Digital Transformation for SMBs
Many small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) are under the impression that digital transformation is outside of their budget, but chances are they’re undergoing some method of digital transformation without even realizing it. Digital transformation takes on a myriad of forms, from adding chat buttons to your website to refining digital content management strategies. 82 percent of SMBs are modernizing their technology and processes—leaving the remaining 18 percent in the dust.
Cloud computing and affordable enterprise solutions are emboldening mid-market companies to give their technology a facelift, but to make your digital transformation strategies effective, there are some important measures that need to be taken. Below, we go over five tips for designing the right digital transformation roadmap for business success.
1. Understand Your Business Needs
As we covered in the intro, every digital transformation strategy looks different. That’s because each company experiences unique pain points and pursues its own goals. Therefore, the foundation of any solid transformation is thorough documentation of company needs.
This can be accomplished through business process modeling. This activity involves representing workflows and operations to expose problems, gaps and potential risks. Business process modeling enables companies to prioritize their concerns. Which tasks are slowing down lead times? What kind of data needs to be accessible to improve customer experiences? Where are the process breakdowns in the supply chain?
Only once you identify specific issues can you pursue specific changes. For example, let’s say you decide on an ERP implementation. Without understanding your operations, you won’t know whether to seek out a system with a robust product configurator or IoT capabilities. By documenting business processes, you can carefully select a solution that delivers desired improvements and ROI.
2. Don’t Transform Everything at Once
SMBs sometimes tremble at the word “transformation,” interpreting it as an expensive and drastic undertaking. However, with digital transformation, slow and steady often wins the race. Instantly moving everything to the cloud or implementing several new devices and software at once spreads your budget and personnel thin, jeopardizing the value of your investments.
We can’t stress it enough: prioritize your business needs. Sometimes the impact of a subtle change reverberates across your enterprise, strengthening your bottom line and setting you up for growth and opportunity. Undergo software projects in phases to ensure each iteration goes live without error and without overwhelming users. To clarify, we don’t advocate extending projects well past their deadlines, but we also find that SMBs see greater results when they don’t rush or roll out multiple platforms in a short period.
3. Communicate Clearly
Never underestimate the power of clear communication. In a study conducted by the SMB Group, 27 percent of leaders cite their team’s resistance to change as a top challenge for IT project success. Whether it’s worrying that advanced technology will make their jobs unnecessary or dreading a change to well-worn habits, users are often slow to adopt new platforms. Remember that disruptive technology is, in fact, disruptive; clear communication is necessary to prime employees for business changes.
Open the lines of communication, giving everyone an opportunity to express their concerns. Once you train users on the technology and explain how it’ll optimize their processes, your workplace will be on board with the project. Additionally, make sure you gain executive buy-in early on. Users are more likely to embrace change if the C-Suite advocates for digital transformation.
4. Pursue Systems Integration
A common mistake among SMBs is implementing disjointed systems to address multiple issues. This results in a convoluted set-up. When platforms don’t communicate with each other, data becomes siloed, creating obstacles to collaboration and transparency. Furthermore, more systems mean more IT resources delegated to perform upgrades and maintenance.
The smarter approach is to seek out a comprehensive solution. Epicor ERP, for example, includes an array of modules designed to perform a variety of back-end processes, eradicating the need to install separate systems for financial management, inventory tracking, production scheduling and more. You also want to invest in solutions that can be easily integrated with your existing systems, facilitating greater visibility and data accuracy. With software integration easier and more affordable than ever, SMBs can build a connected enterprise with modern operations.
5. Seek Outside Help
For many SMBs, digital transformation isn’t attainable without some outside help. Most SMBs lack the robust IT resources and expertise to take on projects alone. However, some small companies only see software consultants as money down the drain. On the contrary, consultants protect investments, mitigating risks and serving as lifelines if projects go astray.
Consultants offer a variety of services to streamline digital transformation efforts. For example, many specialize in business process modeling and creating use cases that demonstrate how specific solutions can be leveraged to remove operational inefficiencies. They also help you stay within your budget and timeline, simplifying projects to prevent your company from biting off more than it can chew.
Digital transformation is always within reach—no matter the size of your enterprise. This is especially true if you choose to implement Epicor ERP. For over 45 years, Epicor has provided ERP solutions to meet the requirements of a wide range of manufacturers and distributors. Epicor’s software is designed to fit multiple budgets and enhance productivity to generate substantial ROI.
At Datix, we specialize in offering an array of ERP, CRM and eCommerce systems for the mid-market. Our consultants guide clients from start to finish, ensuring everyone has the optimal solution for achieving greater business success. We help our clients maximize the value of their investments throughout their digital transformation journey.
Don’t let your business processes and technology stagnate. Reach out to one of our ERP experts to start pursuing digital transformation today!