With the wave of technology and artificial intelligence, the world is moving rapidly, and businesses are going digital to remain relevant. You might easily get carried away with the wave and go digital without a solid plan or strategy, but you need an effective digital strategy to succeed.
The need for digitisation first struck in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as most Nigerian businesses struggled greatly with adapting to what became the norm in business operations. Businesses that couldn’t keep up had to fold up, while those without effective digitisation strategies struggled to stay afloat, despite embracing digital transformation. This happened because it is not enough to automate your business operations. You need to develop an effective Digital strategy to transform your organisation digitally.
With an effective digitisation strategy, your organisation will enjoy improved business outcomes, optimised services, and an increased success rate.
What is a Digitisation Strategy?
A digitisation strategy refers to a detailed outline of your organisation’s digital transformation journey. It includes the key areas, deliverables, expected results, and timelines. With this strategy, your organisation will have access to the appropriate technologies and data needed to ensure smooth operations across the organisation. The strategy guides your organisation through digital transformation.
The digital transformation of your business typically involves integrating technology into your business operations. A digitisation strategy guides you on what technologies you should adopt, why you should adopt them, and how to effectively adapt them to your organisation’s needs.
Why Your Organisation Needs an Effective Digitisation Strategy
It is important to understand what digitisation entails before embracing it. An effective digital strategy helps you to achieve the required understanding. Beyond that, your organisation needs an effective digitisation strategy because:
- It helps your organisation succeed in a digital world.
- It sends the right message to all stakeholders in the organisation—from the employees to your supply chain and your customers or clients, thereby promoting reliable value chains.
- It aligns digitisation efforts across different branches of your organisation.
- It sets your organisation apart from others who only embrace digitisation without any strategies in place.
- It enhances customer service through automated customer service processes, and
- It improves business operations across the organisation.
Digitisation can help your organisation increase efficiency and better decision-making ability, create new digital products and services that solve problems, and attain the peak of success every business aims for.
For instance, the logistics industry probably witnessed the most growth since the pandemic, as most consumers in Nigeria now depend on delivery services across different businesses. Since the logistics industry is saturated, any logistics business that wants to stand out must embrace digitisation, and it doesn’t end there. The first step in digital transformation for any organisation is to develop an effective digitisation strategy.
How to Develop an Effective Digitisation Strategy
In developing an effective digitisation strategy for your organisation, there are some things you must consider. They are listed below:
- Senior management involvement:
This step depends on your position in your organisation. If you are an employee, you must know that the influence of the senior management in any organisation cannot be overemphasised as they are responsible for decision-making. Moreover, digital transformation requires an organisation-wide approach and is not restricted to the IT department. Therefore, the senior management in your organisation must be involved in developing the strategy and resulting digitisation policies for smooth implementation.It is a known fact that most business leaders (board of directors or senior management, or both) are not familiar with the resources needed to embrace digital transformation. However, if they become involved and are convinced to buy into it, digitisation becomes a top priority for your organisation.If you are the founder of your organisation or a member of the senior management, you could also spend time learning about digitisation to have a better understanding.
- Get the foundation right:
Does your organisation have a corporate data policy? If yes, is it in effect? Having a corporate data policy lays the groundwork for your strategy. A data policy sets the requirements needed by your organisation in managing and handling data. It also makes accountability easier.
- What’s your budget?:
Digitisation can be quite expensive; Your budget can be big or small, depending on the size and financial capacity of your organisation. Having a budget makes it easier to prioritise the digitisation needs of your organisation. There are ways to cut down the cost of digitisation, and one of such ways is by treating digitisation projects as operational costs. This way, you will only pay for digitisation when it’s needed. Your projects can be tested and run using cloud computing, making it easier to cut costs. This may not be possible if your organisation is in a sector that requires a lot of money for digital infrastructure and technologies. All of these factors should be considered when setting your budget.
- Do test runs:
You don’t want to dive into digitisation by embarking on huge projects that may or may not be successful. Your strategy should include experiments that can be repeated and achieve the same results. If the experiment succeeds, your organisation will benefit from the results. That particular project (a product, service, or software that eases business operations) will become an integral part of the organisation. If the experiment fails, you can either correct any errors or switch to a tested and trusted alternative.Start your digitisation journey with small projects that won’t consume too many resources, including time and finances.
