Digital Transformation was a buzzy phrase in the early 2000s as businesses began migrating from traditional paper records to computerized management. And now, the term has resurfaced and has become one of the top priorities among small businesses.
There are few driving factors behind our current obsession with digital transformation for small businesses. But first…
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation (also referred to as DX) is the change that occurs with widespread adoption of digital technology. The transformation enables new innovations rather than building onto existing solutions.
In the past decade alone, we’ve seen several examples of digital transformation: the paperless revolution, video streaming services, cloud technology, and store-specific apps for food delivery, curbside grocery pickup, and transportation.
The weight of DX on small businesses usually comes from the fear of being left behind. How many companies do you know that don’t have a website or Facebook page, or use typewriters to create their documents and forms, or house all their data in non-digital formats?
But true digital transformation isn’t just about keeping up with changing technology – more importantly, it’s about innovating to improve business and remain competitive.
What Does DX Look Like for Small Businesses?
Anyone can replace paper documents with PDFs or hard-copy forms with e-forms. But that doesn’t mean you’re digitally transformed – it simply means you’re digitized.
An honest-to-goodness digital transformation should completely alter the way things have always been done. A strong strategy and a growth mindset should be at the forefront of these changes.
The cloud, in particular, is helping small businesses to create DX like never before.
Let’s take a page from the Salesforce playbook: They branched away from both traditional out-of-the-box and company-specific software solutions to create a model that’s customizable and scalable for all of its users, making it a cost-effective replacement to traditional CRM solutions. It eliminated the need for on-site IT infrastructure related to CRM. It provides off-site access. It automated time-consuming processes. It simplified tasks. And it ushered in a new era of data collection, organization, and analytics.
As a result, many small companies using Salesforce CRM are improving customer relationships and including Salesforce in their digital transformation initiatives.
Salesforce isn’t the only one (in fact, many businesses have modeled their services after Salesforce), but they continue to be the example of what true digital transformation looks like, especially when you think of what CRMs looked like 10 years ago.
The Current Push for DX in Small Businesses
The cloud is largely responsible for this newfound interest in DX for small businesses. Cloud-based solutions are making it easier and more cost-effective for smaller companies to take advantage of some of the same luxuries as larger corporations.
In addition, small businesses are recognizing the value in tracking and automating processes. Doing so gives companies more control over their business while also cutting manual tasks and associated costs. In fact, Marketing Automation systems like HubSpot and Pardot streamline many time-consuming processes for creating email drip campaigns to boost productivity and sales.
Digital transformation provides much to be excited about, but that excitement largely relies on choosing the right areas to transform. Upgrading for the sake of making a change simply won’t deliver the best results.
With corporations and small businesses alike clamoring to keep up with rapidly evolving technologies, it’s all too easy to lose sight of why you’re really part of the DX movement.
Remember that simply investing in new technology because it seems like the next logical step isn’t going to do your small business any favors. Rather, your upgrades need to support your primary business goals if you want the biggest benefit.