Insights Digital transformation: understanding the issues.

Today, digital transformation is a strong but poorly structured issue. Indeed, if we refer to what European SMEs and SMIs think, 76% of them think that digitalisation is a priority.

54% of these companies see the need to integrate new technologies to remain competitive. Finally, 57% expect a positive impact on business from digital in the next 5 years.

Faced with heavy investments, difficult-to-find skills and quite long deployment times, companies are reluctant to transform.

In these rather complicated circumstances for them, it is important to be able to help them not to miss their transformation and to opt for the right decisions.

Why do digital transformation?

  • Controlling costs: today, margins are very low in most sectors. Pressure from customers, distributors and large retailers are the main causes. It is therefore necessary for brands that have chosen this positioning to keep costs to a minimum in order to remain competitive.
  • Make relevant decisions: Having reliable information is one of the key issues today. Indeed, information is omnipresent. From production to accounting to marketing, it is important to make it reliable and available in real time for relevant decision making.
  • Increase the quality of products and services: Today, the consumer is king. They want a product that fits their needs, with the best value for money. The control of the quality produced is one of the challenges of the digitalisation of companies.
  • Control deadlines: Since globalisation has accelerated in recent decades, it is important to be able to seize the maximum opportunities in your target market. With a very expensive workforce in the West, it is essential to digitalise companies to continue to compete and respond quickly to customer needs.

Data-related issues

  • Securing: Digitalisation is no longer enough, it is now essential to be able to have protected data without which the impacts can be catastrophic. Physical data (e.g. paper) has become too risky (fire, theft, etc.) and digitised data is the favourite target of hackers.
  • Centralisation : Having an ERP or a tool in Lille, another in Marseille and yet another in Nantes is no longer possible. Firstly, this data is different for everyone, and it may not have the same meaning. It is therefore essential today to enable companies and groups to make the desired data accessible to the target persons. Above all, it is essential that this data is integrated into a single channel to ensure that it is always unique and therefore reliable.
  • Real-time access: Having access to reliable data is one thing, having access to real-time data is another. Indeed, the majority of companies, and especially decision-makers, want to see what is happening in real time. Why? In order to make the best possible decisions. The truth from 5 minutes ago is not the same as the truth of now. For example, if a machine repair is to be carried out in production, it is better to be aware of it in real time so that the problem can be remedied as quickly as possible.
  • Traceability and history : These elements are very important in increasingly standardised environments. This is the case in healthcare, but also in aeronautics and in many other environments. The objective is to follow the entire manufacturing process of a product and to ensure that the product is “compliant” with the standards to which it is attached.

Organisational issues

  • Process performance: Transformation cannot take place without processes that are adapted. Indeed, if the processes are not efficient/effective, i.e. there is too much “waste” or they are not adapted to the tools deployed, then the impacts of this transformation will not be good.
  • Emergence of needs: Of course it is important to transform with the right tools and processes, but the most important thing is to meet the real needs of the company. If I opt for a Ferrari when I don’t have a driving licence, my Ferrari will be useless to me. Of course, beyond this metaphor, it is important to understand that without the needs, the choice of tool or process cannot be relevant.
  • Change management: During a digital transformation, it will be important to change the behaviour of potential users and to accompany them through the change. Indeed, without this, a digital transformation can be doomed to failure with the majority of users refusing to accept it. It is therefore essential to identify a strategy and the actors of these changes who will accompany the people in the company.
  • Identification of skills: Making a transformation is good, but it is also important to have all the necessary skills to ensure this change and especially to make it a success. Without existing skills in the company, this transformation will be a failure.

Key elements of digital transformation

People & Budget

Process

Needs

Tools

Conclusion

A digital transformation is much more complex than it seems.

Indeed, to transform itself, a company should not only focus on the tool it wishes to deploy. It will have to take into account, in its transformation strategy, the existing processes in the company and ensure that they are still relevant when it comes to transformation.

The transformation should cover the maximum number of needs or functionalities not covered by the other existing tools. It will be very important for the company to co-construct this transformation with all of its employees to ensure that the teams are fully satisfied and that they do not come up against the fears and obstacles that a change can generate in a company.

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