Industry Talk

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

Digital transformation – where to begin?

The digital transformation of many day to day business processes is helping organisations around the world achieve significant time, cost and resource savings. From the warehouse to the admin team, there are many manual and laborious processes stopping managers from upskilling their teams to undertake activities that can add more value to the business.

Unfortunately, the UK lags behind in embracing digital transformation according to a survey from tech giant Dell. The report which surveyed over 4,500 business leaders from 42 different countries, showed that 71% of UK business leaders admitted that their digital strategies aren’t where they should be.

For some businesses, the decision to embrace digital transformation can be overwhelming. There may be lots of processes in the organisation that are ripe for change, but where to begin if you only have limited time and budget? Also, how do you convince the rest of the business that it’s worth the time and investment to make it happen?

As a provider of eProcurement software, we work with businesses looking to move from manual, paper-based invoicing and purchasing, to fully digitising the entire process. The benefits of doing this include better visibility and control over spend, and automation of the entire Procure to Pay process; freeing the accounts processing team to work on other tasks. Having helped many organisations over the years digitise their purchasing processes, we have seen how many innovative project leaders have successfully kick started the transformation process.

Here are our top tips for getting a digital transformation project off the ground:

  1. Identify where is change needed most

Every company uses technology differently and before diving head first into the process, it’s essential to define where business change is needed most urgently. It could be customer engagement, digital products and services, operational performance or even preparing for disruptive new business models.

Defining where change is needed most will help focus attention and investment on that project. It’s also important to consider how your business uses technology and data before identifying any gaps – then, you can begin to see how digitising certain processes can help your organisation.

  1. Planning and timescales

So, you’ve identified what you want to do, now it’s time to plan implementation of the digital solution. It’s important to ensure key project milestones are included alongside detailed steps the business will need to take to maximise the technology potential.

It’s important to stipulate targets to help ensure the team remains motivated and apply realistic timescales to the project to encourage buy-in from key stakeholders.

  1. Get employee and management buy-in – you need it!

Peer-led transformation can often be implemented quickly, so involving management is key. They will need to understand the reason for change and be onboard with the implementation plans. Engage with influential employees across the business who support the transformation plans to help champion the cause.

  1. Leading the charge

Try to encourage business transformation by embedding processes or environments into your workplace culture where ideas for innovation are actively encouraged. Why not reward those who promote change or celebrate meeting the milestones in your action plan? Creating a process to reward successful ideas for change and business improvement will help ensure transformation projects are sustained.

Making the move to a digital-first environment is a massive step and the result needs to enable an organisation to make quick, informed decisions, as well as meet customer needs. But done properly, it can foster business growth, improve productivity and boost profits. Modernised processes support today’s fast-moving marketplace and demonstrate a culture of innovation typical of any forward-thinking organisation. Make sure your business isn’t left behind!