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How to scale up your business using technology

The COVID-19 pandemic impacts have accelerated the need for technology investments for all sizes of businesses. To stand out, increase your competitiveness and profitability in the challenging market environment, you must embrace digital technology at all levels. This will help you reduce your cost of operations, minimize errors, increase your efficiency, speed up processes and increase the returns of your inputs.

How To Succeed in The New Business Environment (02:17)

The impact of the pandemic on SMEs has been quite severe. Approximately 2 million jobs were lost at the beginning of the pandemic; however, more than 90% of the jobs have been recuperated during the recovery.

With the economy’s recovery, the business environment is taking a new turn, and we are following four trends.

  1. Online business

Online business is taking over, and it’s Christmas every month. Online sales have tripled as more consumers are buying and will continue buying online even after the pandemic. Many businesses understand the potential of online business, and they are increasing their presence online to benefit from the growing market.

According to a BDC survey report, 62% of businesses will increase their online offers, and 69% of businesses are estimated to increase their online marketing to improve their productivity.

2. Teleworking will remain popular

More people are working from home today, and the number is speculated to increase with more businesses adopting the technology. From the BDC report, 93% of SMEs will increase their remote staff and telework level within the next 12 months.

3. Businesses will invest more in technologies

Investing in technology has helped many businesses cope with the impact of the pandemic as they were able to benefit from new revenue channels by reducing their operational cost and increasing their productivity. From the BDC statistics, 64% of the businesses that invested in technology in 2020 reported that technology has helped them cope with the economic downturn and will continue to embrace more technological advancement.

4. More labour shortages

As the economy is stabilizing and rebounding, labour is becoming a challenge, and more businesses are suffering from labour shortages restricting their ability to meet market demand. There are no magic solutions to labour problems, but there are strategies that you can employ to navigate successfully, including:

  • Profile your brand image as a good employer and increase your company’s visibility among job seekers.
  • Target underutilized segments of the labour force, including newcomers who have less experience.
  • Invest in technology to reduce your need for workers. Always be on the lookout for new technologies to automate your operations.

Why Digitalization is A Necessity for Your Business

Technology has become a necessity for businesses to remain productive in the business environment. However, investing in technology is only half the battle. To reap the full benefits of your investments, you need efficient operations and champions from businesses that support your digitalization process. The rise of big players in the market and the increasing use of technology has changed the business environment in different ways:

  • Clients’ expectations have changed, and customers expect the same level of services provided by big companies from your business. 
  • Recruiting a skilled workforce and embracing telework is becoming a critical aspect in enhancing productivity for many businesses.
  • It’s becoming more difficult to survive and hard to grow without investing in technology.

Where to get started in your Digital Technology

Technology shift from manual and paperwork to technology application is a must for any business that wants to increase its visibility in the market. Technology will enable you to bring all the information and operation in your organization in one place for effective management, decision making, and communication. Identifying your immediate technology needs and looking for appropriate tools remains critical in adopting new tools as this determines your future digitalization success. To start your digital transition, begin by:

  • Create a digital strategy that bridges the gap between your overall objective and tactics used by different departments in your organization to target the most profitable digital initiatives. This strategy will help prioritize projects that align with your business objectives, link various projects, and prioritize initiatives with the most significant impact.

  • Digital transformation is not all about technology go beyond just investing in digital tools. Technology must go hand in hand with efforts in

  1. Optimizing key processes
  2. Creating a digital cultural change
  3. Enhancing information integration

  1. Optimizing key processes (18:52)

A process is a series of activities that must occur in a given sequence. The goal of any process you adopt should be to create value for your customers—taking a step back and reflecting on how things are being done and areas that need improvement.

