How to Digitally Transform Your Commercial Operations

Sept 8th, 2023

Digital transformation is the process of using technology to improve your organization.

This includes your company’s website, social media, mobile app, internal processes, the software you use to accomplish day-to-day tasks, the way you store (and share) your data, and your cybersecurity system, among others.

Since technology is always changing, the ways your commercial operations use technology should also constantly be changing. That’s why digital transformation is an ongoing or iterative process.

While digital transformation has significant benefits, it can also be a substantial undertaking. This guide explores the reasons why digital transformation could be worthwhile for your company and the practical steps of implementing an ongoing digital transformation initiative within your organization.

Key Takeaways:

  • Digital transformation is the deliberate use of technology to improve your organization.
  • The benefits of digital transformation include improvements to productivity, user experience, scalability, and data quality, which ultimately result in both time and cost savings.
  • Digital transformation is an ongoing, iterative continuous improvement process, not a one-time task.

🤐PSST: Click here to learn why high-quality contract data is essential for your commercial operations.

Is Digital Transformation Worthwhile?

While some organizations resist change, the most successful businesses have embraced digital transformation.

For example, while McDonald’s may seem like an unlikely candidate for digital transformation as an in-person business with a physical product, features like mobile ordering, self-service kiosks, digital menu boards, and loyalty programs are all products of digital transformation.

While digital tools can also transform your manufacturing, warehousing, or researching activities, this guide focuses on digitally transforming your commercial operations. That includes everything from sales to distribution to customer service, both front- and back-end, but not production or development.

While there are ultimately many reasons why you might pursue digital transformation within your commercial operations, some of the major benefits include:

  • Enhanced Productivity. One of the reasons commercial operations undergo digital transformation is because of the productivity they can gain through automation. This increased efficiency can result in your company’s time and cost savings.
  • Digital Experiences. Increasingly, the experience you offer your users is equally as important as your product. Digital transformation can enhance your users’ experiences through features like personalized recommendations, self-service support options, and streamlined communication.
  • Scalability. Another benefit of digital transformation is that digital tools (particularly software as a service, or SaaS) are much easier to scale as your company grows. While traditional tools like a physical inventory management system, paper filing cabinets, or on-premises servers are difficult to scale, their digital alternatives make growth easier and less costly.
  • The Power of Data. Good data is the lifeblood of most major organizations like Meta or Amazon. Digital transformation makes data collection more efficient, generates new types of data (like consumer behavior patterns or abandoned shopping cart records), and gives organizations the tools to analyze better and utilize that data.

McDonald’s embodies digital transformation by using the right technology to meet their customers’ needs and deliver the experiences their customers want.
Image Source:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/mcdonalds-to-sell-digital-startup-dynamic-yield-to-mastercard-11640096590

5 Steps of a Commercial Operations Digital Transformation Plan

Like any transformation, digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight.

Digital transformation is a process, not an isolated event. That means that digital transformation is not a one-time project, but an ongoing journey of improvement—less like a makeover and more like a skincare routine.

However, the steps of digital transformation are easy to follow and repeat:

1. Identify Technology Needs

Without the right technology tools, true digital transformation is impossible. Technology is more than just the icing on the cake of digital transformation—it’s what powers and drives the transformation.

In insurance, document management tools are fueling remote work. In healthcare, data management tools are improving patient outcomes. In commercial operations, contract management tools are helping businesses stay compliant. In short, the underlying technology should be foundational to your digital transformation plan—not an afterthought.

Your technology needs are based on your organization’s mission statement. Start by identifying what it is you’re trying to accomplish (and why). Next, list the roadblocks or bottlenecks that make it difficult for your organization to accomplish that goal. Finally, identify the ways technology can bridge those gaps and bring you closer to your goals.

For example, a company in the hospitality industry may have a goal of empowering relaxation through offering stress-free vacations. They recognize that the check-in process is often stressful for guests, so their digital transformation plan includes the implementation of a mobile check-in feature—the technology that helps bring them closer to their goal of a stress-free check-in.

