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Digital transformation is changing the way businesses operate successfully, especially in the age of COVID. It has not only allowed companies to continue operating when hit with unexpected circumstances as with the pandemic, but also to reach new heights of production and efficiency.
When you commit to digital transformation, you’re enabling your company to modernize systems, meet evolving customer demands, and leverage new technologies that are the driving force behind a new technical revolution.
Related: 5 Digital Strategies Every Company Should Implement Right Now
Managing digital transformation is a no-fail mission
To be successful at digital transformation, companies need bold leadership committed to change, comfort with emerging technologies, and a focus on the impact of digital change on customers, products and services, internal processes, and opportunities. It means taking a hard look at how the work has been done and considering new approaches.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the need for digital transformation, and it has been a catalyst for change. On a practical level, the pandemic forced millions of employees into work-from-home scenarios. Companies that did not have tools to connect employees virtually were well behind their competitors as a result. Through digital transformation, companies can react quickly and nimbly when such disruptive events occur, allowing for new approaches to all aspects of their business.
But jumping into a digital transformation makeover might seem daunting. What does your business really need to accelerate its digital transformation? Here are five technology solutions essential for your digital strategy and how to incorporate them into your digital transformation.
1. Cloud storage solutions
The cloud has dramatically changed the way companies store and access data. Cloud solutions let companies keep data and applications on remote, secure servers, which allows for rapid scalability, quick deployment of new solutions, and better information management.
Cloud storage solutions such as Google Drive, OneDrive, and DropBox are ideal for the mobile workforce, allowing access to information while working from home or traveling. Employees can easily access information from wherever they are. Usually managed by third parties, cloud computing gives you the flexibility to build, store, and launch new applications, store ever-evolving amounts of data, and adapt quickly to changing needs.
2. Collaboration and communication tools
With more employees working remotely than ever before, collaboration and communication among team members, partners, suppliers, and customers is essential. Collaboration suites are crucial to making this happen, as they allow teams to store, edit, manage, and share documents widely. These products mean employees can access needed information no matter where they are, as long as they are connected to the internet. Microsoft’s Teams product integrates with popular Office apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, and Outlook and works on the cloud-based Office 365 and desktop versions. Google’s G Suite similarly integrates Gmail, Sheets, Docs, and Drive products.
Slack is another popular collaboration tool with shared workspaces and communications tools. Like other collaboration tools, Slack allows connected team members to initiate conversations, communicate, and collaborate on documents.
The top collaboration suites also include functions for easy communication, either via instant messaging or video calls for multiple users. Other popular conferencing tools like Zoom, which have exploded in popularity, allow for all kinds of conversations and meetings, including webinars, lectures, and conferences.
Related: 3 Things That Will Boost Your Team’s Communication
3. Remote project management
The expression “herding cats” is particularly apropos in the remote working environment, when a manager might not see team members for days at a time and has little idea what they’re up to. Projects still need completing though, and remote project management solutions can help keep employees on task and progressing towards business goals.
Programs like Asana, Atlassian, Basecamp, Slack, Jira, Monday, or Trello (there are many different options) all provide powerful software to help managers assign critical tasks, manage workflows, and stay up-to-date on progress, all in an easy-to-monitor display. Managing projects more efficiently can keep employees out of time-consuming meetings, enabling productivity instead. It can also help accelerate the adoption of other digital solutions in a synergistic way.
Related: These Remote Project-Management Skills Matter Now and Here’s Where to Learn Them
4. Cybersecurity solutions
No discussion on digital solutions should be held without considering cybersecurity. Any rapid adoption of emerging technologies will be a waste of time without securing the solutions you choose to employ. Whether it’s sensitive data that’s stored on the cloud or video conferences that are discussing confidential information, they must be secured—especially with teams distributed as they are now.
Tools and solutions like multi-factor authentication, employee awareness training, password strength standards, and encrypted VPNs to enable remote employees to access corporate resources are all critical for the company that’s trying to rapidly adopt new tech. The threat of cyberattacks is too great to leave remote workers unprotected.
Related: A Business Leader’s Beginner Guide to Cybersecurity
5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions
Why use a CRM? It leads to shorter sales cycles, sales automation, faster responses, better retention, and a more in-depth analysis of what works to move leads to make purchases. With a CRM, sales teams, marketing teams, and the accounting department can work together seamlessly to ensure a customer’s needs are met—even when they’re remote. Since digital CRM solutions’ data is hosted on a cloud, it can be accessed from anywhere.
Salesforce, Soho, Hubspot, and Freshsales are some well-known and excellent CRM solutions that can help remote employees maintain high customer care standards no matter where they’re working from. An ideal digital CRM solution can pay dividends for a company when it helps them efficiently manage customer relations and improve their bottom line, even during a pandemic.
Related: Top 10 CRMs Small Business Owners Need to Thrive
Embracing the journey
Digital transformation should not only be welcomed but looked at as an exciting opportunity to view your business through a new lens. It’s the chance to think about new possibilities, examine how you deliver products and services, and leverage technologies in new ways. It’s also about creating a mindset of innovation and resiliency throughout the organization, opening the door for employees, partners, and advisors to help develop better processes, better products, and better companies. Explore all the possibilities and start taking the first steps on your business’s journey.
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