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Transformation vs Transition - the Sequel

In a recent blog post titled “Most Customers Have it Wrong”, I outlined how many businesses say they went through a Digital Transformation when really it was a Digital Transition. The two are very different things.

Not sure of the difference? A Digital Transition is moving your existing systems and processes to a digital platform. A Digital Transformation is when you modify and improve your systems and processes using a technology platform.

There are three core areas a business can Digitally Transform.

- Customer Experience - Internal Operations - Business Model.

In the last blog post I talked about Customer Experience transformation. In this post I will talk about using technology to transform your Internal Operations.

Internal Operations can mean many things. Some examples are;

- Quote to Cash - Managing Cashflow - Production Management - Quality Control - Customer Service - Repair/Warranty Management

These are just a few, every business has some form of these and many others.

Digitally Transforming your operations requires you to understand, assess and decide what your process is, what it could be and how it will be implemented. Think of it like stepping through a matrix like the one below.

Step 1 - Understand the Current Process State

What is the current business process and how does it function? Is it documented and are there dependent systems or processes?

Step 2 – Assess the Current Process State

Is it the right process? Is there room for improvement in its current state? How effective is the process now?

Step 3 – Decide on the Current Process State

If left as is, will the process function reliably and effectively? Is everybody in agreement on how the process is being executed currently? Is there room for improvement?

Step 4 – Understand the Future Process State

This is the biggest and hardest of the nine steps, and typically where an IT Vendor is needed (like 😊). Research and understand what technology is available and re envision how the process could adapt and evolve?

Step 5 – Assess the Future Process State

What technology and social acceptance (change management) barriers are limiting you from achieving this process transformation? What are the benefits of evolving your process from its current state?

Step 6 – Decide on the Future Process State

Decide if you are moving forward with the evolution and transformation of your process.

Step 7 – Understand the Implementation of the New Process

Implementation of new technology and processes can happen in many ways. Understand the different implementation approaches and the pros and cons to each.

Step 8 – Assess the Implementation of the New Process

Consider the positive and negative impacts of the new technology and process. How will you react to both and what systems are needed to support the new and improved process?

Step 9 – Decide on the Implementation of the New Process

Seldom is it one process alone Digitally Transformed. Decide how many interconnected processes will you implement and where the cut off is for keeping your legacy processes.

The nine-point step outlined might seem generic, but it accentuates the idea of not putting the cart before the horse. Do not decide on the technology and then pick what processes you want to Digitally Transform. It should be the other way around. Sure, the technology will inform what process you might address first, but first and foremost should be the areas of the business most in need to improving to drive operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Going through a Digital Transformation of your Internal Operations is part driven by technology but a very large part is about seeing and understanding what is possible and having a good plan in place to succeed.

Updating your website with new lead capture forms and dumping that data into a CRM system to try and create more quotes, make more sale and generate cash is a Digital Transition.

Changing how you interact with your Prospect online, feeding them data and information driven by their actions, informing them to pick the right product/solution. Automatically provision the Prospect as a Customer defining credit terms and pricelist through machine learning. Enable Customer self ordering and inventory allocation in real-time and then have payment and collection happen electronically. That is a Digital Transformation.

Sure, one is more complicated than the other, but the Digital Transformation is scalable and can run 24/7 with little human input.

Digital Transformation can be hard, but often it is the hard changes that yield the most benefit. When you are ready to talk about what a Digital Transformation of your business might look like, give us a shout. While we can't sit down face to face and have a coffee right now, we can have a Microsoft Teams meeting and whiteboard ideas of how your business can evolve and improve.


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