What does digital transformation mean for today’s companies? It’s an environment in which an organization’s departments work together instead of existing in completely independent silos. Since it does encompass the whole company, digital transformation must be initiated at C-level and come from the top down.
In an example of how the digital transformation has been implemented right in my company, well before the covid pandemic, we closed offices that we didn’t need. We had long instituted technology that would keep the company productive no matter where in the world employees were located. Again, this wasn’t forced into place by the pandemic—we took this on and did it ourselves.
You Need It, Too
Once the pandemic happened, of course, at Pipeliner we were all set—no changes were needed. But I know many are still struggling and need to make that complete digital transformation. I’m out to help C-level management make that change with their organization because it’s extremely important.
The pandemic forced many to change—they had no choice. But there are still those who, unbelievably, is just waiting for things to “return to normal” (I really don’t think such a thing is going to happen) and counting on the old methods to get them through.
People, Processes and Technology
The crux of digital transformation is that people, processes, and technology must be utilized in an overlapping synthesis to break down silo walls. Independent silos greatly slow down the digital transformation.
In reality, company data doesn’t exist in silos—it must flow all throughout the company like a river. That data is used to service the customer from any point in the organization, and the customer doesn’t care if that point is customer success, sales, support, accounts receivable or anywhere else. Customers hate being transferred from one place to another because “that’s someone else’s department.” You probably hate it, too—just remember the last time you had to phone up your bank.
Within large organizations, functions and roles are clearly defined. This is a good thing, but it isn’t so good when it acts as a silo and the velocity of a process is slowed or halted. Documents, quotes, requests, and other business items become stuck. Just look at the government—something can languish in a particular department for months.
This stickiness is no longer acceptable because today’s customers no longer tolerate it. They demand instant service. Such service can only happen when people, processes, and technology work harmoniously together to provide it.
Resisting Change and the Cloud
One primary key to implementing digital transformation is the overcoming of resistance to change. Change tends to provoke fear and anxiety in certain people, no matter what that change is offering. Some people tend to prefer the familiar, even when the change will make their lives or businesses better.
The change that brings the most benefit, and the one that will please even the most resistant to change, is the Cloud business model.
Today, services can be offered 24X7. For thousands of years, such a thing was not possible, and during that time customers had no choice but to wait. Today businesses can’t afford to make customers wait—and in fact, it’s almost a black-and-white choice: either they get the product or service right now, or they don’t get it at all.
An example is internet service. If you’re working from home, and your internet goes down, you’re dead in the water. Technology today has made for a very fast and robust internet, which in the old days didn’t exist.
The Cloud has dramatically changed all our lives, both professionally and personally, and will continue to do so. Businesses that refuse to move in this direction, and continue to resist change, will become extinct.
Excellence in Operation
Getting digital processes going requires excellence in operation. At Pipeliner, we are assisting this operation right from the company’s core. That core is, of course, the CRM. Why is CRM the heart of a business? Because business only exists for one reason: to service the customer.
Servicing the customer has always been important, but today it is more important than ever. This is because customer loyalty has radically changed over the years. In prior times, when someone drove a Mercedes, they would generally stick with that make for life. Now, someone might drive a Mercedes, switch to a BMW, and end up in a high-end Lexus. The only thing that will retain customer loyalty is customer experience—the best product, service, and price compared to others in the same category.
Need for The Best in CRM
A company therefore must be constantly innovating, optimizing, and improving processes. Data is the heart of your business, and must freely flow through the organization to all the points where it is needed. That data is stored and mainly utilized in CRM and must be used to provide the utmost service to the customer. When you don’t have the best in technology—which of course includes CRM—how can you provide the best service to your customer?
Let’s compare this to another aspect of business—location. To provide the best and most cost-effective service, you’re going to make a deep decision as to where your manufacturing facilities should be located. When he saw from a technical point of view that it was impossible to keep his Tesla facilities in California, Elon Musk moved his entire operation to Texas.
The decision for a CRM is every bit as important as company location because CRM is truly the heart of a company and its digital transformation into the Cloud. It is the only way to provide the best possible service to the customer.
3 Overlapping Categories
From a longer view, the digital transformation consists of three overlapping categories: people, processes, and technology.
In the area of processes, you must realize that they are all about effectiveness and efficiency. It is effectiveness and efficiency that result in productivity. If processes aren’t correct, then you don’t achieve productivity. If you don’t achieve productivity, you don’t achieve profitability.
For a process to be efficient and effective, tools are required. In our case, those tools mean CRM. Without a powerful CRM system, processes don’t operate well.
Processes, therefore, depend on technology. In an example from another field, because I’m not a virologist, I must depend on scientists to figure out the best possible solution in dealing with covid (they’re not doing this at all, but that’s another matter). Similarly, processes must rely on the right technology, and people must depend on the right tools to utilize that technology. The importance of the right tools is evident everywhere—for example, you’d never use a sledgehammer to hammer tiny nails for hanging pictures. You’d cave in the wall.
We can therefore see that today, it’s all about servicing and retaining the customer. For a company to do that well, it must fully make that digital transformation.