Business Transformation

Tips for a Successful Digital Transformation

Ray Blakney - CEO and co-founder of Live Lingua. Photo: File

As a business leader, it is crucial that you continually look for ways to grow your company. One way to do this is by digitally transforming aspects of your enterprise’s operations to help you reach and attract more consumers. All kinds of businesses can benefit from a digital transformation — food service companies can launch mobile apps, brick-and-mortar retail establishments can launch e-commerce websites, etc. — so think of ways that your business can benefit from adopting the use of new technologies.

During the Mexican swine flu pandemic of 2009, I had to digitally transform my previous business (a brick-and-mortar language immersion school) into the Live Lingua online language learning platform — it is now one of the top three online language schools in the world! Thus, I know a thing or two about a successful digital transformation and wanted to share my tried-and-true tips with other company leaders. That said, here are the vital steps you need to take when digitally transforming your company.

Do an Audit of Your Business

The first step you need to take is doing an audit of your current business. This will help you objectively decide which parts of the company can be moved into the digital space and which cannot. Can you adopt the use of various software systems that will automate time-consuming tasks? Can you improve your business’s customer service by adding a live chat function to your website? Should you revamp your marketing strategy by placing a greater focus on social media ads and other digital promotion?

Think of the various ways that technology can help bolster your business’s growth and profitability. This also goes for how your team members work together; would they communicate better and amplify productivity with a new internal messaging system like Slack? Would their morale be much higher if your company adopted new cloud services that allowed them to work from home whenever they wanted to? Rather than in-person trainings, can you teach employees new processes via video chat?

Test, Test, Test!

Once you determine which parts of your business can work well in the digital space, it is time to test your ideas. You definitely don’t want to just nose-dive into technological changes and hope they work — you should run a trial first to see how they affect your company. For example, if you are testing a product or service your enterprise offers online, then create the offer and try to sell it first (ideally to existing customers) to see what they say. If no one seems interested in signing up for the service or ordering the product online, then you can ditch the idea at almost no cost.

Revise Standard Operating Procedures

If any of the ideas are successful after testing them out, then it is time to sit down with the team and revise any existing standard operating procedures (SOPs) to account for the online space. This step is crucial in figuring out exactly how your business will go about in implementing these new changes. How do you need to switch up the budget so your company can purchase new software and/or applications to make the operational changes? While writing the SOPs, you might also realize that you need to either train staff members for these new tasks or hire somebody to fill in the new position.

Launch Your Digital Transformation & Track Progress 

After completing the above steps, it is now time to make the technological modification in your business — launch your minimum viable product (MVP), increase the work-at-home time of the staff (if this is part of your transformation), implement the new software or application into your company, etc. From this point on, the key to success is consistently obtaining regular, measurable feedback monthly or ideally weekly. This feedback allows you to constantly tweak and improve the digital transformation until you get to a point where it works as well as your past operations did.

To Wrap It All Up

In today’s digital age, technological advancements are vital to a business’s long-term sustainability and growth. To conduct a successful digital transformation, you must first do an audit of your entire business to see what can be moved into the online space. Then make sure to test your ideas to see if they would really work. Finally, review and adjust your SOPs, implement your technological change, and get regular, measurable feedback to make any necessary improvements. Keep all of these fundamentals in mind to digitally transform your company and bring it to new levels of success.

Written by Ray Blakney.

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Ray Blakney
Ray Blakney is the CEO and co-founder of Live Lingua, a renowned online language learning platform. Live Lingua offers a unique and immersive approach to mastering a new language, as it pairs users who want to learn Spanish, French, Chinese, and more with their own hand-picked, certified, native-speaking tutor for online teaching sessions. Ray is also the CEO and founder of Podcast Hawk, a SaaS product that helps people get booked on podcasts.
B.S. in Computer Engineering at Case Western Reserve University.
Ray Blakney is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn.