Digital transformation is a phrase that has a lot of buzz around it. It has been an important idea for businesses for a long time, but there are still many organisations that just haven’t gotten around to making the necessary changes to their infrastructure, processes, and ways of working, even though it could benefit them.
While a majority of companies have a very positive opinion on the idea of digital transformation, they can be held back by the perceived high costs involved. It can be necessary, then, to look at it from a perspective of cost-efficiency. If digital transformation can ‘pay for itself’ in advance in productivity and creativity, it can be very effective.
Better yet, there are many aspects of digital transformation that are not actually expensive at all and could be achieved with a very meagre budget. Here we take a look at some budget-friendly steps to help your business digitally transform.
The paperless office has often been thought of as a nice idea, but one that would be difficult to implement – not to mention expensive. But the fact is that going paper-free is a great way to cut costs and is more energy efficient. Tiger Eye Consulting describes the savings benefits of a paper-free office as time-saving which means “your team can be more efficient and more productive, meaning they can focus on your clients and pack more billable work into their days”.
Many elements of going paper-free are as simple as asking suppliers and partners to invoice you digitally, but can also include using two computer screens (to allow for fast cross-referencing without paper) and making use of digital software such as electronic signatures.
Process automation can be an extremely valuable form of digital transformation. It effectively involves using equipment and software to carry out labour-intensive work that would traditionally have to be performed by human staff.
According to business process automation specialists Document Options, process automation is beneficial because it saves your team a significant amount of time and frees them up “to carry out more valuable work for your company”. It can also cut down on the number of errors created by manual data entry, speed up the process of approval, reduce issues like duplicated payments and invoices, and even keep your invoicing costs lower.
Move to the cloud
Many companies still use in-house servers which can take up a lot of expensive space on your premises, as well as requiring a great deal of time from your IT team to ensure that it is properly updated.
There will be costs involved in moving from an in-house server to the cloud – but the advantages really outweigh these costs. In the long-term, it is actually considered to be a far more cost-effective option.
Utilise management apps
Many aspects of your business can be overseen and optimised with more ease and clarity through the use of management apps. There are many different kinds that can be useful, from project management apps like Asana or Trello, through to money management apps like Oval.
Virtually every aspect of your organisation can be managed digitally, even if they are overseeing physical work. Once again, you will see some costs involved here, but they can lead to productivity increases and efficiency savings.
Invest in your website
If you have always run a physical business, you may not have invested the time or budget in your website. This needs to change as soon as possible.
As we have seen with the coronavirus pandemic, situations can change extremely rapidly and having a strong website in place can be vital. You don’t necessarily need to be an ecommerce business to get enormous benefits from a strong website.
It is important to remember that you set budgets for the long-term. Some aspects of digital transformation certainly have costs attached to them, but paying them now can provide rewards down the line. Weigh up the savings that can be made in efficiency as well as the increased productivity offered by digitisation against their initial costs – the majority offer a positive return on investment.
Digital transformation will look different for every single business due to the ways that they operate and the specifics of processes and systems that need to be digitised, but the transformative changes on this list are applicable to most organisations no matter what industry you occupy.