- Focus on solving problems:
What problems are the business units in your organisation facing? Digitisation aims to make business operations easier. Therefore, your strategy should include solutions that are unit-specific. This is the meaning of the sentence, ‘an effective digitisation strategy helps to align digitisation efforts across different branches of your organisation’, as stated above. This necessitates an organisation-wide engagement in selecting digitisation projects in your organisation. The technologies you intend to adopt must have the ability to solve problems in the various business units of your business organisation.
- Start digitisation with existing technology:
Your organisation doesn’t need to pour resources into developing new technologies. There are thousands of existing technologies that would work great for you. These technologies have already been tested and proven to be reliable, and there are different technologies available for different sectors. All you need to do is make the best choice, depending on your organisation’s needs.
- Get a digitisation team:
Your organisation needs to have a team of experts if you desire a successful digital transition. This might just be the most important step to take in developing an effective digitisation strategy. These experts must have the skillset and expertise required to diagnose and solve top-priority problems in your organisation, identify irregularities and trends in available data, and other important information and steps needed in digitisation.You can either employ a team of experts or onboard an IT consultation firm like Hidden Brains Nigeria. With an efficient team on board, you will achieve your organisation’s digitisation outcomes faster and as desired.
- Consider your customer/target audience:
Nigeria may have millions of tech-savvy youths, but it is quite important to consider your market and how the technology you adopt affects them. If the older generation is the majority of your target audience or clients, you may want to slow down and let them adapt to the digitisation of your organisation, one at a time.Understanding your customers and clients is needed in developing your strategy. As much as the rest of the world embraces digitisation, you have to know that some of your customers may feel apprehensive about it.Don’t assume your customers would keep up. You can make it easier by explaining it to them and ensuring that the technologies your organisation deploys are done in a user-friendly and intuitive format, no matter the industry you operate in. You should be wary of getting so carried away that you lose sight of who you are creating digital solutions for.
- Data storage and data access:
Your organisation should have a flexible approach to data storage and data access. It is vital to have the right data to select, modify, and launch the right technologies that suit your organisation’s needs. Data management in your organisation should be restricted to one method. Depending on the nature and source of the data, your data storage and data access approaches should change. This will also prevent unauthorised access and usage of the data.
- Be accountable:
You need to account for the digitisation process and how results were achieved. This will lead to the adoption of more digital technologies and serve as evidence and a form of guidance for developing future digital products and solutions or improving existing solutions.
- Be ready for change:
Over time, technology changes so rapidly that existing ones soon become obsolete. Your organisation’s digitisation strategy should include plans and models that would allow your organisation to transition easily from the current digitisation state to the future state. At present, businesses are trying to adapt to technologies like virtual reality, blockchain, chatbots, automated assistance, and more. Some reports estimate that AI-powered bots will be at the front line of customer interactions in a few years. Add some years, and even that technology may become redundant in the future.You must also consider the occurrence of sudden events that can also change the course of the world as the COVID-19 pandemic did. Your strategy must include plans that will prepare your organisation if the unexpected happens to ensure the continuity of your business.
Your organisation’s digitisation strategy must address all of these issues to be effective.
When developing your digitisation strategy, you should also consider a green and sustainable approach. The world is becoming more conscious of the effects of its activities on the environment, and digitisation is not left out.
Finally, don’t forget that the purpose of digitising your business is to provide better and more personalised services to your customers and/or clients. Digitisation isn’t supposed to reduce human interactions entirely but give your customers a more desirable alternative. In the baking industry, online banking apps allow their users to do all they need to do without stepping out of their homes. At the same time, they can also interact with a human representative whilst avoiding long queues that are typical of Nigerian banks.
Why Your Organisation Needs an IT Consultant for Digitisation?
As mentioned earlier, you need to get a team of experts to make your digitisation strategy effective from the development stage to the implementation stage. You need to invest in IT consultation, whether as a startup, or a business that has been in existence for decades. It might be hard and more expensive when you try to build a digitisation team from the ground up. So, it is recommended that you partner with an IT consulting firm in your sector/industry, which specialises in digital transformation.
An IT consultation firm like Hidden Brains will help you identify existing problems, find solutions, and implement them. Hidden Brains is an expert organisation with almost two decades of experience in digital transformation. We have designed solutions for Nigerian businesses in different industries like oil and gas, retail, logistics, and others. Hidden Brains is here to help your organisation make a successful transition to the digital side. With a wide range of industry-specific solutions, you don’t have to worry about the success of your organisation in Nigeria or Africa as a whole. The future of your organisation in this digital world is also guaranteed.
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