Businesses have been striving to simplify formerly complex problems and meet their digitization objectives for decades, beginning with the first microchip in the 1950s. Consider the banking industry — before ATMs, customers were at the beck and call of in-person banks, operating during the short ‘banker’s hours’ to conduct financial transactions. If relying on human labor for a repetitive task was not problematic enough for customers that simply wanted to cash their paychecks after work, banks faced chronic labor reductions in the mid-1960s. This inflection point led to adaptation using newly available technology, the ATM. The 1965 debut of the ATM was the foundation of the self-service digital revolution that significantly improved cash access and reduced bank operational costs.
Although digitization has been a priority for decades, constantly changing technology is a blessing and a curse for today’s businesses. On the one hand, innovations contribute to business improvements, but at the same time, how do you possibly keep up? Tech trends are ever-changing, and projects often run over budget and do not meet business objectives or board expectations. Even so, digitization remains at the fore of C-suite growth driver initiatives. According to IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Digital Transformation 2022 Predictions, “by 2023, 90% of worldwide organizations will prioritize investments in digital tools to augment physical spaces and assets with digital experiences.” CEOs and board members know it is crucial to anticipate market changes and respond accordingly, but how can business leaders embark on the digital transformation journey when the mainstream perception is chaos, consulting costs, and years of overhaul?
Let’s first look at the two primary intents of digital transformation, reducing the cost of operations and improving customer service and accessibility.
Although the benefits of digital transformation abound, a fundamental shift in how business is conducted is difficult to embrace because companies are already moving at a frantic pace. The good news is that it is possible to simplify the daunting transformation process, turning it into a more manageable and less expensive (compared to traditional digital transformation) endeavor that does not require an enormous budget or years of disruption and delay. It can be as simple as replacing paper forms with online forms or automating repetitive tasks to reduce errors and improve productivity.
Technology is already a significant part of most employees’ workday – emails, calendars, and spreadsheets are the norm. Implementing any technology must be simple and have little disruption to day-to-day business. In reality, a minor technology implementation can make employees’ workloads more manageable. Take a virtual agent (VA), for example. With a virtual agent in place, companies can seamlessly shift a high volume of repetitive tasks away from human labor, providing value to the staff and their customers.
While advances in technology have brought about enormous changes for businesses this decade, if the last year is any guide (with remote workers and online interactions), the next five years could bring about a variety of even more drastic changes. For the first time, we see that most enterprise organizations (at 53%) have an enterprise-wide digital transformation strategy, a 42% increase from just two years ago,” states Shawn Fitzgerald, research director, Worldwide Digital Transformation Strategies. The digital transformation initiative is not going away. As long as technology and customer needs keep evolving, businesses will have to change or risk getting left behind. The key is to start small and measure results. Do this again and again until it becomes a natural habit. Your business will learn how to adapt to change, tackle problems quickly and efficiently using technology, and, most importantly, be ready to take on whatever challenges come it’s way.
What are you doing to reduce operational costs and excel at customer satisfaction and accessibility to services? Speak with a solutions expert about lowering costs and increasing customer satisfaction today.