Since digital transformation is an iterative process, you may identify several technology needs within your organization, or you might start by implementing a single piece of technology before repeating the process. The pace of your digital transformation depends on your size, budget, industry, location, and many other factors, but since it’s an ongoing process, it’s better to start small—it’s much easier to add scope than it is to shrink it.

2. Data Collection and Analysis

High-quality data is one of the end goals of digital transformation, but the data you already have is an important tool for orienting your efforts in the right direction.

Data collection and analysis answers questions such as:

  • What are our users’ “pain points,” and how can we use technology to address them?
  • How do consumers prefer to interact with our brand?
  • What’s the ROI of our digital transformation efforts thus far?
  • How can we improve the accuracy of our financial forecasts?

Throughout your digital transformation process, you should collect and analyze data to not only measure the success of your digital transformation but also to identify opportunities for improvement.

3. Organizing and Mapping

The cost of digital transformation often takes the form of added complexity. After all, opening a lemonade stand is relatively simple, while developing a companion mobile ordering app is relatively complex. Each digital solution is a new component of your company—a new process, task, or tool that wasn’t previously a part of your commercial operation.

It’s important to organize and map your processes and workflows to counteract this increase in complexity.

There are many ways to organize your processes, such as standard flowcharts and value stream maps, but one particularly effective mapping tool for digital transformation is a swimlane flowchart (or “cross-functional” flowchart).

Swimlane flowcharts are so named because they show the flow of tasks (similar to a standard flowchart) and the relationships between functional teams. This is useful in digital transformation because it shows where technology tools fit into your processes, what department or functional team is responsible for that tool, and what the end result or output of the tool should be.

Swimlane flowcharts are useful for digital transformations because they show the relationships between teams, which can help clarify some of the added complexity your digital transformation could create.
Image Source:
https://helpjuice.com/blog/process-mapping

4. Change Management

Change management is a structured approach to guiding your organization through a transition, such as digital transformation. This involves not only the practical implementation of your digital tools, but also the training and adjusting phases of employee acceptance.

Keep in mind that some team members may strongly oppose changing their processes. With change comes uncertainty, and if your team members are worried that a new piece of technology might replace their job or that a new process might affect their work-life balance, it’s reasonable for them to resist that change.

Good communication and clear expectations can help secure employee buy-in, and that’s what the process of change management deals with. It can also help to have strong buy-in from leaders—not only managers within your organization, but also influencers among their peers.

Your teammates should know why you’re changing their processes or tools, what to expect in the future, and how these changes will benefit them (either directly, or indirectly, by benefiting the commercial operation as a whole).

5. Monitoring and Continuous Improvement

Since digital transformation is an ongoing process rather than a one-time project, the final step is not truly a final step but a jumping-off point for the next digital transformation cycle.

To monitor the success of your digital transformation within your commercial operations, identify KPIs that can measure the outcomes of your changes.

For example, Conversion Rate measures the percentage of your users that take a certain favorable action, such as signing up for a webinar, downloading a demo, or making a purchase. Conversion Rate measures the success of things like user forms, email marketing, and web pages (frequent components of digital transformation), so it’s a useful KPI for commercial operations.

The KPIs you use to measure success should be relevant to the goals of your organization (and your industry), relevant to the changes you’ve made, and easily measurable.

Embrace Digital Transformation with Contract Logix

Contract Logix is a contract management platform that helps businesses securely manage their entire contract lifecycle. In fact, Contract Logix is the leader in digital contract transformation, or DCX.

If your businesses use contracts, your digital transformation plan should include a plan for contract management. Your company can benefit from the advanced AI and machine learning tools Contract Logix uses to help you draft, share, sign, monitor, and store your contracts.

To see how Contract Logix can enhance your contract management and kick off your digital transformation, request a demo today.

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