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Digital Transformation

A huge buzzterm in business today is “Digital Transformation.” It’s not just moving from paper to Microsoft Word, or using Zoom for meetings! Learn how we recently helped a local lumber company revitalize the technology that is at the core of their business.

The Enterpriser’s Project defines Digital Transformation as:

…the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure. 1

Cultural change, experiments, and failure are not things most business owners want to confront head-on. It’s scary. Technology is also not a core competency or focus for many businesses, so there often isn’t a solid plan in place. This often leads to ad-hoc implementations that can causes issues over time.

Rob George (CWNA, CWDP, CAPM), Sr. Solutions Architect at SolutionInc:

So many companies are in this position – they have adopted technology because they had to, but they didn’t have a plan or a roadmap. Technology was adopted on an as-needed basis, which leads to bandaid situations. It becomes unmanageable from an IT perspective.

The Why

How important is this shift? A 2019 survey of directors, CEOs, and senior executives found that digital transformation risk was their number one concern. Why is it so important to businesses? Rob George believes there are two powerful reasons for companies to focus on this:

First, there is the marketing perspective – the image the company wants to portray in the market. They are leveraging the most current technology to be modern and a leader in their field. Customers would see that as appealing. Second, shareholders see it as appealing because it leads to reducing costs and increasing profits.

Rob George, Sr. Solutions Architect at SolutionInc

There are some companies who can continue to do business exactly as they always have, and they will continue to be successful. Most companies, however, do not want to be seen as the dinosaur in their industry who refuses to change and “get with the times.” Being perceived as a modern company can be an important differentiator. The second point is all about the bottom line. Business owners and shareholders want to shrink costs and maximize profits, and technology can be a vital part of that process.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the hand of nearly every business – they had to adapt or they would fail. This does not mean that all businesses have gone through a proper digital transformation. The opposite is true for most – they have adopted technology in a reactive way, without a plan.

As we move into the 2020s, it has become increasingly apparent that if businesses are to grow and compete, they must take steps to become more resilient, competitive, and responsive. Companies must develop and transform their digital landscape – starting from raw materials and the earliest supply chain tiers, to meeting rapidly changing customer demands for more personalized service and fulfillment, and to modernizing and innovating traditional business models. 2

A Fresh Start

SolutionInc recently worked with a local lumber company to fundamentally change the way they operated their business. Their technology had become a burden – their decisions were based on their equipment and individual vendors and there was no overarching technology plan. There was a mixture of technologies and vendors – 10 year old products and tech next to the latest and greatest. Those things don’t always work well together, which can cause issues. The way forward was finding efficiencies and reducing operational costs by clearing all of that legacy technology and going with a unified and complementary IT infrastructure that delivered the level of services they needed.

They were also able to leverage technology to increase safety. Sensors and cameras can be operated from 100 feet away in a safe control booth, allowing the technology to make decisions in a much more safe and efficient way.

After their digital transformation, the lumber company recognized many benefits, including:

Conclusion

These kinds of changes need to come from within, and start with a problem statement. Your company needs to ask questions: What can be improved? Which technologies can offer efficiencies? How can we make our customer experience better? How can we change our practices to become a modern, innovative company in all aspects? Everything else will flow from there, and you can engage experts like SolutionInc to help you transform.

Written by: Matt Corkum, Digital Content Manager.

  1. https://enterprisersproject.com/what-is-digital-transformation
  2. https://insights.sap.com/what-is-digital-transformation/
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