Digital transformation is a tough term to pin down. Ask ten people what they think it means, and you’ll likely get ten different answers. Broadly, digital transformation seeks to use technology to improve productivity and automate processes, but at what point do you know that the effort is worth it? Ideally, you’ll have an idea about what you want to improve and why and then set clear objectives to measure those effects. Digital transformation shouldn’t be a goal unto itself but should have a solid purpose. Measuring the effects of a digital transformation can be a challenge, but with the right goals in mind, you’ll be able to push this ahead in your organization.
Many organizations lag behind and still rely on outdated methods in their internal processes. Some of these systems are simply due for an update, while others can endanger the continuity of an entire business model — especially now. The hugely disruptive Covid crisis this year has brought many of the most pressing problems to the fore.
Even highly innovative products are not immune. Take the video conferencing service, Zoom. A sudden surge in demand caused the company to cut corners and opened the door to malicious actors, seriously calling the company’s reputation into question. Of course, the company has since patched their security vulnerabilities, but other similar services snapped up market share in the interim.
Another sector even less prepared for a sudden shift was education. E-learning platforms have had to scramble to keep up with demand, leaving students without vital learning hours. Making sure a service is robust enough to quickly expand capacity is a vital part of digital transformation — even for companies that are already digital.
Vulnerable to disruption
Perhaps more surprising, however, is how logistics companies were sidelined. You’d think that logistics would keep up with other sectors — especially ones that it supports, like retail. But parts of the supply chain are glaringly inefficient. The World Economic Forum cites the fact that 50% of trucks travel empty on return journeys, for instance. Filling these for both legs of the journey not only brings in more profit but also reduces an overall carbon footprint. Figuring out what is where and when takes digital tools. $1.5 trillion is at stake for logistics companies that modernize, according to WEF.
The notoriously complex logistics industry still relies on some very analog systems. Automating many of these with digital platforms and applications can shore up profits and deliver real benefits to consumers. Of course, many business leaders know in broad strokes about what inefficiency they’d like to fix, but how — and who will do it — remains a challenge. One of the ways Espeo helps in this regard is leading digital transformation workshops to dial down on the areas to improve and create an actionable backlog of tasks to follow.
Measuring the effects of a digital transformation
Head of design, Mateusz Małys leads the workshops to pinpoint where to start a digital transformation and how to measure the effects. Most companies, he says, already know what they want to fix, it just takes an outside eye to help focus priorities and set tasks. First, he finds what problems the client faces, and then forms a plan of action. He also points to the logistics industry as a sector ripe for digital transformation.
“I had an opportunity to talk with one of the biggest companies on the Polish market, recalled Małys. “Many of the processes that the company was doing was on excel spreadsheets printed out and pinned to boards in the office. Especially mapping out directions for drivers as they went along their daily routes. A solution to this is to digitize this process with an app and move it all online.”
The company knew they wanted to move away from the paper, but leading this charge needed some expert guidance.
“With a proper solution in terms of the proper application can handle this online,” said Mateusz. “First of all, you can access it wherever you are and you can clearly see what’s happening in real time. This is where we’re supposed to come in and provide additional features and functionalities tailored to the needs of companies.”
In the end, some seemingly small updates such as real-time tracking translated into real productivity improvements, improving the company’s internal processes and ensuring a better product for consumers.
A well-timed digital transformation can mean the difference between getting ahead of major disruptions and being sidelined by them. Being proactive about the kinds of necessary changes your business has to make in order to stay competitive is essential. Making sure you have a set of improvements you want to make and the right strategies to pull it all off is more important now than ever.
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