What Digital Transformation Mean for Small Businesses


Digitization of economy is a very real thing, and although it may take many more years to be fully implemented, today it is already one of the most critical and promising trends in business development across the board. However, what place do small businesses occupy in this picture? Do they have a place at the forefront of this revolution, or is it a prerogative of huge corporations with a lot of cash to burn? Let’s find out what does it all mean for small companies.

1.    It is a money issue first and foremost

There cannot be two points of view about it: although going digital holds some serious challenges, it also provides tremendous advantages, and the importance of following this trend is going to grow as more and more businesses choose to do it and obtain this competitive advantage. Most small business owners seem to understand this – according to a survey by Daily Telegraph, 36 percent of businesses were planning to invest in technological aspects of their work. However, the same survey says that nearly the same share (31 percent) claimed to have no budget for this. Again, 51 percent of small businesses that are not ready for digital transformation blame this on the lack of funds. This means that financial constraints are the main reason contributing to the relatively slow rates of digitizing among small businesses when compared to unwieldy legacy structures and a company culture that hamper bigger companies.

2.    Digital transformation is something much more significant than digitization

It isn’t all that hard to transfer the business documentation from paper to PDFs or make an online store the most important part of the company, but doing so doesn’t mean that your business has undergone a digital transformation – it merely means that you’ve digitized certain aspects of its work. True digital transformation means a complete change in the way things are done. For example, instead of simply selling premade eyewear, Glasses Gallery creates a much deeper relationship with its clients. It keeps track of their preferences and offers what they are more likely to choose, given them an opportunity of trying glasses on virtually and provide additional eyesight-related services. All this allows them to stand out from among other stores selling similar wares.

3.    Cloud is making it all easier

Although there has been a lot of talk about digital transformation back in the early 2000s, small businesses were largely left out of the loop due to prohibitive costs of such endeavors. Over the last few years, however, rapid developments in the sphere of cloud technologies have opened up many venues that have previously been available only to big companies. New cloud-based solutions are making it easier and more cost-effective even for smaller businesses with little cash flow to enjoy the same advantages as multinational corporations.

4.    It is a long-term investment

Small businesses by definition have less staying power than their bigger counterparts. They cannot afford to spend years in the red and hope that investments made today are going to pay for themselves five years from now. An absolute majority of small businesses have to deal with their problems here and now or admit defeat and go bankrupt. That is why so many business owners prefer short-term advantages to long-term ones, no matter how lucrative they may look – they are just not sure their businesses are going to be around if they heavily invest their assets into new technology that will not have an opportunity to bring the intended advantages. However, what they don’t understand is that a digitally transformed business immediately gets an advantage over competition, especially now, while it is not a universal thing: automation of routine jobs, elimination of manual tasks and associated costs, streamlining of time-consuming procedures – all this starts paying for itself the minute the new system is implemented.

Of course, digital transformation is a huge step and one that many small business owners today are hesitant to take. This hesitation is not always due to the sheer inertia of the way their companies work – lack of money often plays its role. But if these preceding concerns are overcome, it has a lot to offer even to the organizations that are very far from IT issues in their work.

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