Your introduction to digitisation for business
What is digitisation?
Simply put, digitisation means to convert something into digital format. You may opt for electronic bills instead of paper bills with your suppliers, for example. This is a small act of digitisation.
When it comes to the role digitisation plays in business planning, it's all about using new technologies to digitally manage your daily business operations, as well as interactions with customers, service providers and other stakeholders.
Examples of digitisation in business
- Storing client records on devices, such as tablets, to back up physical files.
- Providing employees with electronic payslips in place of hard copies.
- Placing orders with suppliers via online portals, not in-person or over the phone.
- Emailing customers receipts with POS software, as opposed to invoices.
If you’re already doing one or more of the above, you’ve already begun your digitisation journey. But for small businesses in particular, digitisation offers a wealth of opportunity for your ongoing evolution. The best part? Doing more digitally doesn’t have to be hard.
Why is now the time to prioritise digitisation?
In years gone by, evolving in line with new technologies was a priority reserved for big business and enterprise. But times have changed, and so have technology solutions.
Currently, the Government is backing critical and emerging technologies to strengthen Australia's future. So, what does this mean for small businesses? According to the report ‘Towards 2030: Positioning Australia as a leading digital economy and society’, to thrive in an increasingly online future, Australian businesses, no matter their size, need to adopt and adapt digital technologies at a greater rate than ever before.
“Digitalisation isn’t just about big business,” the Towards 2030 report states. “Small businesses have much to gain by investing in digital tools to streamline back-end processes, increasing their online presence and transforming how goods and services are delivered.”
The report also states that highly digitally engaged businesses earn 60 per cent more revenue per employee and grow 28 per cent faster than businesses with poor digital engagement. If you want to help your brand reap similar benefits, it may be wise to include a digital strategy in your business plan.
How will digitisation benefit my small business?
Including digital technologies in your business strategy can help increase your productivity and save you time. In fact, the more everyday processes your business digitises, the more opportunities you may find to become more efficient. As a bonus, your customers may also benefit, helping to improve your reputation and build brand loyalty.
Key benefits of digitisation for business
Today, many businesses use digital technologies to help improve how they operate. The right technology solutions can help your business do the following:
- improve business efficiency
- increase productivity
- lower operational costs
- better meet customer demands, and
- help protect your business online.
How digitisation helps to save your business time
The more time you can save as a small business owner, the better. By automating and optimising day-to-day business processes via digitisation, you can cut back on doing so much manually. Not only can such strategies give you more hours in the day, but you’ll also minimise the risk of human error.
3 ways to free up more time with technology solutions
- Communicate with customers online to help improve your responsiveness and encourage brand loyalty.
- Collaborate with your team while working remotely
- Add appointment scheduling plug-ins to your website so customers can book online, freeing up time you’d otherwise spend scheduling on the phone.
- Help speed up order processing and meet transaction and delivery expectations by offering online payment methods and providing automated shipping updates.
Tackling the challenges of including digitisation in your business plan
For all their benefits, implementing technology solutions can still be a challenge. And with a growing number of digital solutions on the market, it’s wise to think carefully about which ones to include in your business plan.
Challenges to overcome on your digitisation journey may include:
- Lacking the time to add new tools and systems to your business strategy.
- Integrating digital tools so they work together despite being designed separately for different purposes.
- Finding the support you need, via services such as digital consultancy, to make decisions on which digital solutions will suit your business best.
Given these challenges, it can be tempting to stick with what you know. But as customers’ and employees’ expectations evolve, the old ways of doing things are becoming outdated. That’s why the best approach is to focus on the advantages of these new technologies instead of the challenges.
What help is available for small businesses who want to embrace digitisation?
If you'd like to streamline your day-to-day operations with technology but don’t know where to start, you’re not alone.
Many Australian small businesses are currently considering using more technology to help improve business operations and to interact with customers in the following areas:
- Purchasing, inventory, and supply chain management
- Invoicing and payments
- Marketing and promotion
- Customer relationship management
- Online sales and delivery
- Customer bookings or scheduling.
Even so, it can be hard to stay on top of evolving technology between the day-to-day pressures of running a business. The good news is: your business need not do it alone.
If you’d like your future business strategy to include digital solutions, here are some resources that can help you plan your digitisation journey:
- Digital tools for business. Where you can find digital tools and software to help you connect with customers and employees.
- Understand the benefits of going digital - Business.gov.au. Where you can learn how digital tools and systems can benefit your business.
- Digitisation - Public Record Ofﬁce Victoria. For advice on converting physical or analogue records into digital records.
You can also use the Digital Readiness Assessment Tool at business.gov.au to find out what your business is doing well and what you can do to improve your digital maturity.
And remember. You control the future of your business; technology can help you thrive.
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