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Digital at the heart of your operations

8th November 2016

We are living in a world where digital permeates every part of our lives. But in many businesses, there is a cordon, (or even a fence) of paper at the heart of the business. Most business processes and systems were created without the potential of digital in mind, and indeed in a time pre-dating its extensive use to enhance business operations.

Efficiency and productivity are often the key drivers to digital operational transformation, but there are many more secondary drivers too:

  • Increased agility and flexibility
  • Greater innovation
  • Improved speed of time-to-market
  • Improved employee experience
  • Improved customer experience

When considering digital productivity, there are four key technologies; Cloud, Social, Mobile and Data, which underpin almost all activities. The primary solution for most operational activity is the use of cloud technologies.

Cloud is not a new concept but has, in this incarnation, been fully adopted by businesses at all scales. It’s been driven by the need to work anywhere, on any device, and collaborate seamlessly. The great advantage for cloud use is its ability to swap a high level long-term capital commitment for a variable revenue expense – in other words a flexibility on budgeting, and only paying for what you consume.

This has tremendous advantage to the capacity planning inside business, but it equally needs to be considered as an enabler of business growth, and not just a monthly drain on resources. A good starting point for the impact this change of budgeting can have is to review the total cost of ownership in your current digital storage (on-site or off-site servers), and also consider transition costs in your calculations. You will then be able to identify clearly by comparison with a wide range of Cloud storage options available, how soon you’ll achieve Return on Investment. And its usually very swift.

Your digital toolbox

Your requirements for digital processes and systems will be unique to your business, but there are common operational requirements in every business. For example -

External customer relations - Think about how digital could impact on sales, marketing and customer service, ensuring customers are engaged and satisfied 24/7. Platforms for social media management, web interfaces for self-serving clients and intelligence tools for direct marketing are all areas for consideration.

Internal business systems - Review how digital could impact on financial management, updates and reports, reviewing real-time data and analytics. Think of other business operations, ensuring staff have ready access to easy-to-use systems that motivate and empower staff, and management, how self-serving staff platforms could reduce admin burdens of time management, leave and sickness requests.
There are thousands of software products, services and platforms that are promoted as a ‘cure for all’ so it’s vital to spend time reviewing platforms and software services to evaluate their place in your business. And its vital to consider how well they will be adopted by your staff and colleagues as a part of the plan – make sure that you build in time and money for staff engagement and training too.

  • For each service, create a set of criteria to evaluate performance as well as specification requirements. For example, ask how each of the products could:
  • Streamline productivity - reducing inputting time for staff, reporting time
  • Encourage staff to become self-serving – requesting/inputting/outputting from a single source
  • Provide intelligent data – or contribute to increased data for the business
  • Interconnectivity with other platforms/services

Cosmic are offering the first South West based Digital Leadership Programme, join us for our inspiring and motivating sessions run by our joint CEO’s, Julie Hawker and Kate Doodson, which will help you to gain a wider understanding of digital leadership, digital operations and give you the chance to network with others within the group.

For more information and to book please visit: cosmic.org.uk/leaders