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What is Digital Transformation?

Over the last few years, and increasingly since the global pandemic, many businesses and other organisations have been talking about both hybrid working and ‘going digital’.

But what does digital transformation actually mean? Why is it more important today than ever before? And how does it affect businesses, employees, and customers as the hybrid working model gains popularity?

Digital transformation has been defined as ‘the profound transformation of business and organisational activities’ to ‘fully leverage the changes and opportunities of a mix of digital technologies’. This rather clinical definition suggests that digital transformation is essentially about improving how we work through advances in technology. While this is partly true, successful digital transformation has as much to do with people and good leadership as technology. Yes, digital tools can enable us to work smarter and more efficiently, and help us to save time, space, and money, but only if it is implemented in the right way by the leaders responsible for guiding an organisation, and the people at its heart.

In this sense, digital transformation is Business Transformation. It is about much more than just ‘being online’, it is about fundamentally changing and improving how a business operates, from the inside out, to navigate our rapidly changing economical, societal, and cultural business landscape, whether this is in the office, working from home or on the move.

If successfully implemented, digital transformation can have huge benefits, boosting productivity, improving cost efficiency and streamlining workflow. When the business landscape changed suddenly and organisations needed to work remotely and interact with customers virtually, many did not have the digital infrastructure in place to allow business to continue unaffected. COVID-19 forced many businesses to answer this question much sooner than they may have previously planned for. This is why digital transformation is more important than ever before. We are living in a digital age and many organisations risk falling behind if they do not have a clear digital plan and strategy for hybrid working . This can seem daunting, and that’s why Brother is ‘At your side’ with our award-winning portfolio, hybrid working solutions and expertise that is designed to help you digitise your processes and enhance your business to achieve meaningful and long-lasting transformation.

Benefits of digital transformation

Digital transformation has been shown to have significant benefits for businesses and organisations of all sizes. It can improve:

  • Cost efficiency – through innovative cost-efficient technology which can allow for savings and encourage responsible business spending.
  • Sustainability – through holistic strategies which can increase corporate transparency and mitigate environmental impacts while continuing to support the growth of the business.
  • Productivity – through tech which removes blockers and workflow pinch-points that slow down the business, providing a boost across the workforce.
  • Resilience – through solutions which safeguard your most essential systems and ensure vital processes continue to run uninterrupted, futureproofing your processes against rapidly changing situations, rules and regulations.

For example, Brother’s security solutions work across multiple locations and include file encryption and secure printing with authentication, to ensure your documents never fall into the wrong hands. When it comes to productivity, bespoke user interfaces and automatic document routing from scans help your employees share and locate documents in a borderless office environment with speed and ease, while implementing cloud working can improve workflow, scalability, security and stability. Working closely with major third-party software vendors we offer our customers access to sector-leading public, private and hybrid cloud print and scan solutions.

Digitising your business’s processes and operations clearly saves time, space, and money, while also making your operations more sustainable and environmentally friendly, but did you know it can also empower employees and dramatically improve the customer experience? Digital tools make collaboration between colleagues, departments, and offices easier than ever before. This means greater flexibility in how, where, and when you work. Almost immediately, collaboration between countries and time zones becomes easier, while home and hybrid working [link] can be well-catered for with minimal disruption to the business. Digital tools can also help a regional or national business to have a global reach. The world is connected by digital technology and it’s no longer just the domain of big, multinational organisations, it is now affordable and ubiquitous.

Digital transformation can also allow you to personalise your products and services like never before. Every digital interaction is a chance to improve how you work. Digital transformation makes it possible for you to anticipate the needs of your colleagues or customers, and make recommendations based on their preferences. Many of these will be ‘digital natives’ and they expect businesses to be just as savvy as they are. By improving the internal functioning of your business through a ‘digital first’ approach, you can return happier and more engaged customers who are more likely to come back to you and act as brand ambassadors for your business on social media and out in the world.

Challenges of digital transformation

Traditionally, the main barriers for businesses moving into the digital age and the key challenges of digital transformation were money and expertise. However, digital technology is now cheaper and more available than it has ever been, allowing even the smallest businesses to take the biggest leaps forward.

Similarly, your employees, just like your customers, will largely be digital natives who are used to working, shopping and socialising from their laptops, tablets or phone screens. Training and upskilling staff, and fostering a digital culture across your organisation, is much easier than it was even five years ago. Culture is the key word. To be successful, digital must be fully integrated into your organisation’s culture and its business transformation strategy. Of course, changes in culture can take time and can sometimes meet with resistance from those who prefer the old ways or see digital as a threat to jobs. This is why it’s so important to have good leadership and clear communication about where the organisation is going, why it needs to change, and the many benefits of digital transformation for both the business and employees.

And if you ever need a helping hand, Brother is ‘At your side’ with award-winning business solutions and innovative print, scan, and labelling technology. Our business experts and extensive range of resources can provide everything you need to keep up with the pace of change (including embarking on a hybrid working journey), stay ahead of the competition, and transform for good.

For more information on how we can help support your digital transformation, visit our Business Transformation pages. Digital transformation can help you futureproof your business, but why wait for the future? Digital is here and the future is now.

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