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What is digital transformation?


What is it?

Technological progress has changed the face of the world, whether in our interpersonal relationships, the way we consume a product or service, or in so many other aspects of social life. In the business world, being responsive to constant market changes and customer needs is fundamental to a company's survival. It goes without saying that to remain relevant and competitive, some changes are necessary, and one of the most popular ways to achieve this is through digital transformation. By definition, digital transformation or e-transformation is the process by which an organization fully integrates digital technologies into all of its activities.

Why transform and what problem are we solving?

According to the Digital Transformation Observatory, such a transformation aims at optimizing processes and significantly improving the digital experience for the customer (user experience - UX). Thanks to this digital transformation, companies can experiment with the benefits of a multichannel approach while benefiting from the data collected to better target their service offerings and target customers. Digital transformation is also an essential driver of economic recovery. Take, for example, the health crisis (Covid-19), where technology played a crucial role in business continuity, whether to support telecommuting, online sales, digitization of contracts, etc.

For RCGT, transformation means:

  • Adapting to new consumer habits

  • Aligning processes for better operational coherence

  • Digitization of the customer journey: creating a digital experience to stand out from the competition

  • Digitization of operations: reducing our dependence on humans

  • Digitization of the supply chain: for better agility

Is transformation for you?

Although digital transformations are beneficial and necessary for all types of businesses and industries, a small number of SMEs have begun the transformation. In this regard, the BDC has conducted several studies over the past five years to understand the benefits of the digital revolution and how SMEs can benefit from it.

Overall, the BDC estimates that only one in five Canadian companies has achieved a high level of digital maturity, and more than half display a low level of maturity. Another survey conducted by the BDC indicates that only 19% of Canadian companies are advanced in digital terms. Yet, in a world where connectivity, automation, and data reign supreme, companies must adopt new technologies to avoid being left behind.

When to take the plunge?

The million-dollar question! When is the right time to start your digital transformation project? Well, the answer is now! "Digital transformation is a tool, not an end in itself," explains Sébastien Houle, general manager at Productique Québec, a college center for technology transfer (CCTT) that has been helping companies achieve their business goals through technology for over 35 years. Regardless of your current situation, digital must be seen as an opportunity because in business, the status quo is not an option, and it generally offers no advantage. On the other hand, despite the positive effects, there may be some challenges that some companies or entrepreneurs will face, such as:

  • Fear of failure Resistance to change from your staff

  • Growing labor shortages

  • Lack of know-how and expertise

  • Budget constraints

How to proceed? There is no universal model or turnkey digital transformation template. However, regardless of the school of thought, methodology, or literature available on the subject, there is almost unanimous agreement on the following key success factors:

01- Involving your employees:

  • People are at the heart of transformation!

  • Ensure clear communication of the change and what it entails;

  • Have ambassadors within the user community;

  • Involve them in the process as soon as possible.

02- Create a good digital strategy that allows you to:

  • Place technology at the heart of your business strategy;

  • Choose technologies that align with your business objectives;

  • Establish links between various projects and services;

  • Prioritize the most advantageous initiatives for your business;

  • Put cybersecurity at the forefront.

03- Development of a roadmap:

  • Identify quick wins;

  • Prioritize essential systems that form the basis for future developments;

  • Adopt an iterative and progressive approach;

  • Find a provider who will guide you, taking into account your context and interests.

04- Automate repetitive tasks and integrate your management systems:

  • Set up an integrated ecosystem, taking into account your systems, those of your partners/suppliers, and your data records;

  • Automate manual tasks and the most pressing data entry documents (depending on volume, frequency, effort, etc.).

05- Implement a process of continuous improvement:

  • With such an approach, you will definitely be in a better position for a successful digital transformation.

To conclude, a lack of planning or the absence of a roadmap is generally felt during its execution, often resulting in delays and increased costs. The same goes for selecting a market solution. Hence the importance of making a choice based on your needs and not according to the flavor of the day.

Finally, do not neglect how you deploy your transformation within your operations. The adoption of changes by your stakeholders is what maximizes success within your organization. Know that digital transformation is primarily a change in the way people work!

Therefore, be sure to consult one or more experts before undertaking your transformation project to maximize your success rate and return on investment.

To learn more, do not hesitate to make an appointment.

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