Technologies available now can help businesses drive up their productivity, profits and customer satisfaction - and even save money. This year, it’s been more important than ever to make use of digital tools and software. If you haven’t considered taking them up, perhaps it’s time to ask: Does your franchise need a digital transformation?
Every day, new technologies make the world of work more efficient, satisfying and visually attractive. If you haven’t revisited your systems in a while, it could be time to rethink your approach and consider how you could use technology to streamline business operations.
You may think you’re not alone in sticking to the old tried and tested methods - and you’d be right. But you’re in the minority. In fact, 90 percent of companies now use the ‘cloud’ for business (Leftronic). And it’s not just large corporations moving their systems into the digital world. In the past six months, one in five SMEs have started implementing services like e-commerce tools, team collaboration software and email marketing (Entrepreneur).
How do you know it’s time for a digital transformation?
Here are a few tell-tale signs your business is in need of digital transformation:
- There’s no one responsible for digital strategies
- Your website is unattractive or incompatible with mobile phones
- You haven’t taken steps to set up social media profiles or interact with customers online
- You’re not gathering information digitally to improve your business
Personalising customer engagement and continuing to stay connected with customers in a world where there is not the same level of physical access to customers is a big priority for small businesses now. So, the question for them is how do they develop and provide a connected experience with their customers in a digital world? – Enrique Ortegon, Senior Vice President of Small and Medium Businesses at Salesforce
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Advantages of digital transformation
- Integration - When moving your systems online, you do more than just transferring processes across; you’ll have the chance to combine all aspects of your business to achieve integrated, efficient operations. On average, businesses use 900 different applications across their departments (ZDNet) - but this figure is falling as companies start to recognise the benefit of investing in a single centralised system. By using software with a number of helpful tools, you can develop an integration strategy to help grow your business over time.
- Extra data - Innovative technologies can collect useful information about business processes to help companies improve and grow. And if you use a single, integrated platform, you’ll be able to get a complete overview of your business’s performance, from sales and operations to customer satisfaction and employee productivity.
- Better customer communication - This year, the pandemic has had an impact on how businesses can interact with their customers. While retail employees could previously chat to people over the counter, many companies in the sector are now forced to take their communications online, via social media and email newsletters. Businesses with a digital transformation strategy already in place have been able to maintain conversation with consumers. But even when face-to-face interactions are on the cards again, companies are likely to take advantage of digital tools to continue providing a personalised customer experience. Given two thirds of companies say they complete mainly on client satisfaction - and this figure is thought to have risen to over 80 percent in 2020 (Gartner) - it’s worth doing so.
- Improved performance and productivity - All the advantages listed above combine to help businesses boost their performance. You only need to look at the statistics to see how beneficial it can be to put your money into integrated technologies. According to the SAP Centre for Business Insights and Oxford Economics, 80 percent of companies with a digital transformation strategy have increased their profits. And 85 percent now occupy a larger market share.
- Faster innovation - If businesses streamline their operations, they’ll be prepared to implement new tools and software platforms as they emerge. This approach allows companies to act faster and innovate when the time is right, rather than be held back by outdated systems and processes. The most successful businesses are agile and forward-thinking, so keeping up with industry trends is vital if you want your business to lead the way.
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How do you implement digital transformation?
Innovating your franchise business model will become more and more important as time goes on and businesses increasingly move towards digital solutions. There’s no need to be daunted by the thought of incorporating new systems into your operations, as there’s a huge amount of information out there designed to help business owners take advantage of new technologies. In fact, we've created an article focused on highlighting some of the best Cloud-Based Tech Solutions for you to use.
For now, here are a couple of key factors to bear in mind:
- The crossover period can cause complications - Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight, so you’ll be running two different systems in conjunction with one another for a while. Trying to manage both can cause issues, so it’s vital you brief your teams on how to handle the transition.
- Extra training may be needed - Digital tools will be most effective when a business has an in-depth understanding of their capabilities. You may find it helpful to organise a training session to make sure employees have the skills to keep operations running smoothly. Even if the software you use seems fairly self-explanatory, it’s worth scheduling a quick meeting to brief team members on the new system.
As a franchisor, it’s important to keep pushing your business forward and researching the latest technologies. Upgrading your systems might seem like a huge upheaval, but it can have incredible results for a franchise, particularly when new technologies are rolled out to franchisees.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©