Get your digital house in order sooner rather than later.
No doubt about it, the pandemic substantially altered the way many companies operate. After those first frightening weeks of temporary shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, a lot of businesses chose to kickstart their digital transformation efforts rather than just make do with technology that couldn’t support virtual operations. Other businesses, ones that couldn’t operate remotely, used the time to finally start tackling their digital to-do lists. In any case, a recent McKinsey Global Survey shows that companies have accelerated their digitalization efforts by several years. What’s more, respondents were three times likelier than before to report online customer experience accounting for 80 percent of their interactions.
Fantastic, right? The more digital, the better! Wellll. At On Now Digital, we’re thrilled to see so many companies embracing digital transformation. Of course, we also know that rushing the process (or even getting forced into it) can lead to an unstable digital infrastructure with a whole host of problems, from data breaches to inefficient workflows to poor customer experience and more.
As the world, along with all of its wonderful businesses, is starting to reopen, addressing digital infrastructure issues now may be a huge time and cost saver for you down the line.
What is digital infrastructure?
Simply put, your digital infrastructure is the solid ground on which all of your company’s operational and IT systems play. This includes data centers, cloud services, financial software, ERP and other systems, customer portals, even your broadband. Essentially, what are all of the technologies in place that enable you to do business?
So… a poor digital infrastructure can wreak havoc?
Sure can. It all comes down to what kind of system architecture you have in place. Are the necessary technologies connected in a way that allows the required data sharing? If your systems are not designed to integrate in smart, logical ways, you could end up with:
Mindless data reformatting
Invalid or outdated data
Duplicate data entry
Inefficient resource allocation
Systems integration is the effort to evaluate the architecture and put the necessary connections in place. It requires both an in-depth understanding of the business goals and sharp technical skills. Some companies have the resources they need in-house, but many rely on a software integration partner.
3 Steps you can take before you start vetting software vendors
If you have an unlimited budget, hurrah! Hire away. However, if you’re like most, your IT budget is tight. This is especially true if your team is currently maintaining any legacy software, which can eat up as much as 80 percent of your IT budget. You can save money (and headaches too) if you take a few preliminary steps before you start looking for estimates. Consider these upfront tasks:
Define what you have – Make an exhaustive list of all of your software platforms and (this part is important) who “owns” them. Once that’s established, the owners can start taking inventory of what data types their systems house.
Discuss what you need – This is the time to identify business goals and any possible timeline requirements. It’s good to take stock of your internal resources and how much outside time and skill your IT team will need.
Clean up what you have – Data cleansing should be a part of your integration so that you make sure your systems only have current, quality data (no errors, outdated data, duplicates, etc.) Your integration partner can certainly help with this, but it may be a step worth cutting costs on.
Your integration partner can actually help with all of these steps. How quickly and cost effectively your software integration goes is often connected to how diligently you and your team prepare. It can be complicated, though, we get that. Lack of preparation is often because you just don’t know where to start. Feel free to reach out to the On Now Digital team any time with questions!