Digital Transformation (DT), a phrase commonly used, needs to be understood and implemented by the Indian SME sector on a priority. DT is certainly not something that can be done overnight, but it calls for a well thought out strategy to be laid down backed by budgetary support.
Getting down to the brass tacks, let us break the Digital Transformation process to manageable units. The use of computers, emails, word processors, spreadsheets, and some computer applications reflects that the company has the bare minimum Information Technology tools in place. Such tools provide a basic computer-enabled ‘support’ to some of the operations of the company, mostly in silos. With the advent of smartphones, average office users are now able to use much modern digital technology in their day to day work. However, none of these advancements by themselves can be equated to the “Digital Transformation” process.
The term ‘Transformation’ acquires equal importance, if not more when compared with ‘Digital’. A company needs to relook at its business in the context of the digital technology that surrounds it and ask a fundamental question to itself “Are we conducting the business in the best possible manner in today’s environment or are we still using the old methods, supported by a computing technology, which is not very relevant today?”
The process of transforming the business processes, reinventing the basic business model if needed, creating new services/products that are unrelated to existing ones, and bringing about a change in the working culture of the company could be termed as “Digital Transformation”. Not many companies, even large enterprises, have been able to do this across all areas.
The key here is to understand that digital transformation is a journey. SMEs in particular, need to take the first step in this direction without losing time since the world of business is changing and the rate of change has accelerated to some extent during the Corona Pandemic.