What role does business software play in digital transformation?

What role does business software play in digital transformation?

Software is not everything to digital transformation, but it is very important. Software updates and more importantly the education and getting people to use the tech is crucial for digital transformation.

Technology and Digital Transformation are definitely linked. But their relationship is subtle and is worth examining. Understanding the true nature of Digital Transformation is essential to knowing what it means for our businesses and organisations. 

Two widely held statements about Digital Transformation and technology:

– Digital Transformation amounts solely to digitising products and services.

– Digital Transformation is driven by technology. So, to transform digitally you must adopt new technology.

These both require further analysis…

Digital Transformation is Digitisation

Digitisation is the systematic transfer of products, processes and services online – ecommerce, document storage in the cloud, app-based administration.

During the digital age, this process is necessary and beneficial for many businesses to survive.  It allows convenient collaboration and more accessible products.

However, in this instance it does not amount to Digital Transformation – it is merely a tool to increase efficiency.

Digital Transformation = Technology Adoption

Adaptation is often paired with competition. Adapt or fall behind. Business leaders strive to tackle that challenge – often through adopting the latest technology. 

Nevertheless, whilst adopting software and technology can certainly help success in the  long term, it is not strictly Digital Transformation.  The primary steps towards digital transformation start within the business itself.

Strategy and culture come first

  • Strategy is the place to start

Strategy sets a direction along which the business travels. Strategic processes define problems, understand the market, the customer and the available resources that are needed to generate advantage over competitors. 

There is no successful strategy without a culture to support the experimentation that comes with strategic decisions – free rein to test ideas and gather data. 

  • Engaging people is the next step

The next change comes with staff and customer engagement. That is, the ability to provide valued services or products. Good customer engagement is a vital stepping stone towards Digital Transformation. This is because, when businesses  engage with our staff and customers, it facilitates implementing innovative software that will accelerate the business forward.

  • Then it’s nailing down your processes

Instilling processes that keep the digital transformation going is the next challenge.  Businesses need to aim at continual cycles of innovation – where internal processes support the strategy and the correct culture sustains competitive advantage.

  • Once those elements are solidified, software comes in

Then comes technology. This is all on the chalkboard until the correct technology is put in place. This is the stage when software can make a HUGE difference to digital transformation, and when adopted and embraced by your people it can change the way that you do businesses forever. 

Technology is a Cog in the Machine of Digital Transformation

The digital revolution, powered by technology, is responsible for the rapid speed of change we are currently experiencing. There are a host of digital tools that perform tasks in different ways – from the internet, to  artificial intelligence, to nanotechnology and robotics.

It’s easy to keep referring to technology as the be all and end all. But viewed correctly, the salient point is that technology provides us with faster, more efficient, more convenient, affordable and accurate processes.

These processes achieve human goals. And it is those goals that need to be kept in the forefront of the business mind. The danger is to get bogged down in an arms race that doesn’t actually help you achieve your business targets. 

Only when a piece of software no longer helps you achieve those targets in the best way, should it be considered obsolete. 

Digital Transformation means creating digital businesses that are agile and innovative in the digital age. The opposite are businesses that are ‘doing digital’. 

So, what is the role of software in Digital Transformation?

Business software, like most technology, provides a solution to a problem. They are  tools, delivery agents, cogs in a machine. . 

The key to successful technology design revolves around a clear definition of a problem followed by an understanding of the context around that problem. Put simply, technology is just one of the change blocks that need to be assessed when undergoing a Digital Transformation.

Software gives us the means to undergo a digital transformation. It’s how we utilise it that will bring the changes we aim for.