Why Digital Transformation Must Be in Your Small Business Future

on June 23, 2017

Digital transformation, as defined by Constellation Research, is “the methodology in which organizations transform and create new business models and culture with digital technologies.”

Digital transformation is imperative for all businesses. It encourages the use of innovation and new business models and improves the experience of employees, customers, partners and stakeholders through the use of technology. It’s bringing together people, data and processes to create value for your customers and maintain a competitive advantage. Digital transformation can improve profitability, customer satisfaction and increase speed-to-market for any business.

However, many business owners are still slow to adopt digital technology because they are concerned about business process costs or growing short-term revenues. These worries are short-sighted, however, since Digital Transformation is key to business success. Your business can fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies today or miss out on the incredible value these tools presents to businesses, both small and large scale. The real challenge for many businesses is not whether they should adopt current technology into their existing business processes. Rather, it’s how to maximize digital technology without disrupting their existing business functions.

When carefully executed, the benefits are enormous. The change can increase productivity dramatically and offer you the competitive advantage you need to deliver exceptional customer experience.

Digital transformation can empower employees to work better, faster and smarter

Every business wants its workforce to perform smarter, faster and more productively. Achieving that goal requires innovative solutions that make it easier for your employees to collaborate, communicate and exchange data without restrictions.

Cloud productivity solutions like Microsoft Office 365 can help your staff work and collaborate at peak proficiency without wasting time by creating a more streamlined working environment. Office 365 features like Focused Inbox help you better focus on the emails that matter most to you, and @mentions help you focus on what needs attention and better call others’ attention to actions within your mails. And Groups in Office 365 allows you to define specific teams and enable their members to collaborate easily, share calendars, exchange files and take and share notes using OneNote.

With increasing competition, it has become extremely important to encourage creativity in the office. Working in teams enables employees to be quicker, more effective and deliver on tasks. Progressive companies are increasingly realizing the value of collaboration to ensure information doesn’t remain in siloes.

Microsoft Teams, the new chat-based workspace in Office 365, allows your team to work together in a whole new way. You can quickly get a feeling for what everybody is up to on your team when you start using Teams. The tool collaborative tool gives your staff a single “portal” or “hub” to get things done. Microsoft Teams brings together your employees, their conversations and their content for a more productive way of working.

Digital technology improves how you engage with consumers and enhance customer experience

Customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention have always been important for business survival and growth. A strong customer experience means more customers, more sales and strong customer loyalty. Your business must spend time identifying where its potential customers are and interacting with them at the right time, in the right place.

Once you understand your customers’ journey and behaviors, you’ll be in a strong position to create a digital plan accordingly and begin the process of choosing the right technology you need to carry it out to its fullest. Access to online customer relationship management tools – where you can collect contact information, business website behavior, and customer purchase and service behavior – can significantly enhance your consumer engagement strategy.

Many companies are using technology to handle customer service in an efficient and cost-effective way. Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help you build personalized experiences across all customer touch points—from consideration to purchase. By collecting, analyzing and measuring customer data, including social data, you can raise the quality of your customer service. Innovative customer service technology like Dynamics 365 can help you gain insights into your business and your customers. Customer expectations keep evolving. Adapt with time and deliver what your customers expect from you.

Customers are reaching out to businesses via so many different channels. It can be hard to keep up and offer them amazing customer experience. It takes good customer data to deliver great service. The right digital tool can help you save time and run your business efficiently whilst you leverage business data to stay ahead of the competition. Microsoft Power BI integrates easily with your existing business environment allowing you to adopt analytics and reporting capabilities. It transforms your company’s data into rich visuals for you to collect and organize so you can focus on what matters to you.

The bottom line is that technology is transforming the business world. There is no question that digital transformation is no longer an option. To stay competitive and survive, build a business that can adapt its technology and strategies rapidly to take advantage of the many benefits of digital technology.

The key to good technology is that it works for you. Whatever the size of your business, start with a strong digital transformation strategy, and choose the right technology to fit your business objectives.

This article originally appeared on the Microsoft Enterprise blog.