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The digitization of everything is creating a new set of business problems and opportunities. Digital transformation (or “digitalization”) is an umbrella term that refers to a diverse group of changes in the way organizations operate, including changing the way people work, are paid, and communicate.
We know that digital transformation will take three forms:
These changes will require new skillsets outside traditional roles like IT staff and marketing professionals. To get started on this journey, you need to build a digital-transformation culture by cultivating shared values around collaboration and creativity, encouraging cross-functional teams where possible, and developing tools that support this culture in all areas (not just IT). You should also think about how you want your organization to evolve — looking at things like software licensing or customization as metrics for success not only reflects the current status of your product but also whether it aligns with how you want your organization to become more productive over time.
Digital transformation (or the digital economy) is rapidly becoming the buzzword of today’s business world. And with good reason. The risk of a potentially devastating economic slowdown, coupled with an ageing population and changing demographics, means that businesses need to move quickly and at record-breaking pace to keep up with the evolving demands of their customers.
The Singapore government has taken this opportunity to position itself as a leader in digital transformation. The Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, has made it clear that he sees digital transformation as an essential driver of national development: “Singapore must lead the world in implementing digital transformation,” said PM Lee on March 7th 2016, at the Digital Transformation Summit (DTS), organised by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in partnership with Google on behalf of Government Communications and Information Agency (GCCIA).
“As our population ages and consumer preferences change, it is imperative we stay ahead of these changes – not only to continue leading in technology innovation but also to protect our economy from potential disruption from foreign competitors.”
It is worth taking a closer look at what “digital transformation” means for Singapore when we look beyond simple geeing up web traffic figures or making more money on advertising. It means creating new ways for businesses to engage with their customers online: directly; building smart devices; integrating multiple channels including social media; developing apps for new platforms like mobile hardware and wearables; using artificial intelligence to make decisions based on real-time data; building new ways for people to communicate over distance – be it through phones or tablets or even drones – and finally expanding this down into other sectors such as healthcare, banking or insurance. It also means promoting products through web channels without having to rely on traditional retail outlets where sales staff still control most decision-making processes:
In the past, companies had to hire knowledge-based, capital-consumed employees in order to compete with multinationals. Today, over half of the company’s revenue comes from “new” digital or software products and services. And as this is happening, business leaders are increasingly concerned about the impact these digital products and services are having on productivity, quality and competitive position.
Technology is changing everything – not just for humans but for businesses as well. In fact, for many businesses in today’s global economy it seems like a two-way street. For example, tech giants such as Google & Amazon are creating massive new markets by lowering costs & increasing revenue by offering new platforms and services. On the other hand, tech companies aren’t only disrupting traditional industries but also traditional ways of thinking about business such as supply chain management (SMM). Many SMM enterprises are finding that their current systems don’t scale; their processes become more rigid and inefficient with each passing year; they lose track of their processes; they lack visibility into where their sales are going; they can’t compete with international giants; they have difficulty onboarding new employees at all levels; etc.
These problems have reached an alarming level:
The average salesperson spends more than 150 hours a year on SMM tasks! That amounts to almost 600 hours a year! The average GM spends over 170 hours on SMM tasks! That amounts to almost 800 hours a year!
As you can see from these numbers, SMM is vital to any business in today’s market environment — hence we believe that companies must rethink how they approach digital transformation from an operational perspective — especially when it comes to supply chain management. Of course there will be some challenges along the way but if you want to get there fast then we recommend that you start early by investing in technological solutions that can change your processes for the better.
Digital transformation is a term that has become synonymous with the “digital revolution”, often used in business contexts to refer to the transition from analogue to digital (see this article for an explanation of the term).
It’s not so much a revolution in itself, but rather a process that is ongoing and driven by a company’s business strategy. But what exactly is digital transformation? It has been described as anything from moving away from paper-based processes to digitizing whole organisations (e.g. changing entire management structures), or even changing how data is collected and used (e.g. collecting data through mobile payments instead of paper checks).
There are multiple ways of characterising digital transformation and it depends on what industry you are in. For example, technology integration is often considered part of digital transformation in banking, insurance or healthcare sectors. However, if you look at the way those industries use technology, there are clear differences between them and the most recent examples of digital transformation can be labelled as either converging or diverging:
1) Converging — The old way of doing things will be left behind as new technologies make their way into the industry (e.g.: mobile payment; internet banking; cloud computing)
2) Diverging — The old ways will still be used but they have acquired new roles (e.g.: mobile banking; internet banking roll-out; internal systems migration); business model changes will not necessarily lead to major disruptions.
Digital transformation does not mean that everything will change overnight — it might take some years for businesses to change their whole structure or even for consumers to adopt new technology — but these changes should not be unexpected or unwelcome if they are necessary for your company’s long-term success. It could well take several years before businesses start seeing positive results from the changes they have made thus far and it may take longer until people start noticing them again!
An ERP (enterprise resource planning) is a software system whose primary purpose is to manage and track the assets (like inventory, bills, transactions, etc.) of an organization. In other words: think of it as a modern-day inventory/payroll system.
What distinguishes an ERP system from other systems is that it’s designed to provide not only financial accounting but also business intelligence, document management and analysis, and reporting.
An ERP can help improve productivity by automating many activities: inventory control, billings processing, customer accounts receivable/payable processing — all with your customers’ permission. If you automate the billing process to the point that nothing needs to be done by employees (with actual interaction being possible at any time), you can reduce costs by 25 – 90% .
The more you automate your processes the easier it is for you and your customers to communicate about their experiences.
It also helps to centralize finances — which makes it easier for your management team to control costs as well as make timely decisions about the financial future of your company.