As a small business, there’s no getting around digital transformation.
Digital transformation has enabled small businesses to replace manual processes or older technologies by adopting new and improved digital offerings. If you think hard about how your business operated five years ago compared to today, you’d be able to identify all the areas that have undergone digital transformation.
Ai. API. Analytics. We’re just at the letter “A,” and you can just imagine the digital transformation changes that are possible with the other twenty-five letters in the alphabet. What are the benefits (and drawbacks) of digital transformation for small businesses?
We asked seven small business owners and leaders about how digital transformation has benefited their businesses.
As an RV rental company that was founded in 1972, we’ve had to evaluate how digital transformation impacts travel. The positive is that personalization has always been a key component of our business, and digital transformation further allows us to personalize the customer service experience. By leveraging data and executing service tactics, like sending out personalized email campaigns with relevant travel destinations, is something that is a focal point in our digital strategy.
Randall Smalley, Cruise America
All of our systems speak to each other through APIs (application programming interfaces). Asana, our project management platform, integrates with Harvest, our time-tracking software. Pipedrive, our sales CRM, integrates with Mailchimp, our email marketing platform. The API connections make integrations possible. This saves small businesses like ours an infinite amount of time and improves the speed at which we are able to operate.
Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
Securely Accessible Systems
One of the major benefits of digital transformation for small businesses has been felt keenly during the coronavirus pandemic — that is, how easy it is for a business to operate remotely. At myhrtoolkit, we had digitized all of our business processes for data security purposes, in advance of our ISO 27001 certification, and this served us well when we all started working remotely because all our systems were securely accessible from anywhere. Digitization helps small businesses become more agile and flexible in times of change, so is well worth pursuing in this respect.
Camille Brouard, Myhrtoolkit
It Keeps You in the Competition
The benefits of a digital transformation have been laid bare this year above any others. Small businesses that already have a digital presence were far less affected by the pandemic than those that had no digital presence. It makes your company far more competitive and accessible, even to those in your community. The biggest drawback is that, once you go digital, it will never end. Technology is constantly advancing. What was accepted as the newest and hottest tech today will be outdated and deprecated tomorrow. Digital transformation requires at least as much an investment of time as it does of money.
Phil Strazzulla, Select Software Reviews
Converting Your Audience to Paying Customers
With digital transformation, a small business will find it easier to find and convert their audience into paying customers. However, doing this today is not as easy as you have to compete with a large number of businesses. There’s also the issue where you need to invest in several tools and may soon find that you’re putting in a great deal of money and working with many platforms that do not work together. However, in general, digital transformation is essential and the benefits far outweigh the costs.
Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
Holding Company Values Accountable
The benefit of a digital transformation is the opportunity to leverage emerging technologies in such a way to accelerate innovation and effectiveness in an organization. The downside is that no amount of technology can compensate for a dysfunctional culture that lacks alignment around core values. Timeless strategies are timeless while the underlying tactics are always changing. Double down on the values and strategies that will be just as relevant a hundred years from now as it is today. From there, be as progressive as your organization can responsibly endure as you chart out your technical evolution.
Lukas Ruebbelke, Briebug
Ability to Offer Services Worldwide
One of the benefits of digital transformation is that it can help you reach a much larger audience. For example, in the past, we operated in-person and our operations were restricted to a few major US cities. After our digital transformation, we now offer services worldwide. The potential for revenue growth and stability is high. One drawback is that the same growth comes with complexities. For example, if you have ever tried to navigate the Indonesian tax system as a foreign company, then you know there is substantial paperwork and process involved. You will find similar challenges with each additional region.
Michael Alexis, Teambuilding