not something that can be done at random. With new products on the market, many options may look like the perfect solution for your business. However, new technology must be added strategically, once you have a full awareness of your businesses systems and controls and where improvements can be made. The aim is to improve current business procedures resulting in a superior service for end users, not just to move with the times.
Here at Sowerby we believe the first steps to considering a digital review should look something like the below:
– Evaluate the current state of operations and identifying areas for improvement – This is a useful project even outside of technological considerations and often results in efficiencies and productivity gained before technology is even considered.
– Talk to the team – Any change must be supported by employees, they will often also hold information that can’t be gained from a high level review.
– Develop clear objectives – The technical landscape is a difficult one to navigate, without clear objectives it can become costly and a drain on time.
– Investigate the technology available – There are numerous similar technology solutions available, often with vastly different price profiles, not only research but recommendations are key to finding the best fit.
What Could New Technology Look Like for Your Business
Digital technologies such as robotics process automation (RPA) can streamline repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Production line processes can often be automated in a way that could not be achieved 20 years ago. By automating core processes your businesses can achieve operational efficiency, reduce human error, and free up resources for more value-added activities. This increased productivity could lead to cost savings and improved profitability. Though of course there is an upfront investment.
Most businesses already have a website, but is it offering as much as it can to your products and services? A website does not have to just be a marketing tool. A strong online presence can open up new e-commerce opportunities, attract a wider customer base and offer options for new revenue streams if managed correctly.
Data has always been key to analysing trends within businesses, but only so much can be done via manual processes, even with the assistance of standard excel based and accounting software programmes. Utilising technology to allow automated and robust data analytics can help identify market trends, customer behaviour patterns, and emerging opportunities. Data driven decisions (when this data is easily and readily accessible) can optimise operations, allow targeting of specific customer segments and expose loss making products.
3D printing is a digitally-operated manufacturing technology in which physical objects are printed by a 3D printer based on the specification of a digital model. It is expensive, but looking forward it has the possibility to contribute to significant cost reductions associated with both prototyping and manufacturing. 3D printing could also reduce the need to store parts as well as significantly reduce lead times, since the technology makes it possible to produce what you need, when you need it and where you need it.
Digital transformation can not only improve customer experience but also enhance employees’ enthusiasm. The employee experience is based on your employees’ perception of the workplace, and it has an impact on their engagement and productivity. New talent is looking more and more for future proofed opportunities in the marketplace.
Production automation can provide cost reduction and performance improvements as well as business resilience and faster development/deployment cycles. In a world where people are used to easy access, high quality is no longer enough, high quality and rapid delivery is key.
Modern businesses handle enormous volumes of data and, with access to the right analytical tools, that raw data can be interpreted into valuable business insights in real time. This enables faster and more informed decision-making. This is especially important in a world where diversification can often be the key to success.
New technology can also reduce risk, ironically in relation to older technology. You may have seen that technological disruptions are reshaping industries at an unprecedented pace. Without a digital transformation strategy, companies risk falling behind as competitors embrace innovative technologies. Additionally, the absence of robust cybersecurity measures can leave businesses vulnerable to data breaches, resulting in financial losses, reputational damage, and costly legal ramifications.
The goal is to work smarter not harder, with the end result providing more value to your end customer. It may feel easy to dismiss words such as ‘cloud based’ and ‘digital platforms’ as tech jargon, but it is actually the key to growth for modern businesses.
Sowerby are here to advise you on your technological needs, both software based and further reaching. If you’d like to talk to one of our team, please give us a call on 01482 888 820.
Published by Sowerby Chartered Accountants, January 2024