The health emergency currently gripping the United States has revealed just how important it is for businesses to digitize their operations. The crisis has revealed large digital divides not just on a national level but also on a state level. Now more than ever, business owners must be aware of why digitization is important to your continued fiscal prosperity and what steps you can take to get the process started.
Digitization in the US
One of the major hurdles encountered by businesses in their digitization efforts is that they are unaware of how it could help make their companies more efficient. According to a study conducted only two years ago, approximately 40 percent of businesses don’t believe digital tools are relevant to their operations. Meanwhile, 38 percent think that digitization will be ineffective in helping their business. Those two factors are why only 20 percent of small businesses in the United States are taking advantage of the potential provided by digitization.
Lack of connectivity is also a major challenge. The health emergency revealed that some states, such as Alabama, have vast areas where broadband connectivity is difficult. Aside from physical infrastructure, successful digitization hinges on dependable technical support. Partnering with a reliable IT solutions provider is essential.
When accomplished, digitizing your business yields plenty of benefits that give you an edge over competitors.
Benefits of Digitization
The primary benefits of digitization are generally about improving your business’s cost-effectiveness, streamlining operations, and increasing revenue. Specifically, it bestows the following advantages:
- Reduce overhead: Digital interfaces and processes can significantly reduce overhead costs. For example, paperless transactions mean you no longer have to stock up on the paper supplies. Digital interactions, such as telecommuting, also reduce travel expenses.
- Increased communication: Thanks to the variety of communication channels available online, keeping in touch with your coworkers and employees is easier than ever. Aside from e-mails, video conferencing tools and instant messaging apps help keep everyone in your company connected.
- Decentralized operations: This is perhaps the most relevant benefit of digitization today. Thanks to enhanced communications systems, remote work arrangements allow your business to operate despite current restrictions, such as stay-at-home orders.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. Digitizing your business can provide benefits unique to your industry.
But what basic steps can you take to begin digitizing your organization?
The Basic Steps to Digitization
The difficulty of digitizing your company depends on what field of industry your business is in. However, there are some basic digitization techniques you can enact to get the ball rolling.
- Start using cloud-based apps and technology to begin transitioning to paperless operations. Thanks to this kind of software, you can upload documents and share them with employees easily.
- Offer employees with the means to connect to the internet, such as mobile hotspots or reliable data plans with internet providers.
- Slowly incorporate protocols that rely on digital connectivity in your day-to-day operations. Maybe you can begin with teleconferencing and lay down the groundwork for more intensive steps later, such as work-from-home arrangements.
Digitizing your business is a process, and you shouldn’t rush it when doing so is more likely to damage your operations. But when done right, you can usher your business through the current crisis and prepare it for the future.