Process analysis can help you identify loopholes and new opportunities to help increase your efficiency. Once the broken processes are streamlined, technology can be introduced to enable your operations. There are several symptoms that indicate the need for process analysis, including:

  • Delay in schedule and missing deadlines 
  • Quality issues with your product or services
  • Reactive work or rework
  • Customer complaints and unhappy customers

Process optimizations involve various activities that you must be complete to identify the broken processes, and there is a lot you can do to come up with solutions. You can start by:

  • Process mapping to identify the broken processes that need improvement and the waste to eliminate
  • Clarify your teams’ roles and responsibilities 
  • Use operations monitors such as dashboards to help you identify key performance indicators for your organization

Integrate technologies to increase performance, efficiency, and customer satisfaction

2. Cultural Change

A successful digital transformation will also involve a cultural change in your organization. The key to success in developing the right digital philosophy is involving your staff at all levels of your company in analyzing and improving digital applications in your processes.

Embracing digital technology will help improve communication, create synergy, break silos and improve decision making. Digitalization enhances the inclusion of all your staff in the processes through collaboration and consensus, making digital technology the best in enhancing cultural change and continuous improvement.

In summary, optimizing your critical processes and introducing a digital cultural change is essential in achieving successful digital transformation.

Tips To Successful Adoption of a digital culture

Introducing digital technology should lead to a digital-based culture in your organization at any given time. Digital culture can enable your business to implement change quickly and more effectively. Factors to consider in promoting a robust digital culture include:

  • Have a strong digital vision and strategy
  • Optimize leadership support systems
  • Proper planning on change, engage your employees from the beginning and get feedback from them on, ongoing basis to make sure they are all aligned
  • Creating an environment that enhances collaboration across your organization
  • Establish digital governance by appointing experienced persons to oversee the overall implementation of change
  • Appointed champions who will help implement change and support the governing system

3. Integration Information

The main aim of any technology is to enhance data utilization to make fast and informed decisions across your organization at all levels. Lack of proper technology applications can make your business suffer from inadequate data and lack of trust in the available limited data. Adopting appropriate technological tools is vital to alleviate error, break down information, isolate decision-making and inconsistency. To choose the best tools that address these issues, consider:

  • Choose an all-in-one system that links all your business systems together across your organization
  • Prioritize your data use, know what you need to measure, have measurement tools in place, accumulating data (dashboard), and analyze all the database to enhance your decision-making to improve your efficiency and productivity
  • Decentralize, optimize and accelerate decision making

Technology investment must be supported by an initiative to improve your operational efficiency for successful digital transformation. Use the three formulas for a successful digital transformation: optimizing key processes, culture change, and integrating information to guarantee the best results.

How Much To Allocate For Digital Strategy (35:57)

There is no first rule on how much you should allocate to your digital strategy since every business has its unique digital needs and different financial capabilities. The general rules of thumb that can help you in planning your financial digital strategy success include:

  • Identify your immediate business needs and invest only in the right technology.
  • Look at the broader strategy and identify projects that you can implement quickly.
  • Prioritize processes that have the quickest impact on your business revenue.
  • Reinvest returns from the technology in subsequent technology improvements.

Tips On Choosing the Right Technology System (47:02)

Businesses often consider a technology system as complex and isolated projects. In reality, technology should be considered as a business project aimed at integrating and linking your operation together to increase your efficiency. There are endless technology solutions offered in the market, and selecting the most appropriate can be daunting, but the best way to choose the right tools is to:

  • Identify your customers’ needs and expectations and design your business technology model to address them.
  • Identify the process you want to enable with technology to increase their efficiency.
  • Define the process of identifying and implementing the tools, take a stage-to-stage approach and roll it out gradually to ensure the process is successful.
  • Engage with industry experts to help you identify appropriate tools for your business’s unique landscape. Software’s working for businesses in your industry and line of production may not work for the same for you.

How To Use Kaizen Framework in Enhance Cultural Change (52:26)

Kaizen simply means change for the better, and it provides steps that can help you engage your employees constructively to increase your overall outcome. The framework is based on continuous engagement, which is the baseline for its success. Enhancing change is not a one-time activity but a continuous project built on consistent input and to make the process more effective:

  • Appoint champions to help you in creating change, train them consistently on problem-solving, lean operations, and continuous improvement
  • Create an internal team lead by the champions to help you actively implement change within your organization
  • Take gradual, incremental steps on how you are doing things to align all the employees with the required mindset using your champions.

Source:

Customer Experience BDC

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