Digitisation is no longer optional for businesses that want to stay competitive. In some industries, high-tech organisations generate more than 50% of their revenue through digital channels and services. Digital-native consumers are also making up an increasingly significant portion of the market, further driving demand.
Most organisations are now aware of the need for digitisation, but how to do so may be unclear. Companies can select from an abundance of different tools to aid this transformation, but some are more impactful than others. With that in mind, here are seven of the most valuable digitisation tools for businesses.
1. Cloud Storage Solutions
One of the most straightforward and helpful ways to embrace digital transformation is through cloud storage. It offers all the primary benefits of digitisation — scalability, affordability, flexibility, accessibility and efficiency — in a straightforward, easily-to-implement package. As of 2020, 81% of organisations globally had already adopted the cloud.
If any business hasn’t yet moved some data onto the cloud, the time to change is now. In many ways, cloud storage is the gateway to other digitisation tools. It’s also becoming essential for cooperation among remote employees.
2. Digital Communication Tools
Fast, effective communication is often an obstacle for many businesses, and digital collaboration tools are an ideal solution. In today’s fast-paced, dispersed working environments, email is no longer sufficient. Platforms like Slack and Zoom provide much more efficient and inclusive channels for communication.
Digital communication tools like these enable employees to discuss pressing issues in real-time despite physical distance. They also make it easier for workers to visualise where everyone is in their projects, leading to smoother collaboration. Using a consolidated platform also gives teams a single place to address any relevant issues or ask questions.
3. Cloud ERP Systems
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems include multiple smaller apps that help companies visualise, manage and optimise their business processes. ERP provides a single, consolidated platform to view every part of a company’s operations. This visibility makes it much easier to find and eliminate redundancies, remove inefficiencies and plan the business’s future.
Cloud-based ERP systems like NetSuite take these advantages even further. Since they have no hardware or maintenance requirements, businesses can implement and scale them without excessive costs or disruptions. Enterprises can set these software tools up quickly and start benefiting from them with minimal downtime.
4. CRM Platforms
Digitisation should also improve a company’s outward-facing actions, not just its internal operations. Customer relationship management (CRM) software provides businesses with the agility and insight their consumer relations need to stay competitive in the digital marketplace. Platforms like Salesforce and Hubspot typically include tools for communicating with customers as well as understanding their actions.
Digital customer communication tools let help desks answer consumer questions and concerns quickly, ensuring higher satisfaction. The other part of CRM analytics gathers and analyses data about customer behaviour. With this information, companies can refine their marketing streams to make more sales and reach new audiences.
5. Digital Accounting Tools
As businesses embrace more digital tools, their accounting processes should likewise go digital. Traditional accounting methods can’t keep up with the speed and distributed nature of digitisation in other areas. Digital, cloud-based accounting tools like Xero and Sage can make these tedious processes more efficient and straightforward.
Many of these platforms today include automation features to let smaller accounting departments handle more at once. They also come with third-party integrations, helping companies create a more cohesive digital environment. As organisations’ digital investments grow more diverse and complex, these interoperable, efficient accounting resources become indispensable.
6. Social Media Management Platforms
Businesses can no longer afford to ignore social media’s value. Research shows that 72% of American adults use at least one social media site, and more than half use Facebook, Instagram and YouTube every day. Companies need to be active on these platforms to stay competitive, so social media management software is crucial.
Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social help businesses optimise their social media presence. Features typically include post scheduling, ad management, user analytics and performance monitoring. With a single place to view all of a company’s social media actions, employees can cultivate a much more engaging and impactful presence on these sites.
Digital-native consumers expect quick results and around-the-clock availability. Enabling this level of service isn’t always possible with human workers, especially for smaller businesses. Chatbots allow even the smallest organisations to provide the types of fast, insightful interactions that today’s consumers want.
People are used to talking with chatbots, and some even prefer it. Nearly 40% of internet users would rather speak with a chatbot than an actual customer service agent. By augmenting their support staff with these AI programs, businesses can meet the increasingly demanding needs of the digital marketplace.
There Are Many Avenues to Digitisation
The path toward digitisation looks different for every business. These seven tools are among the most impactful, so organisations can begin their digital transformation journey on the right foot by capitalising on them.
Digitisation rarely happens all at once, nor should it. Businesses should start small, embracing a few of these tools at a time. As they slowly adopt more, they’ll become fully equipped for the digital future before they realise it.