The term “digital transformation” can mean different things to different laypeople. But in information technology, it’s a hot topic. Businesses that overlook it may be missing out on a big opportunity. Simply put, digital transformation is a process whereby digital technology is integrated into every part of your business. It changes the way you work, and how you serve your clients. It may mean you need to change too!

With just about everything you do having some connection with the software, both in the cloud and on-site, you may think that you’ve achieved digital transformation already, but the keyword here is “integration.” It is achieved, managed, and maintained with the help of an Application Programming Interface or API. An API allows you to create new applications that connect you with the functionality or data of operating systems and other applications, bringing them together into a single, highly efficient system. But before you start thinking about API management solutions, an area in which you’ll need specialist help, it’s time to take a step back and do some thinking. 

What Do You Want Digital Transformation to Achieve for You?

Because the nuts and bolts of digital transformation are pretty technical, it may be tempting to simply say “Digital Transformation is a big trend. Let’s go!” But you need to take a deep breath first and think about what your ultimate goals are. These are things you already know. Perhaps you want better coordination of processes. You might want to improve user-friendliness. Or perhaps it’s the customer experience that needs improving.

Once you know what your priorities are, it’s time to start talking to consultants. What do they recommend? What are the costs? What process will they follow? How secure will your business’s data be? Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and listen carefully to the answers you receive. 

At the end of this thought and consultation process, you’ll have a clear picture of what you want to achieve through digital transformation

Why is Digital Transformation so Important?

With an estimated 80 percent of businesses doing at least some things in the cloud, you’re probably no exception. The good news is that you don’t have to throw away heritage systems that work for you. Plus you’ll probably have at least some of your operations being managed by on-site servers. Digital transformation joins the dots between all these points of contact to form one, seamless system. Let’s look at the benefits this implies. 

Data collection is something that all businesses do. But organizing data so that you can analyze it and draw valid conclusions is often less easy. Digital transformation solves the problem by making it easy for you to draw on data from multiple sources for rapid decision-making. 

Let’s also remember that software and databases are resource intensive, and there’s often overlap. So, if your company is using 900 different applications, which isn’t unrealistic in a complex enterprise, are all of them really necessary? Your digital transformation helps you to declutter and use your information and resources more effectively. 

With fewer gaps between components of your business processes, and with greater user-friendliness comes improved efficiency. Coupled with better data access and analysis, you’ll be able to improve your customer experience. That’s two benefits in one!

What are Business Leaders Saying?

According to an Oxford Economics survey, 74 percent of business leaders see digital transformation as the key to raising customer satisfaction, and along with that, enhancing their profitability. 72 percent believe that they’ll be able to innovate faster, implementing new concepts and methods more quickly – and 71 percent say that they expect these new ideas to be successful. 

More than half of the companies surveyed are of the opinion that they’ll get market insights more quickly and effectively and, as a result, be more competitive and better able to break into new markets. At the same time, most business leaders look forward to greater efficiency and an improved ability to automate operational processes.

Transform, Innovate, Grow

The word “transformation” can make all of this seem rather scary. Transformation implies radical change and a step outside your comfort zone. But the truth is rather palatable. It’s possible to set the pace for change. Radical change is often beset with problems: things that don’t work as they should, employees becoming frustrated, and clients having unpleasant experiences. A measured approach lets you prioritize, test, and comfortably implement change one step at a time. 

The world is changing the way it does business: what it expects, and what it achieves. The question may not be whether you should consider digital transformation, but rather, whether you can afford not to.

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