6 Benefits of Digitisation That You can See Immediately
Without a doubt, business digitisation has plenty of benefits. The World Economic Forum would not have emphasised the importance of the 4th Industrial Revolution (also known as Industry 4.0) if it was not important at all.
Having said that, today’s article is not to cover everything and neither am I here to discuss any possibilities of future benefits (things are changing too fast to even talk about it). Hence, this article is about what you can see immediately and what you can gain instantaneously when you digitise your business.
With that, here are some of the amazing benefits that you can take away if you were to digitise your business today.
Note: I need to clarify that Digitising, in the context of business and the context of this article, is really about moving away from the traditional printed documents, even if they were prepared through various tools like Microsoft Excel, Word Documents or equivalent.
Digitising in this article means that everything is executed in a digital format. Once you understand this, then you’ll agree that digitising will also require some form of online database or system as the engine of digitisation.
1. Better Sales (through Lead Management)
Let’s get straight to the point.
Digitising the lead management of your sales process can help you increase long term sales. Right?
Because, let’s be brutally honest, finding new sales leads is expensive. And that’s why cold call centers (especially in Asia) can still survive (as a service) by generating new sales leads for their customers.
If yes, then why not manage your sale leads yourself?
I guess the typical answer I get is that tracking leads is really too much of an admin hassle, and that is probably true.
If you are one of them, then I strongly recommend that you should start digitising your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) process. While CRM has to offer here, my advice to you is to start with exploring this option seriously.
And when you digitise this process, I am very confident that your sales revenue will gradually increase.
2. Building Client Confidence
Taking it from the previous point, I continue to emphasise the importance of the sales process. However, and just to be clear, the Sales Process I’m referring here relates to the speed of execution. And indirectly, building client confidence to close sales faster.
So what do I mean?
Let’s say you have met up with a client already and you know that they are fairly interested in your product offering.
You are meeting this client for the 2nd time and you have already prepared a sales quotation for them, and by doing that, you have already keyed in the relevant client information into your database. The second meeting is really to give them a peace of mind with any outstanding questions that the client might have and you close the deal.
The meeting ended before lunch and as soon as it ended, you open your iPad, get into your online database and within a few simple clicks, you have already sent out your Sales invoice (via email) for request of the payment deposit within 2 minutes.
Some of you may assume that the invoice or email (that I’m referring here) have been prepared in advance. No, that’s not the case here. You are merely using a few shortcut features within the cloud database and everything is out within 2 minutes or less.
After lunch, as your client saw the email, they saw efficiency in you too. Hence, with the positive impression, they paid you in the same day.
Now imagine the same automation but for your entire business, won’t your clients love you too much?
And that’s the power of business digitisation.
3. Rebuilding Business Processes
When I work with businesses that are digitising their businesses for the first time, the initial activity they need to do is usually to clarify all of their business processes. These processes can vary but the typical process can be as simple as (1) how they invoice a client or (2) how they restock their goods.
The interesting part to this is that many business owners (or directors) don’t know how the operations work any more.
Don’t get me wrong, they are still very good at managing their business. However, because many of them started the business a long time ago, they built and built and built their business till they don’t need to know the details any more. They have evolved to become very good delegators (or people managers).
As they don’t know how the detailed processes are done anymore, these processes are either outdated or there are plenty of room for improvement.
Hence, when the business starts the digitisation, they are forced to review all the sub or mini processes that make the overall processes work. And, while doing so, they rebuild new processes that are an upgrade (of the old one) or a complete change.
Note: For this to happen, we expect business owners, directors or managers to be committed in spending time to review their business.
4. Reducing Slack in the Business
As companies digitise their business, they are now able to include details of their businesses that they could not in the past. That means, the quality of information obtained by the owners (either from their staff or through tools like RPA) is also increasing.
While the business owners love more information, their staffs are forced to capture information with higher accuracy. That means the company as a whole, would either needs to invest in better tools, or need to be more creative and resourceful in dealing with these matters.
As they rebuild new processes (as mentioned above), company heads now have digital evidence to remove or reshuffle staffs who are either inefficient or are resisting to change.
More importantly, heads can also find “Slacks” in areas that they were not aware of previously. The clean up process can be shocking or unfriendly some times because, those (staff) who have been sweeping things underneath the rug (as the saying goes), are now forced to reveal their ugly secrets.
5. Better Cash Flow
And I’m not only talking about cost saving here (even though that’s given when you digitise your business).
Recently, I’m working with a few clients who have been revisiting their business processes (as part of their digital process) and some of them have gained more visibility in their business (thanks to lower cost of entry today). Many of them are shocked, impressed or surprised to see what they see.
Because they realised how much assets are sitting in their backyard that are (1) goods that can be sold and (2) incurring storage cost.
As the business environment is becoming more and more competitive, many businesses are forced to work towards becoming lean. Of course, this can be done with the help of technology and business digitisation. However, thanks to higher quality information, business owners can now work on the idea of just-in-time or just-enough (stocks).
When you free up stagnant assets, you free up more cash.
6. More Free Time
It’s true, the idea of business digitisation is to free up more of your time. Just to be clear, this is to free up time from task driven routines so that you can spend more time reviewing those tasks.
Of course, this will only come to fruition at the end of the implementation process. That’s also because, once the process is completed, you should also expect more Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and more Controls (business and risk controls) to take place.
Imagine this, with a click of one button on your POS (or whatever button it may be), your warehouse, accounts and/or purchasing is updated simultaneously.
McDonald’s is probably one of the more well-known examples of how a business can free up more time. Think about it, when was the last time you saw the business owner or director in McDonald’s operating in the outlet? They don’t and that’s because they have long digitised their business and they have done it globally.
In short, with digitisation, you now have systems and processes that not only run your business for you, they automate it at the same time.
According to the Pareto’s 20/80 rules, you don’t need to know all the benefits of business digitisation. Hence, I hope that this 6 areas shared today is already enough to get you going in this direction.
In short, digitisation gets you more sales, more efficiency, better cash flow and more free time.
I believe these are good enough reasons? And in SmartB, we can help you reach all the above using just one tool.