Though the first companies to ‘go digital’ did so as far back as the 90s, many industries and individual businesses have been putting off their digital transformation for decades. In the vast majority of these cases, the original decision to hold off on digitizing was a wise one. The industry software wasn’t ready and there were a few too many unknowns for the comfort of older well-established businesses with customers who relied on them to keep things running smoothly.
However, times change as they always do and we’re not in the 90s world of hit-or-miss HTML websites or primitive database EMSs anymore. Business software, data analysis, internet technologies, and the overwhelming social move to online communities have significantly changed the playing field. Where it once was a good idea to stick with paperwork or old management systems, no you’d be a fool not to have a full-featured online presence and AI-assisted data analysis for everything from marketing to bug hunting. Whether you’ve started your digital transformation or are still slowly considering your options, it may help to see the full scope of what a completely digital company would have in their IT suite.
- Mobile App
- Industry EMS
- AI Data Analysis
- IoT Devices
- Cloud Documents and Backups
If there’s one asset that pulled companies of the 80s into the modern digital world, it’s the business website. As people’s lives become more and more about what they do online, having a website is in many cases better than having a brick-and-mortar venue because the potential ‘foot traffic’ is infinitely higher and often determined by the effectiveness of your SEO to catch people looking for your services in a search engine.
Home, About, Services, Contact
Original business websites could be almost anything but these days a format and a precedent have been set. People now understand the basic layout of almost all business websites and expect a few key elements. Home is your landing page and should showcase the business itself. About is your page where you tell the company’s history, share your goals, and possibly introduce a few team members. Services can also be Products and enumerates what you have to offer. Contact, of course, is a quick and easy way for customers to send you emails.
Live chat is all the rage these days and is being incorporated into company websites by businesses all over the world. If you don’t have a live chat integration yet, consider getting one. When your customers are able to contact you while browsing your website, communication is instant, as is your access to their conversion funnel.
Setting up your business email is usually an integral part of building the website, as you need a registered domain name (ex: mycompany.com). By giving every employee and department an email address, you prevent the use of personal email addresses and unify communication with your brand. In many ways, it’s like the new company stationary.
2) Mobile App
Your mobile app is another story entirely. People use their phones for everything now, so a mobile presence is currently considered non-optional for any online business. Some companies are happy with a mobile version of their website while others go out of their way to make a mobile app that is uniquely helpful to customers that increases the value of your services. What matters is that you have a way for your customers to access services, contact representatives, and gain value from the services you offer through their mobile device.
3) CRM – Customer Relationships Management Software
A CRM is an advanced piece of software that helps you manage your relationships with customers. It can track accounts, contact information, preferences, customer history, and notes left about each customer by employees. CRMs also usually have a communications management aspect, allowing you to send emails, live chat messages, texts, and even make phone calls from the online platform, save communication logs, and make notes on the file. It may also have a support ticket system for customer service representatives, who will use it most often, and is also useful for Sales who benefit from the in-depth look at customer histories and preferences.
Of course, this is only the beginning of all the things you can and probably should have by the end of your company’s digital transformation.
Welcome back to our complete digital transformation checklist. Last time we covered the importance of starting with a website including a live chat feature, the inevitability of a mobile app, and why every modern company can and should have a CMS. We ended the article by promising more acronyms and as we hate to disappoint, let’s start today with the EMS.
4) Industry-Specific EMS – Enterprise Management Software
The term EMS stands for enterprise management software and this acronym is, in fact, incredibly vague. The kind of software you need to run your business depends on your industry and size but believe us, at this point there is a fast and capable EMS for almost every industry on the planet from field services to finance management. Look into software built specifically for your industry and consider streamlining the vast majority of your procedures. EMS’s can offer inventory tracking solutions, connect to your CRM for improved customer relations across the board, and are usually built to address concerns unique to the industry like specific safety inspections, appointment scheduling, and so on.
5) VOIP – Internet Phones for Everyone
If you are still paying a telco company for wired office phones and costly cell phone plans, it’s time to join the rest of the online community in internet-based phone services instead. VOIP has come a long way since Skype for individual users introduced the population at large to the idea in the first place. There are now VOIP companies that cater exclusively to businesses and call centers and the flexibility is amazing. Not only can you scale a VOIP plan to any size of team or company, you can also access numbers from anywhere including mobile devices simply by logging into an online platform.
6) AI-Assisted Data Analysis
Data analysis, once one of the most tedious chores of any sales, research, or IT team, can now be handled almost 100% by self-learning computer programs. The power of large-scale data analysis and AI intuition can cut the time you spend on data analysis down to a fraction while multiplying the available results data your teams have to work with. The fact of the matter is that computers are both better and faster at skimming data and drawing trend charts.
7) IoT Devices and Sensors
IoT (Internet of Things) is the latest craze in business technology and it looks like it’s here to stay. The concept behind IoT devices is simply that they are wifi-enabled and can be controlled from a Smart Home hub or a mobile device from anywhere in range of the wifi network. Businesses are using IoT security cameras for wireless access to their security footage. IoT lights that can be remotely switched off and a programmable IoT thermostat can work together to significantly reduce your power bills. Plus, employees are delighted by almost all IoT gadgets like, say, an IoT coffee pot that can start brewing before anyone physically gets to the break room.
8) Comprehensive Cybersecurity Infrastructure
Of course, once your company has gone almost completely digital, it becomes vitally important to protect your local network and any stored data from both hackers and employee errors. This means you need a rock solid cybersecurity infrastructure with robust authorization, encryption, virus detection, and expert management to ensure that your digital files on both the company and your customers are always kept safe from malware attacks and unauthorized access.
9) Cloud-Based Documents and Backups
Finally, even with superb cybersecurity, it’s important to understand that there is only so much you can do to protect your local network. Even if hackers never target your company, a single natural disaster that takes out the building could take most of your company files with it. That is, unless you store your active documents in a cloud-based DMS and make whole-system backups on a remote virtual server. These methods will ensure that even if you are ‘fatally’ ransomware’d or your office building is carried to Oz by a tornado, you’ll be able to rent new space, call everyone in, and pick up almost as if there was never an interruption to business as usual.
Is your company’s digital transformation complete? If you’re missing one or more of the items on this checklist, your business is officially overdue for a few technological upgrades. Working with talented IT technicians, you should be able to take care of each of the items on our checklist quite easily over the next few months. This done, you are once again at the competitive cutting edge of modern business practices both on and offline. For more tips or guidance on how to conduct your company’s digital transformation, contact us today!