The high speed development of technology, coupled with more customer centric approaches and increased employee expectations are transforming businesses in almost every sector.
To stay ahead and remain at a competitive advantage, companies are now having to transform how they operate. This means investing in digital transformation and re-inventing how their businesses are structured.
According to a recent report, the global digital transformation market was valued at USD 284.38 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow by 22.5% between now and 2027*
In the UK, it’s a similar story. Whether you’re working in manufacturing, production, logistics, distribution – or pretty much any other sector – digital transformation is growing rapidly. This trend is something we’re seeing with our clients too. Many businesses realise the importance of innovation and are asking us how they can stay ahead of the competition.
Questions our customers are asking about digital transformation
Here are some of the most common questions our clients are asking at the moment. Do any of them resonate?
- How can my business meet customers’ changing demands and maintain a competitive advantage?
- How can I garner more insights from my data and use that to improve decision making across the business?
- How can we create a more joined-up approach and step up the visibility across our organisation?
- How will AI and automation affect my business, and do I need to be using it now?
As these questions show, there’s definitely a realisation that innovation is important for business growth. But despite this understanding, many businesses aren’t necessarily turning their ambitions into reality.
In recent research by EY Global, 62% of business leaders said it was critical to transform their organisations in the next two years. Yet only 2% believed they were fully optimising the benefits of digitisation in their key processes **.
So how do you go about digitally transforming your business?
It’s a complex question, but we have three key tried-and-tested stages that we follow:
- Listening to our customers and discovering their challenges and ambitions. For this we use our Employee I.D.E.A System.
- Ensuring all the foundations are in place for digital transformation, including cloud solutions and a solid cyber security set-up. This is carried out by our First Solution team.
- Planning and implementing transformation solutions that are right for your business. Our First Digital team are experts in this area.
Let’s have a look at these three stages in more detail.
Listening and understanding your business needs and ambitions.
There’s one place that we think all transformation should begin. And that’s with your people. After all it’s the individuals who determine your success – or failure.
That’s why we always start our client relationships by listening. We talk to individuals in different departments, finding out their motivations, their challenges and how technology might be able to help them.
From these individual stories, we’re able to start building a comprehensive picture of your business. We’ll look at how your teams work together and how they might interact with other departments to increase efficiency or grow more effectively.
In our experience, successful transformation projects rely heavily on cross-company working. Companies that have joined up processes tend to be more effective and much more able to self-organise at speed.
It’s also essential that everyone understands and buys into your digital strategy if they are to get behind it fully. So rather than kicking off with conversations about strategy, or any technology, we always take a people-first approach.
Laying the right foundations to increase the success of your digital transformation
Once we understand your teams and motivations, we’re all about making sure you have the right foundations for successful transformation.
In our experience, there are three key areas that need to be right before transformational technologies can be properly integrated. What are these three areas? Cloud solutions, cyber security and managed services.
Let’s look at these three foundational areas to get an idea of how they can help you.
Cloud: using Microsoft cloud solutions for effective data integration
Cloud-based systems have already transformed businesses across a wide range of industries. In today’s fast-paced world, every company needs to stay on top of their cloud solutions and services if they want to keep evolving and benefiting from the technologies that come to market.
Whether you need cloud storage or more flexibility, we cover the entire software spectrum, including assessment, migration, implementation and integration. We also have relationships with leading cloud service suppliers like Microsoft, Cisco and Amazon, so we can offer you the very best tools and solutions on the market.
With cloud-based structures in place, you’ll be able to maximise your digital business strategy. Ultimately, this means you can continue increasing your business flexibility, reducing risks and costs – and making decisions based on data insights from across your organisation.
Cyber security: three layers of security that help keep your business safe
For any kind of digital transformation you’ll need to have your cyber security nailed down to keep your business safe.
At First Solution our cyber security offering has three layers:
- Proactive Security. To prevent breaches in the first place, we use a range of tools to safeguard your business from malicious websites, malware, email phishing and spam.
- Protective Security. When potential threats pop up, you have to catch them quickly. We’ve got you covered with rock-solid malware protection, login checks to keep hackers from getting into your systems, and detection strategies to stop rogue devices before they cause harm.
