Revolutions come with technological advancements. Electricity changed the face of the Earth, and over two centuries later came a larger disruptor, the internet.
We cannot imagine our lives without the internet anymore. It has become a part of our lifestyles so much so that it has been regarded as one of the basic human rights. The right to the internet.
Most businesses around the globe have realized the power of the internet, and the ones that implemented it effectively are now known as tech giants. Consider a cab aggregator service that uses a mobile application for booking a taxi. They are more likely to call themselves a tech company that provides mobility services rather than a cab company.
This clearly reflects the impact of digitization and how positively it can help a company move forward in ways unfathomable otherwise. Digitization is not as difficult as it sounds. All it takes is the will to adopt it and an open mind to accept the changes it’s going to bring.
3 Stages of Digitizing Operations
To make things easier, let’s divide the whole process into just three simple stages. You, as a business owner or a manager, can then identify which stage you are at and move forward from there.
1. Explore the Digital Landscape
The first step would be to explore the possibilities of digital technologies that can benefit your organization. An easy way to do that would be to identify problems in the operations and look for digital solutions for that problem.
Digitizing is more than just using emails and computers in the office. It’s about using digital solutions and tools to make processes faster and efficient.
For instance, if your employees are still manually noting down logs to later feed the data into a computer, that’s a nascent stage of digitization, and you need to move to digitalization by directing recording the data in a digital ecosystem.
This is the most important stage, as this is where you define a strategy that your business process will take to become efficient. This stage is the framework of what’s coming ahead. There are going to cost changes, but these costs are the most worthy investments you can make to stay strong in the game.
Do remember that it’s not just the in-house office that needs to be digitized. Each step in the supply chain can and should be digitized the right way. From manufacturing to logistics, technological solutions provide a different ball game altogether and need to be leveraged.
This stage will probably require the most research and time, but once you are through this step, the rest of the job becomes easier because you know where to start from and will have well-defined goals. There’s no harm in looking at how your competitors are going around digitization and learning a thing or two from there.
2. Playing in a Digital Field
This stage comes right after you have identified the problems and the possible solutions to them. Just as a sports player gets perfect only by practice, so does this stage of digitization. You might not reach optimal efficiency at the first-ever implementation, and you will have to optimize the processes as you go along.
You will have to partner with digital solution providers and fix each problem that you are facing. For instance, we all know about GPS trackers for cars, but is your logistic fleet enabled with trackers too? That’s a question you need to answer.
Modernizing your operational machinery with Industrial IoT solutions will save you a lot more than it will cost you. For example, if you are running fleet operations, you can greatly reduce fuel costs by tracking the route of your vehicles and also scheduling services at the right time when needed for your fleet.
This stage is a gradual process, and the best way is to not rush through them. Go steady but analyze the changes very closely. If you notice anomalies and think the process output can be further improved, then make the necessary changes.
This can be considered a recurring stage as you will keep returning to this point as and when required. With ever-changing technology and new problems arising each day, some tweaks here and there would be necessary from time to time.
Once you have the whole digital ecosystem set up, you will be able to control your processes and, to a large extent, automate them. The next stage can be called the digital disruptor stage, as that’s where you get ahead of all your competitors.
3. Digital Dominance
Digital Transformation can take time, but once you reach the highest quartile of digitization in your industry, you can think about ways to achieve digital dominance and make the best use of technology.
This stage is not only about solving existing problems but finding ways to improve processes that are already doing well. You might think that’s not necessary, but before you know it, you will be left behind, while others might have caught on to it.
You don’t want to be left behind in the digital race, and hence it’s important to think this way. Attaining semi to full automation and utilizing data analytics are the two most important ways to go about it.
In the last stage, while digitizing all the processes, you might have used IoT sensors and software applications for optimization.
The data generated from those processes will now be used to understand your business in a deeper sense. Consider the data from a dash cam for trucks. You can even find driving patterns by using Artificial Intelligence on recorded videos and taking necessary steps.
For instance, you will be able to forecast what the coming months hold for you based on previous data and help you be prepared for it. You will be able to handle market fluctuations and natural calamities better than others when you have the ability to make things work even while sitting at home.
Digital Transformation is the need of the hour for every business, small or big. One of its biggest advantages is that the opportunities available to make this happen are immense, and the possibilities are endless if you are willing to take the step.
Don’t wait too long because the survival of the fittest is not just another theory. In the digital era, being fast and being technologically equipped means being the fittest.