Picking up from where we left off, the section of Digital Transformation knowledge share would have to continue to amaze you, our dearest reader, by showing how to go digital in style. What do we mean about style? Well, the answer is efficiency.
The impact of Digital Transformation can be huge in every area of your business. By going on this path, you will define and shape your foreseeable future. So, why not make it fair and square, by touching every single button in your company and uncover even the most hidden needs that could turn out to be pure gold if you address them.
Let’s begin with an exercise of imagination! Think of the people in your office, having discussions about food options minutes before the lunch break. They know for sure that they are hungry, but they don’t know exactly what to order. The reason is that there are too many menu options and they are not familiar with the terminology used in the description and the list of ingredients. Thus, they cannot take a decision, not being clear if they will like how their food choice will be cooked, if it will be too sweet/salty/spicy for their taste or will cause them allergies. As a result, they remain hungry long after lunch due to prolonged discussions. The solution here is to call a specialist that will discuss with every single one of them, finding what they like, what diets are following and finally if they are allergic to some ingredients. Based on the outcome of the survey, he will be able to propose the best dish for every single person. Now the food order can be made, guaranteeing that everyone will be happy with their selection.
Let’s map the previous analogy with Digital Transformation. The hunger is your need to become or to remain successful in a competitive environment that is continuously changing and where new challengers continuously appear. This can always be achieved by increasing your business efficiency and address the list of planned objectives that you set up for the short, medium and long terms. The food specialist could be represented by someone in your organization or a specialized company like Cicada Technologies, that will run a set of surveys and interviews regarding every operational aspect, map all the business processes and moderate brainstorming sessions for identifying the most suited solution for your particular case. The restaurant is the software house while the food order is the digital solution that will be implemented for your company. Exactly like a high-quality dish, the delivered digital solution will keep you healthy and give you the needed power to do what you are good at. It is important to understand that exactly like hunger, the need for Digital Transformation will appear again, thus the entire process has to be reiterated continuously at regular time intervals, depending on the dynamicity of the domain in which you activate.
Now, if you decide to make your own company audit, you can start that by opening the door of every department and start gathering the complete set of information regarding how things are done, the existing ways of working and operational processes executed. The best way to document this phase is by using the Business Process Modeling approach. The outcome will be an analytical representation of the current processes in your organization, giving you a clear picture of the interactions, actors, and data flows, being a starting point for all the meetings focused on eliminating inefficiencies. Last but not least, you will need to gather the feedback regarding the overall experience of your customers, employees and suppliers.
Step 1: Model existing processes — by using Business Process Modeling techniques, you can put all details of the process you are working with, down on paper.
Step 2: Identify Inefficiencies & Potential Improvements by answering to questions like:
· How well is the process performing?
· Is it reasonable efficient?
· Is it meeting operational goals?
· Are there any steps in the process that’s overly wasteful?
The mindset of the survey is to find out what is working well and what could be improved in every department. This can be implemented as a set of surveys ran on your customers, employees and suppliers. This step is the best way to create a first list of possible improvements that could be implemented after furthered refinement, gathered directly from the actors that are the most affected by them.
Step 3: Design the To-Be Processes — Design the new and improved procesess depending on your findings in step 2. The actions that will be taken in this step are:
· Add, eliminate or change steps in the operational process
· Automate or speed up some steps by starting to use a specialized software solution. The solution could be a generic one available on the market or a custom made one, specially tailored on your current needs.
· Deciding to stop using multiple digital solutions for several operational steps and create a single digital platform that will improve your efficiency and give you a better overview and control.
Step 4: Design the solution — Also known as the discovery phase, each planned change will be addressed one by one, composing the digital product planned to be developed. For guaranteed results, this step must be executed together with a specialized digitalization company. This is the only way to be sure that your future investment will be efficient while getting the expected results.
To make things clear, this step is similar with making the architectural project and all the needed structural calculations before starting to build your dream house. In digitalization terms, in this phase, a full and complete set of specifications will be created to clearly state every single functional aspect.
Exactly like the drawings of the future house that the architect is delivering, the digital product designer will create the UI/UX designs for all the screens of the digital solution. This way, you know from the beginning how the user experience will be, from the perspective of every actor. In this phase you have the opportunity to visualize every creative idea that you have regarding your dream software solution, one that you will love to interact with.
Step 5: Plan a budget — After the deliverable created in the 4’th step, containing the clear set of requirements, you can start planning the budget. Of course, that in order for the Digital Transformation iteration to be a success, the gains over the next 3 to 5 years (translated in financial terms) after implementing the planned solution, should be considerably higher than the investment needed to be done.
Market survey will be the next logical step, where you start asking for quotations to have your project implemented. As long as you are within the budget, taking the lowest offer is not always the smart choice. You have to discuss about the implementation process and how close will the software provider work with you. This way you will continuously know what is the current status of the project while being implemented and making sure that all the specifications are respected.
It would be a shame to stop here with our knowledge sharing set of articles, so stay tuned for the next one where we will explain how to best manage some of the above steps.