Small Businesses and Digital Transformation: What You Need to Know

Have you ever been to one of those restaurants where touch screen monitors are the ones taking your orders instead of an actual person? These are called self-service dashboards or kiosks. This is part of how developments in technology are making companies more agile, innovative, and customer-centric. The process is now known as digital transformation.

What Is Digital Transformation?

The focus could be on four words: technology, efficiency, innovation, and customers. Digital transformation is about taking advantage of technologies to drive processes that create change and efficiency, which takes into account a pleasant customer experience. It’s a process that cultivates a growth mindset amongst company departments and stakeholders.

Are you being posted abroad? How many life insurance companies in the Philippines or Thailand did you check, where you can buy products online? Self-service dashboards are accessible in the restaurant and grocery store businesses. Now, insurance companies worldwide are also implementing self-service dashboards.

Small Businesses and Digital Transformation

There seems to be no turning back when it comes to the use of technology. The International Data Corporation (IDC) anticipates that companies big and small will shell out about $2 trillion on digital transformation by 2022.

Experts, however, warn that the process is not easy, and many have encountered serious challenges. Part of these challenges includes the lack of legislation and issues on privacy and security.

Notwithstanding these challenges, adopting a digital transformation mindset will be beneficial for your business. Here are a few things to consider.

Don’t rush it

Plan for it, but don’t dive blindly into it just because everyone else is doing it. It is estimated that more than 90% of small to medium-sized businesses are struggling with the implementation of digital transformation projects simply because they aren’t ready.


It’s a “community effort.” Collaboration and communication are crucial aspects of the adoption of digital transformation. If company divisions are working in silos, digital transformation is hard to achieve. While the IT team is responsible for identifying appropriate technologies, other departments, e.g., sales, marketing, or HR, must identify products and services using relevant techniques. In fast-food restaurants, it’s always annoying to fall in line behind someone who takes ages to place an order. Self-service kiosk eliminates that.

Key initiatives to watch for

So the self-service dashboard is one of the hottest items you should consider as part of your business. Here are a few more that you might need to look into.

  • Compare and buy options. Remember, digital transformation is also about customer experience. If you give your customers a quick opportunity to compare and then buy products, then you are impacting your sales efforts in almost an instantaneous way.
  • Enhanced customer interaction. We’ve all been passed around like a basketball when calling customer service, and it’s an ugly experience. With new technology, storage of and access to customer information and their purchase history are now made seamless. Your frontline staff would be able to respond to the customer’s inquiry with the information easily accessible.
  • Chatbots. Sometimes it won’t even be a person responding to the calls, but the response would be person-like. Chatbots are one of the closest things to artificial intelligence (AI) that’s transforming how a company does business. Automation that reduces one to one interaction with a customer creates efficiency.

Since this involves technology, the process is going to be heavy on change management. Be prepared to continuously apply principles of change management as you add new initiatives to your digital transformation process.

Isa Lillo


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