Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted multi line phone system for small business that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives.
The world of business has seen rapid changes in the last few years and continues to evolve, with what seems like new developments and technology breaking through on a regular basis. Adapting to these changes is essential for any modern organization that wants to compete in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Across every sector, digital transformation is revolutionizing how you work and how your business operates. In the manufacturing sector alone, digital transformation was valued at $263.93 billion in 2020. That figure is expected to soar to $767.82 billion by 2026. It’s quickly becoming clear that organizations that don’t embrace digital transformation will be left behind.
But what exactly is digital transformation? How do you ensure that your company is adapting to the needs of an ever-changing market? Which tools would best serve your business as you adapt to the changes? We look at the top five digital transformation tools you should be considering as part of your journey into the new era of business.
Essentially, digital transformation is the process of a business integrating new digital technology into relevant (sometimes all) areas of its business. It’s not only a question of obtaining new hardware, software, and systems but also adapting your company culture to embrace these new technologies and change how they deliver services to their customer base.
It’s a transformation that’s crucial to both survival and growth, whether you’re an SME or a large enterprise. However, it’s worth noting that digital transformation may look different depending on the type of business you operate. A manufacturing business may adopt large-scale automation, while an ecommerce business will be looking at technology that improves the customer journey.
As has been mentioned, the level and types of digital transformation may differ between business types. However, there are some common tools that can be of benefit, no matter the sector you operate in.
Every business needs to communicate, both internally with other staff and externally with customers, suppliers, partners, logistics, and so on. Moving to using digital communication tools can start with moving to an enterprise VoIP system that allows you to then integrate a range of other tools as well as elevate the efficiency of your communications dramatically.
By moving to a digital communication platform, you “bring together” everyone you need to communicate with in ways that email and traditional phone systems could never achieve. You can have a wide choice of tools that can integrate with your platform that centralizes all the information needed by your staff in the day-to-day tasks they’re involved in.
Having a digital communication platform as the foundation of your communications strategy means that any needed information is a mere mouse click away, and that information can be circulated not only among your staff but also among any relevant stakeholders. It provides an environment that can help foster better collaborative practices and improve productivity.
With 58.6% of the US workforce working in remote or hybrid models, moving to digital communications is essential. Integrating enterprise call center software offers a range of digital options that ensure your agents deliver the best possible service to callers. For any company offering remote working, a good communication platform can keep your teams in touch.
When it comes to collaboration, digital transformation tools can enhance existing tools and take teamwork to a new level. You may have remote teams, staff working in different geographical locations, or even be working with external partners on projects, but being able to digitally link all relevant personnel can mean it’s almost like working in the same room.
Most team collaboration technology tools are cloud-based so that all stakeholders and staff can access and share the information they need quickly and easily. Being able to access and share that info in real time means that staff members don’t need to wait for replies to emails or for necessary info to be forwarded to them.
There is a wide range of collaboration suites you can consider. These will usually offer a variety of tools, such as email, instant messaging, video conferencing, information storage and sharing, project management, and much more. By bringing together tasks such as scheduling within one tool, you can help your staff collaborate far better than with traditional systems.
Beyond collaboration, using these suites and tools lets you manage data better, allowing for more informed business and operational decisions. Combined with your communication platform and tools, you can organize work and other activities better across your whole organization and be better prepared for any new technological developments.
Every business has customers of some type, and customer relationship management (CRM) plays a crucial role in maintaining the relationships you have with your customers. Good relationships mean happier customers, something that’s crucial in a competitive world where customers usually have more choice than ever before.
A good CRM tool/system can be an essential part of your digital transformation. It not only stores all information on a customer’s previous interactions and business with you, but it can also keep track of their changing expectations, as well as help you schedule appointments.
Your CRM system also allows you to automate mundane tasks such as invoicing as well as shortening the sales cycle.
Of course, different businesses will have different needs when it comes to CRM. The needs of a contact center may differ greatly from those of a manufacturer. What that means, in reality, is that you should look closely at what a CRM tool offers.
You should also be considering how well a particular system will integrate with existing tools, especially your communication platform. For example, will your email finder software work with your new CRM?
You should also be making an informed decision as to whether you need a cloud-based CRM or an on-premises system will meet your needs.
CRM can combine with AI to provide detailed analytics that can help you make strategic decisions that benefit you and your customers and can ensure you stay a step ahead of your competitors by providing a better customer experience.
When considering what digital transformation tools you should opt for, look at the cloud. Including cloud storage in your digitalization plan is crucial. It offers multiple benefits, but the most obvious is that it means that any stored info can be accessed by anyone from anywhere, as long as they have a stable internet connection.
Moving to cloud storage allows any business to deploy quickly and to scale up and down as business needs dictate. It also elevates your overall management of all your information and data so that you can get a far better overview of what you need. And, of course, there’s no need for costly on-premises hardware, so you can reduce the costs involved.
With more and more of the workforce working remotely, with meetings conducted via video conferencing software and staff on the road for sales trips and attending conferences or similar, cloud-based data means instant access in real time.
That accessibility can be crucial to many businesses that have shifting models of operations but that need to be able to make decisions in real time.
Another huge advantage of cloud-based solutions is security. Your data may be worth more than gold, and with increasing regulatory frameworks such as GDPR, being able to protect sensitive information is a prerequisite. Even without regulatory or compliance requirements, you want to know that your data is well-protected, and cloud storage ensures that.
Nearly every business needs some form of project management tool, whether to manage short, simple projects or to help with more complex projects with multiple components and many people contributing. Therefore, this could be an important digital transformation tool to include in any changing strategy.
As with other tools, needs may differ according to your business type. However, you should be considering a tool that increases your teams’ efficiency and quickens the time to market of any product being developed. It’s also essential that you not only choose the tool that meets your needs best but that you roll that tool out across your organization as a whole.
Depending on the project, there may be multiple staff members involved. They may be located in diverse locations and may even be working remotely. So, you want a tool that can connect all those involved and keeps track of individual tasks and schedules. Your tool should also allow for easy sharing of documents and other files.
A good project management tool should also automate repetitive tasks and send out email alerts for impending deadlines to avoid bottlenecks that can delay other tasks and the overall project itself. It should also be able to automatically update all stakeholders whenever there’s a change in the status of the project.
There are multiple aspects to embracing digital transformation, from considering the best communication platform to identifying enterprise microservices that may help you. Given the differing needs of businesses and the many tools and systems available on the market, this is a process you should approach cautiously to ensure you make the right decisions.
If you’re delaying the digital transformation of your organization for any reason, you should carefully consider that decision. With so many businesses having already made that transformation, there’s a real danger that your competitors could leave you far behind. With so many benefits to be gained, can you really afford to keep delaying?
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted multi line phone system for small business that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Jenna Bunnell also published articles for domains such as Attention Insight and Traffit. Check out her LinkedIn profile.