To digitize entails using electronic business and electronic commerce and online tools to run the business. Digitization transforms your business to become more agile, nimble, and efficient. The starting point is to adopt digital records management and reduce time wasted in tracing up documents and invoices. The next phase is to install software to capture day to day business transactions. For example, when you install an accounting system to capture all your daily sales and expenses you ease your financial management practices. Then you can install a system to manage your human resources. Another to handle stock management etc. As you mature, you could install an enterprise resource management system that combines all the systems in your business into one – thereby leverage from full automation and integration. A more advanced system links the internal systems with the external systems of suppliers and business partners. For example, you can access your supplier’s systems, place orders which are updated into your ERP automatically thereby saving you time.
Then you have electronic commerce digital agenda – where you enable your customers to access your products and services via digital channels. Many people now hold mobile phones, use computers, and have internet access. When you use technology to run your business, deliver value, and accept online payments, you set your business apart from the rest. To achieve this, you begin formulating a winning organic strategy that puts the digital agenda at the core. The strategy defines how you will win, the processes you need, the capabilities and systems you need, and your business model – how the SME makes money. Business is about scoring goals i.e. growing revenue, and not conceding goals – incurring fewer costs. Digital helps you to make money, underpinned by operational excellence. The strategy defines how you make money, and what is the best way to scale. Will you earn through a:
- subscription or rental model – people pay monthly to access your products and services like Netflix or Apple iTunes?
- retail model – sell an item at a time to buyers?
- It is a franchising model – others pay you for using your brand name and or formulae like KFC in Uganda?
- It is a freemium model – give free features and then charge for advanced features as we see with many software companies?
- or other? What is it?
Once you have clarity of how your business will make money, you have clarity of target market segments, channels to use and the products and services to sell and the technology to leverage. At Summit Consulting Ltd for example, we provide free resources like exclusive research paper and publications to demonstrate value. Then some clients call us to train their staff or help facilitate internal transformation initiatives. In 2019, we invested in developing governance, risk, and compliance platform (actionTEAM GRC).