Good riddance, 2020! And hello, digital solutions.
OK, we can all agree: 2020 was not a banner year for, you know, anyone. The wildfires that raged, the pandemic still raging, the crippling economic fallout, the loss of icons like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Kobe Bryant, and the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery who died opening the country’s eyes to racial injustice. Oh, and that whole grueling, divisive election cycle. It’s been rough all around.
But, friends, we’ve also witnessed incredible acts of kindness, generosity and creativity. We humans are pretty resilient, eh? As a small, friendly software company, On Now Digital has also been really inspired by the way companies have shifted their operations to work remotely, take advantage of new digital platforms and embrace their unexpected steps into the blue-lit age of technology. In fact, according to a recent McKinsey survey, U.S. companies have accelerated their digitization efforts during the pandemic, both in terms of customer interactions and internal operations, by three years.
What do you say we keep the digital momentum going in 2021? Of course, there’s also data showing that while 87 percent of business leaders say digitalization is a priority, only 40 percent of organizations have implemented the digital solutions they want. Sounds like a gap in capacity and knowhow to us. Which, is actually pretty perfect because that’s right where we can swoop in and help. Take a look at our list of digital transformation resolutions for 2021!
1. Ditch the clipboards.
If you’re performing any type of equipment inspection, and you’re still recording your data on a paper form tucked into a clipboard, please, we implore you, let 2021 be the year you adopt an inspection app. There’s nothing wrong with the clipboard system. It works. But, you’re missing out on some huge time-savings, not to mention additional benefits like data verification, real-time data access, photo uploading, knowledge transfer features and more.
2. Leverage data visualization.
A lot of manufacturing companies, commercial testing labs, inspection businesses and other service companies are still relying on Excel sheets for organizing and communicating data. Excel is a step up from paper reports for sure, and we love a good Excel formula as much as the next guy, but scrolling through rows and rows of numerical data just isn’t the quickest way identify trends and gain actionable insight. Data visualization software takes that Excel data, or data directly from apps and IoT sensors, and translates it into interactive, color-coded charts and graphs that offer insights at a glance.
3. Get all of your systems talking.
There is a lot of buzz around creating a single source of truth for your business intelligence and data visibility. In some instances, that’s possible and, boy, is it a treat. However, many companies aren’t set up for that yet. What’s most important, really, is systems integration. If you can connect your different platforms – ERP systems, sales orders, financial packages, etc. – you can create a lot of efficiency in your internal processes.
4. Look for automation opportunities.
Advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence get a lot of attention in the digital transformation conversation. However, sometimes simpler types of automation can have equally significant impact at a lower spend. What do you do that’s both repetitive and time-consuming? Whether it’s physically completing tasks or generating information for reports and invoices, you likely have necessary job functions that take up a lot of manual hours. Look for tasks that are critical to complete but on the lower end of complexity. This is a good starting point for identifying automation opportunities that free up your staff for higher-level cognitive tasks.
5. Prioritize customer experience.
Customer experience (CX) technology is helping businesses revolutionize the way they communicate with customers. It’s all about creating easier, faster ways for your customers to access information and interact with your business. Customer portals, chatbots, voice recognition, self-serve kiosks – these are all user-friendly technologies that empower your customers to get the experiences they want while also cutting down on your customer service hours. Win, win.
Of course, every business has its own unique challenges, budgets and capacity issues. You may want to also make it a resolution to create a digital transformation task force at your company to assess exactly what you need, document your goals and drive the process. If you want to bounce some ideas around, we’d be happy to help. In the meantime, we’ll just be here wishing you all a safe, happy, refreshing 2021! And, singing our favorite New Year’s song: Should auld technology be forgot and never brought to mind…