Forbes – Iain Scholnick, Founder and CEO of Braidio
August 12, 2021
The urgency of marketplace competition has long been the driver for making digital transformation a priority for enterprise organizations both large and small, in basically every industry. In recent years, the need for cloud-based digital transformation has even created a bit of a frenzy, with new products and systems showing up every week — and organizations even going as far as to create a new C-suite position, the chief digital transformation officer. In a recent IDC InfoBrief, the firm found that 54% of business owners admit the No. 1 challenge when it comes to meeting digital transformation goals is braiding all of these new solutions and projects into their everyday business.
For late adopters, choosing what system to use can be overwhelming. You want to make sure you’re taking a modern approach while also meeting the specific needs of your employees and your customers. On the other hand, early adopters may find themselves stuck using legacy solutions, which can silo a business in the modern age and cause productivity decreases and employee frustration. So, whether you started in 1990 or 2021, there has been a distinct evolution of digital transformation in the business world, and understanding the different types of solutions available is the first step toward successfully digitizing your business and boosting productivity.
Here’s a breakdown of the way the digitization of the business world has evolved over the years and what’s going to be important moving forward:
Systems Of Record
Not every company’s digital transformation journey starts or ends the same way. For those early adopters who began their transformation early, systems of record were what was generally relied on. Systems of record (SOR) typically rely on using internal data to store information that is easily accessed by employees. Examples of a SOR include a CRM for a customer-facing company or an electronic health record (EHR) system for a health care organization. These systems create a record and specialized data that a company can use to inform future decisions, all at the click of a button.
It makes sense that the digital transformation wave started here. Companies began to realize the power of data and needed a way to effectively weaponize that data to create change in their business practices. And it’s still a central piece of any organization’s digitization; according to Gartner, any innovative technology will at some point rely on a SOR to be effective. Yet, simply having a SOR in place can’t magically modernize an organization and create that total productivity change you’re looking for.
Systems Of Collaboration
Next up was the introduction of systems of collaboration. The SOR failed because it kept companies siloed; the data was available for certain departments, but there was no easy way to disperse that information and keep everyone informed. Systems of collaboration tap into the data collected by the SOR, but more importantly, they allow for a flow of knowledge between employees at a speed that wasn’t possible before the technology improved. Famed platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams have perfected this system of collaboration and allow teams to interact with and pull out this knowledge that had stayed hidden for so long before.
Systems Of Engagement
The next step in the evolution involved systems of engagement. Companies began to realize they needed a system to compile and digest the wealth of information collected from the previous systems. Advances in database optimization technology allowed these new systems to collect and source this data faster than ever before and provide actionable business insights at a rapid pace. Platforms like Zendesk, Constant Contact and even Facebook allowed their users to use their collected data in ways that weren’t possible before.
These platforms gave leaders and organizations as a whole the ability to quickly digest and make business decisions in the blink of an eye and played a key role in developing customer service innovation. In other words, it gave leaders the information and actionable insight to develop digital strategies and switch from being product-focused to delivering service-focused outcomes. As a result, the customer experience benefited, which helps other parts of the business, from sales to marketing, and more importantly, systems of engagement served as a catalyst for the next step in the evolution.
Systems Of Productivity And Outcomes
The final stage of the evolution, or what is currently the best way to enable transformation, involves threading systems of productivity and outcomes together. By linking digitization to productivity and outcomes, you can make sure these other systems you use are working together to create efficiencies for your team, your customers and your company — without adding to their existing workload.
Technology has finally progressed to the point where we can take the advantages of all the systems that came before and use them in a cohesive and unified way to create a better customer experience platform delivering revenue and productivity outcomes for customers, our employees and also ourselves. Companies like my own company, Jira, Trello and Microsoft 365 give teams the power to link workflows and scale productivity across their entire organization.
Once a company has achieved true unified digitization, workflows for the entire company can be mapped out quickly, the adoption of new tools can happen quicker than before and your company can focus on creating those all-important end-user experiences. It doesn’t matter how much utility your system brings if it’s not directly connected to the quarterly goals and business outcomes you have set. These systems of output are the best way to take advantage of everything technology has to offer to the business world, and you don’t want to be left out.
So, whenever you do start your digital transformation journey, make sure you understand exactly what you’re looking to get out of it. For many, the framework for digitization already exists in your company with legacy systems. The most important thing you can do is make sure you’re always taking that next step forward.
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