What is digital transformation and what does it mean for my SME?

There is no denying that technology is all around us and we are becoming more ‘at one’ with it. The business environment is no different, and managers/owners are becoming more aware that if they don’t upgrade their practices then they will get left behind.

The basics of digital transformation is the use of software and automated processes that both help future proof a business and save time/costs. As well as this, the process can also improve customer communication and improve employees mental health. This article will explain how.

How will it help?

Customer service improvements

Getting the information to the customer quickly is important to them. If it takes longer than the expected time, then you have an unhappy customer. Having all the information you need at your fingertips, easily accessible, means staff can relay the required data efficiently. Happy customer! As below, fewer errors also makes the customer journey smoother and more satisfying for them.

Staff mental health

Well designed, easy to use functional software that helps get the job done quicker makes our working day less stressful. Stressed employees are not healthy, nor productive.

Fewer errors

Without repetitive tasks taking up time and brain function, your staff are left with the time to do things right the first time. Depending on the software solution, some tasks may be fully automated such as data processing or despatch emails for example. Many human tasks can be assigned to the user - accountability is a strong motivation to concentrate.

Cost savings

Should you have to take on new staff, an intuitive piece of software can mean easier and faster on the job training meaning that the member of staff can be efficient in their job more quickly. Time with existing employees is minimised, meaning they can function in their normal job.

Viability for my business

Functionality vs Design

It isn’t a one size fits all solution. A good software consultant will audit your tasks, needs & requirements to design a software package around the result.
A well functioning piece of software doesn’t have to be ugly and difficult to use, and vice versa. You should be offered a solution that both looks good and is intuitive & easy to use. Performing all the tasks required in a stress free way.

Price vs benefit

This is difficult to call, as all organisations are different and function differently. Some bits of the software will be more valuable than others, so you may be able to develop in stages. As a general rule, a good solution will save you money year on year and also help future proof your business. The right software package(s) will keep you agile and functioning better with it than without it.

Will my data be secure?

Most software providers work to the highest standard of data security & compliance. Your chosen provider should be open about their security experience and which packages use what protocols. For example, some may use Microsoft Azure which has a wide range of tools to allow developers to produce secure software.
If you follow these rules, rest assured that you will be keeping your client & business data safe.

What happens to my current system?

With the right software provider, everything will be taken care of for you. Data migration can be a tricky business and it can be hard to say goodbye to the old way of doing things. Unlike third party software, when you have a good provider helping you design a bespoke tool, they will use their technical expertise to help you move everything across easily. You should be able to hit the ground running when your bespoke work is ready to go and have those teething pains taken care of for you.

I want to do this, where do I start?

Find a provider that will listen to your requirements, spend time finding the right solution, and will be upfront with you. An off-the -shelf solution may work for you, but bespoke software offers the benefit of arriving all set up & ready to go with no configuration to do at your end. Research, research, research.

Written by Tim Roth - Director, Smashed Crab Software

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