Getting digital transformation under way in business, driven by a clear roadmap that is backed by company leaders and engaged employees can have a huge effect on small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) ongoing success. IDC estimates that 40 percent of all technology spending will go toward digital transformations, with enterprises of all sizes spending in excess of $2 trillion by 2019.
SMEs, especially those in key industries such as multimedia, retail, and fintech can greatly benefit from new technology innovations, underpinned by cloud computing. Gathering and analyzing data means that businesses can build a better understanding of their customers, possibly in real time. Meanwhile, basing processes and services in the cloud can create efficiencies, saving time and money to free up valuable resources that can be used to better serve customers and ensure the business’ digital evolution continues, so it can stay ahead of competitors.
But digital transformation has the potential to impact the entire range of business processes, from product design and marketing, right through to financial and logistics systems. How should SMEs approach what can be a daunting task? We will look at four key steps that SMEs should take note of when considering a digital transformation strategy:
Analyze and Assess
To ensure the project is successful and the process is as smooth as possible, SMEs should start by developing a full understanding of current and future business requirements, including infrastructure, security and application environments. For example, when considering a cloud solution for your enterprise, you should involve and gather opinions from stakeholders from across the business before making a full cloud migration. Assess your existing IT portfolio to determine what is better suited for a public cloud platform or SaaS alternatives.
Creating Company Buy-In
Digital transformation means business transformation; therefore, projects will involve changes in company culture as well as the systems and processes that people use. While technological change itself can be easily implemented, having employees and management to willingly adopt changes can be complicated. It is vital to clearly articulate both short and long-term IT and business goals to the whole company. Clear and vocal support from the leadership team will help to ensure that the changes are adopted throughout the company.
Plan and Prioritize
Develop a cross-functional project plan that gives the project structure and prioritizes easy wins and fast solutions. This will help galvanize people as they begin to see improvements and efficiencies and will help leaders to build backing to implement further projects in their digital transformation roadmap. It could include cloud-first for any new projects or moving test and development to the public cloud first. Having a clear idea of potential costs and gaining support and investment from the finance team is also important.
Set KPIs: Evaluate and Optimize
Your digital transformation journey is an ongoing one. Once you have successfully migrated your servers and established a flexible IT environment, you have the opportunity to evaluate your success against original KPIs and continuously make improvements. This could involve running predictive analytics or identifying ways to create further efficiencies.
To discover more about how your company can approach digital transformation and learn from businesses from major industries have successfully implemented changes across key departments, download this whitepaper from Alibaba Cloud.