My thoughts on working with digitization

Published on: July 08, 2017

This blog is about how I would utilize digitization if I were the head of a small company.

I’m including tips on how to be less vulnerable if your freelance programmer or IT supplier cannot find time to do your task, or backs out and leaves your project.

The imminence of digitization

We often read in the news about the process of digitization in many companies. More and more contemporary influencers emphasize the importance of digitization and immerse themselves in discussions of concepts such as digitization, artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IOT), big data, disruption, and so on.

It can be challenging to get into these things while running your business at the same time, but there is no way around them. We must embrace digitization.

It’s normal to get startled and to take no action at first― the world will not end tomorrow, and all your competitors have exactly the same problem.

What is digitization?

Digitization is the act of automating processes, which result to saving time and money because it reduces errors and lessens the manpower needed to finish tasks. Some examples of digitization include:

  • Online booking of hotels or airline tickets, where customers do all the work themselves, thus, eliminating misunderstandings that often arise in phone calls between customers and hotel representatives.
  • Webshops or online shops. Before the existence of webshops, buyers personally go to a physical store to look for the item they need, or check printed store catalogs to see which products suit their budget. If you’re a business owner, having a webshop can save you from paying for employees’ salaries and rental fees for your store’s site, especially if you have a big shop.
  • Online bills payment that save you time and money, as compared to having to personally go to stores or payment centers to settle your bills.

The degree of digitization in your business can vary in different aspects, like in automatic updates in ERP systems, warehouse systems, shipping systems, and so on. When you receive an order through a webshop or a physical store, a developed digitization takes place from the webshop to the cash register and refines integration.

As a business owner, digitization will save you money on employee salary because it will enable a person to do more tasks and fewer errors, as long as your system works. You also save a lot of time, which also translates to financial gain.

Digitization and what I’d do as a business owner

If I were the head of a small company, I’d take digitization as a necessary component for the growth and success of my business. To make the most of the advantages that digitization can bring, these are specific steps that I will do:

  1. I’ll devote two to three hours a day to read and learn about digitalization—the integration of digital technologies through digitization of systems. I don’t need to be a social media expert or a programmer, but I will immerse myself in reading various materials, articles, and discussions to understand what can or cannot be done, especially in the field of my business.
  2. I will hire a digital manager who is fully knowledgeable on digital trends. The digital manager should have a good technical understanding―doesn’t have to be at a programmer’s level― but a sufficient working knowledge for her to speak to programmers, IT consultants, and technical individuals. In addition, she should have a good understanding of digital marketing. Both qualifications are equally important. Knowledge of your business industry is an advantage, but not necessary.
  3. In collaboration with the digital manager, I will make a digitization strategy for my company. Here, I have to get the low-hanging fruits first or the easiest ones to do, like SEO optimization, Google AdWords, or Facebook advertising. Be careful not to rush into conceptualizing a huge project to begin with. If you think about it, there are many projects that do not require 1,000 hours of programming.
  4. The next thing I will do is find an IT company that can do all the programming tasks—to execute the digitization—and any graphics-related work needed.
  5. If my business is at a level where I can afford to employ, I will hire a full-time programmer to solve small technical tasks that appear all the time. Then I’ll collaborate with an external IT supplier to do the major tasks. The programmer I will hire can also validate the information I will receive from IT companies I’ve worked with, as well as assist in creating development specifications, and the like. Lastly, having both a full-time programmer and external IT supplier will make me much less vulnerable as a business owner: If the programmer resigns, I have my IT supplier to back me up and vice versa. If I wish to terminate the services of my IT supplier, I have my programmer to continue assisting me the technical part of digitization.

Don’t be left behind

There are many ways to get started with the digitization process, but one thing is for sure: all businesses are going through it, including your competitors. You shouldn’t be left behind.

Here’s an interesting read from McKinsey & Company on why your business needs digitization, and why it must be done now.

1902 Software Development has developed and automated more than 1,000 projects over the last 20 years. If you have questions about digitization, or if you’re looking for an IT company who can help you digitize a part of your business process, we can help you with your project. Fill out this contact form, and I will get back to you immediately.