- Reactive Security. With solid protective and proactive security, you’ll shut down most threats, but some will still slip through. So our last layer quickly recovers systems to a safe state. This is about providing back-up and recovery, a local vault to minimise data loss and hybrid cloud recovery which provides on and off-site data storage.
With these layers in place, you’ll be safe from hacking or malicious software that can cause huge financial or reputational damage to your business.
Managed Services: how we can help you achieve your business objectives
Our managed services offering is all about keeping your business running 24/7/365. With your IT taken care of, you can concentrate more time on helping customers and growing your business.
Before working with clients, we start with a free IT security health check and spending review, followed by a benchmarking exercise to compare where you are now, with where you want to be. From here, it’s our job to create a clear action plan – or as we call it, a Service Delivery Plan.
Every month, we’ll measure and report on your processes and make sure you’re getting the most out of the technology you’re investing in. Our overall ambition is always about transforming your IT from a business cost into a positive customer experience that’ll help you grow your business.
Making digital transformation happen
With sound infrastructure in place, you can start moving from traditional business processes to becoming a digital leader. If you want to be a Netflix rather than a Blockbuster, you need to start changing the game before it changes you. And our teams at First Digital are here to help you do that.
When it comes to digital transformation, Many IT companies like to sell-in big platforms, or convince clients that a full overhaul is the only way to effectively evolve. We beg to differ.
We believe the most effective way for SMEs to transform is to do it in small increments, learning as you go and applying lessons to maximise the impact of your new technology.
Part of this process is dovetailing new technology with your existing infrastructure, which allows you to innovate cost-effectively with low risk and without shelling out for expensive platforms.
To see how ready you are for automation and innovation, you can take our free Automation-Ready Assessment. In just a few minutes you’ll receive a bespoke report and next steps for your business.
Transforming your business with the Microsoft Power Platform
When it comes to integration, we’re big advocates of the Microsoft Power Platform. This smart piece of technology is made up of multiple elements that can help you increase efficiency and reduce costs.
If you’re not familiar with the platform, here’s a top-line view of the four key components:
- Power Automate
A simple way to connect your business processes and automate them effectively.
- Power BI
A data visualisation platform, giving you valuable insights that can prompt proactive action.
- Power Apps
A way to create apps quickly and cheaply, then integrate them into your business.
- Power Virtual Agents
Build chatbots that interact and take actions for your customers.
You can find a more in-depth overview of the Microsoft Power Platform in our recent blog post.
How can the Microsoft Power Platform help SMEs?
One of the things we love about the Microsoft Power Platform is that it can be implemented in stages. You can also adopt certain elements without adopting others, meaning you only pay for what you need.
Using the platform, we’ve helped many clients to make savings and improvements with just a small investment. To see what we mean, take a look at our case study, which shows you how we used the Microsoft Power Platform to help our client CD Auction Group.
Office Manager at CD Auction Group, Jenny Hodson, explains the effects in her own words: “Thanks to The First Solution Group, Power Automate has helped us save time and money, and with their help, we will be looking at streamlining more of our processes.”
Today, digital transformation is vital for any business. This is no time to be a Blockbuster. Innovation and ongoing digital evolution are essential if you want to keep growing and secure a competitive advantage.
Yes, the process is complex, but it doesn’t have to be daunting, or involve an expensive overhaul. Instead it’s about taking small incremental steps.
It’s about understanding the people and teams at the heart of your business, laying foundations and then implementing digital transformation in a way that supports your unique business requirements.
Whether you’re ready to implement the Power Platform, or need to fine tune your cyber security or cloud solutions first, the key is to keep moving forward.
About First Solution Group
The First Solution Group is made up of three businesses. First Solution, an award-winning IT management service and technology strategy company. First Digital, which supports business transformation through the delivery of low investment, high return technology. Plus, First People, a resources company, providing the right leadership, operational and technical skills to support business transformation.
Book a call with our Digital Transformation lead to see how we can help you.
*Grand View Research, Market Analysis Report. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/digital-transformation-market