Now more than ever, businesses are beginning to implement digital solutions to ease employee tasks, improve productivity, and increase revenues. This year, it is expected that businesses will spend a total of $1.3 trillion on digital transformation programs and by 2021 this total is expected to increase to $2.1 trillion. Distributors need to look ahead in order to establish a strategic plan for integrating digital transformation programs.

Establishing targeted and strategic goals prior to selecting which areas of the business to transform is definitive in the success of any transformation project. Setting calculated business objectives will support and establish a solid plan and assist in the development of any digital transition by allowing decision-makers to focus on the end goals. Ensuring the business stays on task during any implementation is the key to prolonged and long-term success.

Keep your eye on the target

While many distributors and manufacturers are eager to implement digital transformation programs, implementation can quickly become a digital disappointment. Today, many businesses are willing to invest more than 25 percent of their budgets into digital transformations, yet more than half feel unprepared to capitalize on its application. Understanding the end objective and establishing commitment from across the supply chain to embrace transformations will ensure that any new technology will be maximized.

Working with new technologies can open opportunities for productivity improvements and increased revenue. First and foremost, businesses must ensure that any transformation can deliver on the basics by improving low-value business processes as soon as the transformation is implemented. Bigger isn’t always better, and in the case of digital transformation, small changes can make a big impact. Digital transformation is a step-by-step process that requires long-term commitment from across the supply chain in order to remain effective and ultimately advance overall business practices.

Fastest ROI

Finding and adopting technology that offers immediate, tangible benefits should be a priority for distributors. Smaller transformations should not be discounted as often as they are easily implemented and can deliver big results. Ensuring any transformation is delivering a quick and reasonable return on investment (ROI) will guarantee that distributors are implementing accurate and effective transformations.

Business leaders need to ensure they are focusing on maintaining what makes their businesses competitive. This means upholding and preserving core business values while improving productivity through digital transformation. It is without question that high-profile changes can be enticing but understanding the challenges and setting objectives while remaining strategic in the approach will ensure distributors are making the wisest investments.

Remember the internal impact

While some digital transformations can help improve customers’ experiences, decision-makers should be mindful of how the transformation will affect employees and to what extent. With 94 percent of companies increasing their focus on digital transformation, it is vital that digital solutions facilitate employee roles within the business and ultimately streamline the daily tasks at hand.

Consider setting objectives to improve menial tasks that hinder employee productivity that burden time and resources. For example, manually processing incoming sales orders is a drain on time; however, automating incoming sales orders can support the sales team’s administrative roles, enabling them to focus on more important and valuable business tasks, such as building and maintaining customer relationships. Ensuring the team is not only feeling the impact of digital transformation but embracing its contribution to the business will promote a successful union between new technologies and employees.

By ensuring solid business objectives are set in place prior to implementation, decision-makers can be aware of the impacts of digital transformation and ensure they are maximizing on the transformation. It’s vital to consider the varying impacts any transformation will have on other elements of the business. Understanding impacts to ROI and employee satisfaction are key to effectively select the strongest and most logical digital solution for the business as a whole. Every distributor and manufacturer is unique but maintaining core business values while adjusting business strategies through transformation programs is crucial to success.

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Publication date: 10/16/18