4 steps towards digitalisation on a limited budget

2022 09 20

Do you know that Europe has gained 100 million digital users since 2019?  

According to the annual McKinsey Digital Sentiment Survey in Europe, the adoption of digital transformation remains strong despite the expected boost in offline activities after COVID-19-related quarantines ended. Most business leaders understand the benefits of digitalisation. However, not all businesses rush to deploy digital solutions. 

So what holds companies back from digitalisation?  

In this blog post, get ready to explore this question in-depth and discover four main steps, helping to start your business digitalisation, even with a limited budget. 

Why do businesses not rush into digital transformation? 

It is not a secret that large businesses deploy innovative digital solutions far more often. Yet, SMEs still see it as an aspiration or a dream. The reasons for this might range from a limited financial capacity to fear of investing. Especially in the face of uncertainty about prospects or, as is currently the case, anticipation of a coming recession. Though digitalisation does not have to cost much to deliver tangible results. It is all about knowing where to start.  

Depending on the market and the nature of a company’s business, digital transformation can simplify and speed up its processes, reduce costs, increase reliability, improve efficiency, provide more convenience for its partners and customers, and ultimately lead to higher revenue. 

However, smaller companies are more likely to avoid implementing business digitalisation. Boston Consulting Group’s study shows that only 28% of businesses employing fewer than 1,000 people use innovative technological solutions

Business leaders often see digitalisation as a long-term, expensive, human resource-intensive project. Yet, digital transformation is a one-off project. It rather should be seen as a multi-step process that does not need to be undertaken at once. Moreover, a proper assessment of the company’s situation, objectives and means to achieve them, even small actions, can add significant value.  

So what should you do if your company seeks to implement digitalisation but has a limited budget? Get to know the four steps which help you to start. 

#1 Appoint a digitalisation leader   

Depending on the size, nature and needs of your organisation, this could be an existing member of staff or a newly recruited professional. The work could also be outsourced to a third party, such as an IT consultancy firm. 

It is essential to understand that digitalisation is not just about technology and tools. Above all, it is about the people. So the digitalisation leader’s main task will be to become a link between the company’s technology, employees, and decision-makers. In other words, the leader must ensure that the management agrees with the changes. But, at the same time, the employees know how to use the solutions. 

#2 Prepare a digitalisation strategy and an action plan   

Depending on the company, the digitalisation strategy can cover the next three, five or even ten years. It involves setting and prioritising your goals to help you decide when and where to invest first. 

Equally important is the time and investment required for different stages and the implementation of innovations. Examining these issues will highlight the “low-hanging fruits” that can be picked first. So the additional income (or savings) they generate can be invested in further actions. 

There is no single universal recipe. Even seemingly similar manufacturing or service companies can have radically various needs and “bottlenecks.” The reasons for this vary from the channels, technologies, tools, and integrations used or how data is collected and analysed to the digital marketing and sales solutions applied. Simply put, it all depends on the company’s level of digital maturity

#3 Look for tools and evaluate their benefits   

Testing or introducing innovations is usually associated with a significant initial investment, which does not necessarily guarantee success. But this is far from true for all digital solutions. 

For example, the global leaders in public cloud solutions, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, offer companies the opportunity to try various technical features without a significant initial investment. This means businesses can sign up for free plans and try out data analytics, archiving, artificial intelligence, text and voice recognition. Although if they do not have a large initial budget.  

The opportunity to experiment and assess the potential of these solutions is particularly relevant for smaller companies. They can also benefit from flexible service plans, such as a billing model based on their consumption. This makes it easier to try out technological solutions while avoiding financial risk – all they have to do is pay a monthly service fee. Then, if the tool does not work out, the contract can be cancelled at any time. In general, cloud solutions make it quicker, simpler and cheaper to implement the digital solutions you want. 

#4 Be patient 

Digitalisation is a marathon, not a sprint – it does not happen in a month, six months or even a year. The different stages, and the implementation of innovations, may take a finite amount of time. Still, the process itself has no definite end and should be continuous. Once innovations such as new tools, systems, and other technologies have been introduced, it is a great idea to give them some time and attention to get up to speed.  

It is vital to give the people using these new tools enough time to become familiar with the innovations and learn how to use them properly. Usually, these people include your employees, partners or customers.  

Therefore, it is always great to ensure that what has been done is working before taking a new step forward. Otherwise, the company may face dissatisfaction and confusion, hindering its progress. 

The earlier actions you take to understand where your company can begin with digital transformation, the better chances you have to get the most value out of it. If you have any doubts or need professional consulting to jump on the right path — the Baltic Amadeus team is always ready to help you

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