We are halfway through 2023, so it is safe to assume that businesses have started employing digital tools that they integrated at the beginning of the year to transform their operations. Business entities worldwide are increasingly adopting various digitalization tools to achieve enhanced efficiency and productivity across all aspects of their businesses.
Digital transformation tools are known for bringing improved data management, analysis, and decision-making capabilities. They also facilitate communication collaboration, streamline workflows, and centralize documents and information within the organization, significantly improving employee engagement and customer experience.
While every organization is eager to pilot their business towards automation with digitalization tools to survive the competitive market, it is only after integrating the tools that they can assess whether they meet their organizational objectives and requirements. Poor digitalization decisions often lead to negative outcomes such as
- Loss of data,
- Loss of organizational time,
- Loss of workflow efficiency,
- Loss of employee morale, and
- Vulnerability to financial and legal issues.
Moreover, the time and resources required to train existing employees and familiarize new ones with the new technology make this decision critical. In line with the competition and the “fear of missing out” (FOMO) that business owners experience, digital tools have become the new shiny toy for business entities. However, making an ill-informed decision incurs real-time costs both in the short-term and long-term. Short-term costs may include subscription fees, while long-term costs may arise from inflexible multi-year contracts that some vendors try to impose.
According to a 2018 Couchbase survey of 450 enterprise heads in the US, UK, France, and Germany, 52% stated that the fixation on digital transformation had increased the risk of rushing into poorly planned projects. As a result, a significant portion of their average planned spend of $28 million in the next 12 months could be wasted. Therefore, as businesses increasingly invest in digital tools or SaaS-based tools, the risk of making wrong investment decisions also grows steadily.
To ensure that one chooses the right digitalization tools for digital workplace collaboration, one must consider the following aspects carefully:
1. Understand and assess the requirements:
The first step in choosing the right digital tool is to identify the organization’s specific needs. Determine the areas that require automation and define the objectives for digital transformation. Clarify the goals, whether they involve efficiency in terms of cost, time, and resources, improving customer experience, or enhancing data analytics. Consider factors such as scalability, learning curve, integration capabilities, compatibility with existing systems, and advancements in digital tool security.
2. Conduct thorough research on available options:
Conduct extensive research on the wide range of tools available in the market. Study product brochures, watch vendor demos, and delve into modules, webinars, case studies, and product reviews to gain a comprehensive understanding of the tools and how well they align with the organizational goals. Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and user experiences associated with each tool. Also, consider the reputation of the vendor, the level of customer support provided post-integration and the longevity and stability of the digital tools.
3. Assess scalability for future growth:
Evaluate the scalability of the digital tools to accommodate the business’s future growth requirements in terms of capacity and functionality. Avoid tools that require frequent replacements or upgrades. Additionally, assess the level of security and data protection offered by the digital tools, including factors such as data encryption, access controls, user authentication, and backup and recovery capabilities. Ensuring these features will help safeguard the business against future data breaches.
4. Calculate costs accurately:
Consider various aspects when calculating the actual costs associated with the digital transformation tool. This includes the total cost of ownership (TCO), encompassing upfront costs, ongoing licensing or subscription fees, maintenance and support costs post-integration, and any potential hidden or integration expenses. After having all the estimated costs listed, compare them against the expected benefits or return on investment (ROI) of the digital transformation tool decided.
5. Request comprehensive knowledge:
Don’t hesitate to request trials, demos, and brochures from shortlisted vendors. This will provide first-hand experience with the tool’s user interface, functionality, and potential challenges that employees may face when optimizing its use. Involving end-users and stakeholders in the evaluation process will help determine whether the tool meets the actual requirements. Additionally, reach out to organizations that have previously integrated the tool that is being considered to gain insights into the real-time challenges and successes they have experienced. This will help one gauge the long-term value of the digital transformation tool.
By keeping these aspects in mind, one can choose the right digital tools to take their digital transformation to the next level. Once the right decision is made, one can add a competitive advantage to their business by improving efficiency and piloting the business toward success.