Today's trends for tomorrow's business
Can Old(er) SMBs Learn New Tricks?
August 9, 2019
Advice for digital transformation
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but older businesses will have to prove that adage wrong if they want to run with the big dogs in this evolving age of technology.
Developing a digital transformation plan is a key step for small businesses that want to futureproof their business models, further their successes and retain happy customers - not to mention keep other small businesses from outpacing them in their markets.
Woof, Here It Is
Before we talk about the whys and the hows of digital transformation, let’s make sure we’re all clear on what that process enTAILS. (See what we just did there?)
Digital transformation is more than just adopting a new form of technology or learning a few new high-tech tricks. It encompasses your entire company culture. Daniel Newman, founder and digital analyst for Futurum Research and best-selling author of “Futureproof: 7 Key Pillars for Digital Transformation Success,” defines it as a people-led, experience-led change for businesses that want to extend their success far into the future – a convergence of people and technology to deliver experiences faster than the rate of marketplace change.
More specifically, Laurie McCabe, partner at the SMB group, defines it as using digital technologies to create or modify business models, customer experiences, processes, practices and culture.
Using Digital Transformation to Fetch Small Business Benefits
Currently, 48 percent of small businesses are in the planning stages of implementing a digital transformation plan, but 16 percent have no plans underway. These statistics reflect the common misperception that new technology should be used to support current practices instead of prepare for the future.
Regardless of what stage your small business is currently in, here are a few must-haves as you move forward with your digital transformation plan:
Cybersecurity: Did you know 43 percent of cyber-attacks target small businesses? That’s because these companies typically run on shoestring budgets and have only light IT support, if any. Hackers know this and often target these firms because their networks put up only light resistance. In the digital age, every business must prioritize cybersecurity to safeguard their private information and financial assets. This not only means deploying anti-virus software and firewalls but also investing in laptops, notebooks, printers and other endpoints devices with built-in security features.
Digital Project Management: This feature contributes to employee success, which of course trickles down to your customers. Giving employees the tools and applications they need to collaboratively work on projects and successfully finish them will help foster faster productivity, particularly if they’re remote workers. Powerful laptops, such as HP’s EliteBook series, which are thin, light and powerful can help mobile employees tackle big projects from any location.
Marketing Data: How are you using your data? More importantly, are you collecting it in a secure and safe way? Consider tapping into experts who can help you harness the power of your marketing data to help strengthen and grow your small business.
Chatbots: If you can’t afford a team of around-the-clock support specialists, chatbots can offer simple customer support 24/7. If your clients or customers need deeper support, many chatbots can at least schedule a call for when you’re back on business hours. This simple technological addition to your website lets your customers know that you care about their business and their needs.
Digital Outsourcing: Outsourcing some of your digital needs can save you time and money. HP offers a Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) option as an easy, cost-effective way to upgrade your laptops, notebooks and printers to prepare for the latest technological demands. Outsourcing a few hours a week to mobile workers can also save money while still generating viable revenue. Printers like the HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile All-in-One Printer will enable them to send printed materials directly to your office.
Bow Wow Wow, Yippee Yo, Yippee YAY!
So, you’ve got your digital transformation plan in place. The next question is how to manage the change within your office culture.
Newman suggests engaging with and encouraging your employees to embrace a culture that includes a vision of change. Help them understand that a digital transformation plan will ultimately benefit them by enhancing their productivity while also increasing customer retention and company profitability.
The main reason new IT deployments fail, he says, is because the employees who have to use it don’t understand the importance of delivering that next-gen experience to the customer. So make your plan a people-led and experience-led vision first, and then introduce the technology as a tool to get there.
That way, you’ll keep your small business out of the doghouse while making a PAWSitive impression on your target market.
And yes, we apologize for all the puppy puns. Hope you didn’t mind them too much.