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How getting digital transformation right can help businesses get through a pandemic

The rallying cry for businesses to go digital is louder than ever. Here are the best practices for doing so

digital transformation
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Once upon a time, expressions like “digitisation” and “digital transformation” were the ‘in” buzzwords for a business in the Wi-Fi age. It sounded nice to hear but for those who weren’t in the know, it was just vague enough to excuse any inaction. Thus, many businesses ended up shunning the call to digitise. 

But the ongoing pandemic is a game-changer. With much of the world placed under strict lockdown orders and consumers now unable to leave their homes for an indefinite period of time, businesses who refused to go digital are paying the price. Some will even have to close up shop permanently after going so long without any activity.

In this piece, we’ll be going over why the rallying cry for going digital – yes, even for some startups – is louder than ever, and the best practices for doing so are already right at your fingertips.

What you can no longer ignore 

To go digital as a business means recognising how your target audience uses technology and then leveraging technology to streamline processes and provide the best experience for your customers.

Consider the fact that approximately 4.5 billion people are now online. Filipinos alone spend an average of nine hours and 45 minutes per day on the internet. Ninety-one per cent of all internet users in the country aged 16 to 64 also reported having used the internet to search for a product or service to buy

Additionally, a report by the Altagamma-McKinsey Online Observatory finds that 20 per cent of both online and in-store sales were a result of online marketing. Total sales from digital marketing also generated as much as US$12.5 billion optimal profit. 

Thus, it’s a no-brainer that your business should have some online presence at the very least if you want a shot at boosting profits.

Yet there are more benefits to going digital than just increasing your business visibility. When a business has gone digital, for example, there are a host of new metrics you can use to track whether or not something is successful.

This is the selling point of services such as Google Analytics, which allows a business to glean insights on how often people visit their website, what kind of people they are, how long they stay on the site, what pushes them to make a purchase and so much more.

Furthermore, digitising business operations reduces the burden of paperwork and the inefficient clutter that comes along with it. When all your important information is moved online, an employee needing crucial data can find it in just a matter of keystrokes and clicks.

Just compare this to the overflowing file cabinets of yore and you’ll see why businesses who digitise get things done faster, better, and with way less effort.

Proof that it’s never too late

In 2017, up to one out of three enterprise CEO’s felt digital transformation efforts were a waste of time. But just last year, an updated version of the survey found that this number plummeted down to virtually zero. This ultimately shows it’s really never too late for companies to catch up. 

Even bigger, more well-established companies aren’t exempt. US retail titan Target was once maligned for investing in digital shopping experiences too late, only pouring billions of dollars into it after Amazon started presenting a credible threat to their business. 

Though the company’s stock plummeted 13 per cent immediately after the move, the digital-first investment eventually yielded big returns: in late 2019, stocks rose 93 per cent after its post-investment low.

So in a nutshell, no, it’s never too late to go digital.

Making the first move

Digitally transforming your business requires many steps, different strategies, and an in-depth understanding of many new tools and solutions. It can be a daunting process, so that’s why you may need a technology partner.

Some of the more obvious solutions include Google Drive and Dropbox, which are cloud-storage solutions that can aid both small and large businesses alike.

These platforms offer an easy way to store massive amounts of data while making it convenient to retrieve specific files or other information you may be looking for.

Beyond that, there are also other platforms that can directly help you find demand and customers.

In the Philippines, selling on Facebook Marketplace has become something of a no-brainer as a first step for a small business going online. Instagram, in particular, has also become a hotspot for smaller, local clothing brands wanting to find a larger audience. 

But on a more macro level, there are even companies that can solely focus on digitising specific parts of business operations for their clients.

One of these is the super app MyKuya. Though they’re widely known as an on-demand service app that matches you with kuyas and ates to run errands for you (anything from grocery shopping to errands done on motorbike), they offer something else for their enterprise partners.

MyKuya also offers a manpower management tool that enables businesses to track your talent in one space. With their technology, a workforce’s activity and location can be tracked during office hours on a user-friendly platform.

A partnership with e-wallet giant GCash even makes it easier for MyKuya’s talent to receive their salaries, representing the fact that everything on the platform is fully digitized. Additionally, customer feedback on your service can also be viewed on the app in real time, making it easier to see what works and what doesn’t. Finally, having your business displayed on their app also generates demands and acts as a bridge for clients to connect with you.

Another example is MariaHealth. Companies like MariaHealth even go digital to offer healthcare solutions to SMEs. What they do is that they pool smaller companies into a singular, risk-adjusted pool online and use the power of sheer numbers to provide the same quality healthcare coverage that big businesses would get. This eliminates the perceived risk healthcare providers have over servicing a company with just a handful of employees.

Overall, the benefits of going digital are far too much to ignore. The fact that there are also solutions to make the transition easier makes inaction all the more inexcusable. If your business was unable to undergo a digital transformation yesterday, the best time to do it is now.

Source: e27.co

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