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Part 1

In this series of short articles, we’ll explain basic principles of digital transformation. In simple terms; we hope you find these useful. Feedback, questions, comments and additions are more than welcome.

First an explanation: digital transformation is about using digital technology to transform the way we work and live. Keep in mind though that digital technology in itself is not changing anything… only if we manage and use it, we – as individuals, owners, bosses, managers – can change things.

In business we want to increase revenues and reduce costs, by changing the eternal triangle: good, cheap and fast. So when you start on your transformation journey you will first need to define exactly what you want to achieve.

Check out this video:https://youtu.be/IhXek5USUa4

Part 2

Next step in the transformation journey is to think about your goals…Maybe you know them already – some examples:

Good – you want to improve the quality of your products or services, want to have happier customers and higher return percentages.

Cheap – you want to lower your costs of your salary administration, reduce data entry costs or inventory costs.

Fast – you want to deliver your goods faster to your stores or start home deliveries for your customers.

If you don’t we first need to do some analysis.

Find out more in this video: https://youtu.be/_UvNYtbQS4E 

Part 3

The analysis mentioned in the previous article will give you an idea about the areas to tackle.  By observing and measuring you will get an idea of the efficiency and quality of your organization and your people. An essential next step is to describe the current situation and think about the critical parameters that you want to improve: turnaround times, delivery times, number of FTE, overall costs… You need to define the current state and the desired state in terms of numbers. So not “I want to reduce staff cost” but “I want to run my accounting department with 2 people instead of 5”. Your goals need to be specific and measurable. 

Find out more in this video: https://youtu.be/H0uye-HuUk4

Part 4

Once we’ve defined what our ambitions are and have defined parameters (KPIs) to measure progress we can start to think about HOW to do that – that is:

Track 1: how to improve my current business model

But there’s another thing we need to do as well and that is:

Track 2: what else can we do

Maybe your current business model can be turned upside down or enhanced, maybe you want to go overseas or maybe you want to look at other distribution channels. I hate the term but this is where you have to ‘think out of the box’

Both tracks require a brainstorming session – or more than one..

Part 5

So what is that ‘brainstorming’. The business directory uses this definition “Process for generating creative ideas and solutions through intensive and freewheeling group discussion”.

So there are a few elements here:

  • Intensive
  • Freewheeling
  • Group

Part 6 

To start with the last element: you can’t do a proper session on your own, you need a group, which means that you will need to find business partners, colleagues, like minded individuals and employees.

Intensive implies that you need to time box the session and that you need to focus on the issues at hand.

Freewheeling means that every idea and every contribution is good. Capture everything and don’t discuss how useful the contribution is; you do that only later.

Ideally you do this in a room with a whiteboard or flipchart where 1 person writes everything down.

Subsequently – preferably a day or so later – you do an evaluation of the ideas, group them and start to make a to do list and an action plan. Now we’re getting somewhere.

You have been ‘brainstorming’ and you have list of wild and varied ideas. So now what?

Part 7

We are digitally transforming so in your brainstorming session you should have had some focus on the word digital; primary focus should be on how to use digital technology in servicing your customers and the bolder you are in your thinking, the more disruptive your business will change.

The word ‘disruptive’ is often used but remember:

  • Disruptive means you’re breaking down things
  • It’s should not be a goal in itself – if an idea is disruptive can only be concluded after the fact

 

So what you do is take all the ideas generated and label them for instance with the following labels: cheap, fast, complicated, easy etc

 

Next time we’re going to make choice then and talk about – finally – applying technology

 

So we’ve been brainstorming, we’ve classified ideas and we know what we want:

  • Improvements – implementing a bookkeeping solution or payroll package for instance
  • Drastic changes – opening a webshop

Slowly we’re moving now into the stage where we are applying digital technology

Part 8

The coming sessions we will talk about examples – ultimately we cannot prescribe the solution for you. We can help but that’s about where it stops.

 

Today let’s look at a simple restaurant: 1 or 2 people in the kitchen a few people in the front, a manager and maybe 50 seats. There’s only 1 outlet and the owner / manager wants to increase productivity and margin. The kitchen staffing is tight as it is but in the front there’s some efficiency to be gained. The target is to be able to run the outlet with only 1 waiter.

So what options does the owner have:

  • Pen and paper
  • Put tablets on every table for guests to orderiPad
  • Connect the tablet to the kitchen
  • Connect the tablet to the administration and ordering systems
  • Skip the tablets and develop a mobile App for guests to order

 

Crucial is to weigh costs and benefits of the options and implement the chosen solution well; cost savings and productivity gains don’t happen like that.They need to be realized. 

Find out more here: https://youtu.be/1z6oX2zNKM8

Part 9 

The coming sessions we will talk about examples – ultimately we cannot prescribe the solution for you. We can help but that’s about where it stops.

Two stories

The concept of car sharing, park & ride and carpooling, all exist for a long time. It never really took off though coz it was too much trouble to find somebody in the same place, with the same destination at roughly the same time. Digital technology, WhatsApp and services like GrabShare have made it possible. All digital transformation

Another example is about bus schedules. In the past passengers had to know that a bus (with certainty) that the bus would be on time to plan their journey. The onus was on the bus driver to ensure that the bus service was on schedule. As a passenger nowadays you have an app that tells you when the bus arrives which makes it much easier to plan your journey. No more waiting at the bus stop..

We can all come up with examples of how digital technology has changed our lives. Think about it and see how to apply it in your business.

The coming sessions we will talk about examples – ultimately we cannot prescribe the solution for you. We can help but that’s about where it stops.

Find out more here: https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=hx7iOpvXRnc