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Digital transformation is more human than ever

Digital transformation and changing priorities

Digital transformation is a concept you’ll no doubt be familiar with by now. The use of technology to improve business processes, resulting in better efficiency and productivity, is nothing new. If done right, it’s highly profitable, with British businesses attributing a 34% revenue growth to their digital transformation efforts (IDG). The hard nut to crack is not only where to start, but how to achieve complete business transformation.

Business priorities have changed immeasurably not only since the concept was first bandied about, but even in the last couple of years. According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), the key digital priorities in 2007 were data mining, search technology and virtual collaboration. While these are still big focuses for businesses of all sizes, the topics have evolved to include artificial intelligence, machine learning and even the Internet of Things (IoT).

The same HBR survey has found that business executives are less confident than ever in their digital skills, with just over half (52%) rating their ‘digital IQ’ as strong; this is quite a drop from 67% the previous year. However, it’s encouraging that the percentage of executives driving digital transformative initiatives has more than doubled from 33% to 68%. Similarly, roles like Chief Information Officer and IT Director finally have a seat at the strategic direction table.

Why, then, are these executives who are prioritising digital transformation less confident than ever in their businesses’ ability to achieve it?

Overcoming the barriers to achieving business transformation

A stumbling block could be your staff. Before you panic, this doesn’t mean you need to boot out your existing workforce. We already know that we’re experiencing a digital skills gap that, if not resolved at school-level, could be disastrous to the economy by the time our schoolchildren graduate. It’s so presently acute that 3 out of four businesses say they’re experiencing a digital skills gap. In addition to this, business leaders cite changing company culture and existing legacy systems as a key barrier in achieving digital transformation (British Chamber of Commerce), while a Microsoft survey found that employee buy-in is key to digital transformation. In those businesses that prioritise digital transformation, employees feel 5x more productive, thrice as innovative and twice as engaged.

The human element of digital transformation

It’s key to understand that digital transformation has shifted from implementing innovative technologies to optimising your people. Technologies like Office 365 and Qlik Sense are enablers of digital transformation, but the value lies in your people. What’s the point of having a lot of innovative technologies in place if nobody knows how to use them? As Microsoft puts it, “Technology shouldn’t change us, but it should help us challenge and transform the way we do things in the world.”

Take business intelligence for example. With the advent of such an innovative tool like Qlik Sense, detractors predicted that it would render business intelligence experts and data analysts redundant because it takes a lot of the work out of business intelligence. What it does, in fact, is gives your business analysts the time to focus on adding real value. The common complaint of the data analyst, and those who rely on them, was the time spent configuring data into views and readable formats. That’s a thing of the past now because Qlik does the work for you, leaving it in your hands to make business decisions based on that data.

Empowering people with technology

At TSG, tools like Qlik Sense and Power BI have actually seen our business intelligence team expand, as our experts help their colleagues to understand how to get the most out of a wide range of data as well as customers. They still do huge amounts of work, but the time spent on that work is more productive and ultimately more valuable. Qlik Sense is also a perfect example of the use of artificial intelligence – 2018’s big digital transformation focus, remember – to aid your people. Its associative model means it spots patterns in your data that might have been missed, allowing your experts to dig even deeper and realise more value than ever. In fact, businesses that use predictive data analytics well could realise an ROI of 1300% – yes, really! – as they use the data to improve their customers’ journey and optimise processes.

The key to an excellent customer experience

Similarly, customer experience is at the heart of digital transformation. An IDG survey found that 62% of business will measure the success of their digital-first strategies by measuring an increase in customer satisfaction. Mobility is at the heart of tools like Office 365 and Gamma Horizon’s hosted telephony solution, meaning you can respond to customers quicker anytime, anywhere. Remember, at the end of the day your customers will be dealing with humans. Those humans are simply further enabled through the innovative use of technologies.

Our people really are the key to our success. We have a proven track record of not only hiring highly-skilled technical experts in all areas from infrastructure and Azure to Dynamics NAV and telephony, but we dedicate a lot of time and money into upskilling our staff constantly. Our people are the key to getting the most out of the innovative technologies that we deploy for you. Without that expert knowledge, you’ll still use your solutions day-to-day, but perhaps not to their full potential. Only 6 of Office 365’s innovative applications are actively utilised by more than half of Office 365 users (Gartner), meaning there’s a wealth of potential that many businesses aren’t taking advantage of. That’s where our experts and our comprehensive Office 365 discovery and training packages come in.

Practising what we preach and digitally transforming

At TSG, not only are we practising what we preach by appointing a Director of Business Transformation – who is reviewing every single process at TSG to increase efficiency and allow our people to add value – we’re also onboarding a new technology that will help us to improve our customer experience. By using this tool, we’ll be able to understand what we’re doing right and how we could do better. This will ultimately result in a significantly improved customer experience, where our experts work to your wants and needs. Watch this space!

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