‘Digital transformation.’ These two words are on everybody’s lips these days, from the CEO of a multinational right down to the small business owner. Migrating to the cloud is real and it’s impacting organisations and individuals alike.

Whatever the size of your business, though, the idea of ‘digital transformation’ can seem overwhelming. Business owners and leaders we speak to often worry that it will be expensive, complex and disruptive. They’re concerned that it will destroy established working processes and lead to the need for increased training, and all the costs and productivity loss associated with that.

Our response? Yes, digital transformation – if not managed well – can result in all of those things. But it doesn’t have to. For us, the key to successful digital transformation is taking an iterative, ‘byte sized’ approach that evolves in line with your business. It’s an evolutionary process that’s never really finished because change really is the only constant in today’s world – and impacts both businesses and individuals.

Therefore, taking an evolutionary approach to digital transformation doesn’t mean doing everything at once or creating a ‘monster app’. It’s recognising the cloud move as Step 1 and knowing that the real potential for change – and fun! –flows from there.

Moving everything to the cloud doesn’t mean ‘job done’

Most companies moving to the cloud do so because they want a modern workplace. They seek to eliminate manual systems, minimise human error, reduce costs, empower employees, and get closer to their customers

However, doing a ‘lift and shift’ to the cloud doesn’t automatically result in those things. It doesn’t improve processes and data isn’t necessarily easier to find. Indeed, productivity can actually decrease if the process is not well thought through – think of a business-critical field app which you have to be online to use, and the disruptions that come with unreliable internet coverage.

Other than being able to say they are ‘in the cloud’, many companies don’t actually derive any real benefit from it. They will only do so if the people and processes align with the digital transformation and they take advantage of cloud capability.

The reason for this is that the digital transformation process is often IT-led, with a focus on minimising cost while improving reliability.

To enable a successful digital evolution, the process needs to be business-led. Ask yourself: What does moving to the cloud mean to the customers and employees of my business?

Digital evolution is about staff, customers, processes and experiences

When we talk about ‘digital transformation’ here at Built to Roam, we don’t just mean shifting data from a physical filing cabinet or specific system to the cloud. We’re talking about giving staff and customers the tools to transform entire processes and experiences.

So, if moving to the cloud is ‘step 1’ in the digital transformation process, what is step 2?

Step 2 is about asking yourself – and documenting the answers to – the following questions: Now that we are in the cloud, how do we take advantage of this almost infinite scalability, potentially across multiple geographies? How can we make the lives of our staff and customers better? How can we make their experience of our business richer while at the same time introducing efficiencies?

Increasingly, it’s also about building an integrated experience with applications that work seamlessly both online and offline – through the introduction of edge computing.

And remember, whatever your vision for your new cloud-based world, make sure you take the time to optimise your workloads and re-architect your IT processes so you don’t pay over the odds for your cloud infrastructure. For example, you might break up a single large process into smaller chunks to allow for scaling individual components on demand, rather than over allocating capacity to over compensate for spikes in usage.

Employee and customer experiences transformed, some examples

Here are some examples of work we’ve done for clients who have used digital transformation to transform their customers’ and employees’ experiences.

  • Qantas. Back in 2010, Qantas recognised that air travel was more stressful than it needed to be – with customers constantly seeking information about their journey from various sources.  So they decided to invert the relationship. Their customer app was built to proactively provide the information their customers needed, exactly when they needed it. This included, reminder and delay notifications, check-in and boarding details as well as the ability check-in via the app and board the plane with an electronic boarding pass. The fact that Qantas couldn’t build the app without upgrading their internal systems was in many ways secondary, we helped them do this but they did it with a very clear focus in mind.
  • A major bank. We brought together information from their HR and IT management systems to support their agile, ‘hot-desking’ workforce. The app we built for them enabled them to more easily find colleagues across different locations and to book resources such as desks and meeting rooms with ease.
  • Boost Juice. The organisation’s existing ordering app was struggling to take and process orders at peak times of day. We re-worked the back-end processes so that they would scale up and down as demand rose and fell, taking pressure off the POS system. We also introduced interactivity in the app itself through an attractive user interface, a full menu experience and additional features such as order confirmation – all of which worked to provide a more engaging customer experience.
  • ‘I Love Reading’ app This was designed for primary school children who are learning the alphabet through a proprietary tool. Initially, the process required the teacher to check the children’s attempts at writing. We developed an app that automatically tracks all attempts at letter writing, notes whether the child has traced the letter correctly, can capture how well they are doing, and can send a report to teachers and parents.

What does digital transformation mean for you staff and customers?

Not sure exactly how digital transformation can enrich your employee and customer experience? Or how to start planning for it?  Give us a call, we’ll work with you to clarify your business priorities and guide you through your next move in the constant evolution that is  digital transformation.