Digital transformation is a serious buzzword. System integrators use it to win lucrative contracts. But it can bring real benefits to businesses. Done right and done well, digital transformation updates systems from disparate applications in disconnected “silos” to connected, well-integrated modular systems that function as a cohesive whole to address business needs. It’s not easy. But if it can be accomplished, there are direct, tangible advantages for businesses.
Embracing and adapting to digital transformation has many benefits, including:
1. Increased productivity. Digital transformation enables automation, which means businesses get more done with fewer people. This translates into direct savings in most businesses’ greatest expense category: their people. A transformed infrastructure also gives employees flexible workspace options and allows for increased work-life balance. It’s been proven that employees who have a better work-life balance work harder, and businesses see a significant increase in employee retention when they implement flexible work arrangements (inc.com). Typical employers can save about $11,000 per year for every employee that works remotely half of the time (GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com).
2. Reduced spending. As a result of digital transformation, businesses of all sizes are building and implementing new strategies, including migrating systems and storage to the cloud. Storing data with cloud hosts lets businesses save the costs of operating, maintaining, and replacing servers on premises. Reduction or elimination of datacenter space can result in further cost savings in office space.
3. Increased security and business continuity. Cloud solutions allow strengthened security and increased business continuity because businesses put their workloads in the hands of experts that are focused exclusively on running the software for them. For example, the geographical redundancy that cloud hosting offers reduces the risk of outages due to physical events such as wildfires, earthquakes, flooding, and vandalism. Modern security standards attested by SOC 2 reports reduce vulnerability or compromised security policy. More than 94 percent of businesses see an improvement in security after implementing cloud solutions (RapidScale). In a sense, if businesses move systems to modern cloud-hosted platforms as a part of their digital transformation, they’re outsourcing the pain, cost, and challenge of operating software so that they can focus on advancing business strategy.
4. Insight. Having connected systems means that businesses can follow behavior. They can measure everything: customer activity, inventory, productivity of employees, and much more. This data can be analyzed with tools that yield actionable insight. Businesses might realize they’re spending heavily on tactics that don’t produce results. Or that the results are coming from a secondary source, and that’s where they can focus investment for better results. The tangible result is more effective deployment of resources—whether it’s people, cash, inventory, maintenance efforts, growth strategy, or otherwise.
While digital transformation isn’t new, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift and made it “an urgent priority for businesses” (5 Huge Benefits of Digital Transformation). Many businesses expected working from home (WFH) to be temporary; however, it has quickly become the norm and isn’t going away. According to a recent poll, 62 percent of IT professionals expect to support a mix of on-site and remote users in 2021 (Endpoint Security for a Remote Workforce, Q32020). Businesses that prioritize fluid strategies will allow IT to support users wherever they are and will benefit greatly as a result. Preparing for the future and embracing flexible solutions that include moving systems to the cloud, automating processes, and increasing security will ensure business continuity is achieved in 2021 and beyond.