Effective Digital Transformation

3 Variables You Need to Consider for an Effective Digital Transformation

For decades, technology has been the driving force behind some of the biggest and most radical shifts in business. Therefore, it makes sense to assume that the keys to your organization pushing past its limits and becoming truly exceptional lies in the implementation of new technologies that change operations in a profound way. The process of digital transformation does not have to be difficult, but it is important in a business environment so that you can stay competitive.

Digital transformation is the process of implementing new technologies and rethinking the relationship that your goods, services, and operations have with them. It can be seen as a way to innovate and make advancements in ways that might not otherwise be possible. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to accelerate their adoption of technology, so digital transformation is a trend that is rapidly increasing in popularity. To help your company make the best decision possible regarding technology, we have put together an easy three-step process you can follow when implementing new technology for your company.

Make Sure Your Objectives Align with Your Business Goals

The technology you implement should align with what you are trying to accomplish as a business. If your goal is to develop products, consider technology solutions that streamline that process. If your goal is to get the word out about services, consider ways that technology can help you get the word out. If your goal is to provide exceptional customer support, think of ways that technology can streamline the process for customers to receive the help they need when they need it. In other words, implementing technology without a clear and defined goal is not going to help your business; if anything, it will make your infrastructure more complicated and bogged down, so we encourage you to think about what your business does well and how technology can help you do it better.

Lean On Your IT Department or IT Resource

When it comes to your business’ implementation of new technology solutions, you want to take as hands-off a position as possible. Too often management and the C-suite get too involved in the decision-making process regarding IT. It is important to remember that you have an IT department or IT resource for a reason; respect their opinions and consult them on the implementation process. Understand that you may have a biased opinion of the technology because you want it to succeed and you think that it can be a great asset, but know that the ones making the cold and calculated decisions are often the IT resources implementing the solution. Just because something works perfectly for one organization does not mean that it will for you, and you should ensure that any solution you choose to implement is right for your organization well before the implementation process begins.

Get Your Staff On Board

Any new tools you implement will surely come with some resistance from your staff. Sometimes those who have been with you for a while are stuck in their ways and might not immediately see the benefits of implementing great new technology solutions. Therefore, it becomes your responsibility to show them just how much they stand to gain from not just learning your new tools, but mastering them as well. Implementing new technology is most beneficial when it’s done in a top-down manner, meaning the boss shows the employees just how confident they are in the solution by actively using it themselves. Employees are more likely to buy in when they know there is some passion behind it, and they will appreciate any training you can offer so they too can learn as much as possible about it.

Get Started with Digital Transformation Today

Point North Networks, Inc., can help your organization adopt new technology solutions and improve operations for the better. Our trusted technicians can be there for every stage of the process, from design to implementation to training and support. To learn more about how we can make a difference with your digital transformation strategy, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.

adding new tech

Considerations That You Need to Make When Adding New Technologies

It’s no secret that new technology can be useful for a business, unfortunately too many businesses struggle with their technology implementations. When adding new tools to your business, you will need to understand that the more deliberate you are, the more success you will find. Rushing any new deployment is sure to have some types of issues. For today’s blog, we take you through some of the best practices of adding new technology to your business.

Your Business’ Needs

When looking to add technology, you should only do so when you recognize a need for some. Too many businesses add technology that, in theory, will enhance productivity only to have problems supplanting the practical usefulness of their current technology. Of course, there will always be some type of transitional period, but the more a business is identifying problems and deploying technologies as a response, the fewer problems they will ultimately run into.

Take a Beat

Another solid practice to adhere to before you go ahead and start putting new technology in place is to take a bit before you make any financial commitments. Can you make do with the technology you have? Could it just be some strategic alterations you can make that won’t necessitate the time and expense that goes along with new technology? Sometimes it’s just about using the tools you have more effectively, not introducing new tools. Take some time to adjust and monitor, but at the end of that time, if you’re convinced the new technology gives you the best chance to be competitive, then go ahead and go for it.

Assign a Competent Project Manager

A large percentage of new technology implementation failures happen because the people running the project are stretched too thin, or aren’t up to the task of carrying out the project. For small business owners, it is tempting to do it yourself, but your influence is more important in other parts of your business. You need to have a project manager to serve as the point of contact, develop the training regimens and schedules, and deal with the inevitable challenges that arise during the new technology deployment.

Stand Behind Your Choice and Get to Training

Once the project begins, one of the most important parts of implementing new technology is to get your people behind it. Typically, there is some type of pushback, even if people have been complaining about the old technology for some time. Workers get comfortable with one thing and are afraid that their jobs will change for the worse if they are forced into using new technology. Some even think that their jobs will be irrelevant. For the business owner to get their people behind the new technology, you need to explain how it will positively affect their jobs and the company as a whole. By getting people to understand the positive aspects of implementing new tools, they will be more engaged in the training process, and ultimately, get up to speed faster.

Testing

After implementation and training, understanding how best to use the technology is going to be a process. The best way to ascertain this is by testing. Testing the solution, the employees, and the whole workflow is a critical step in understanding what changes need to be made, what policies need to be altered, and how the system works for your business. You’ll want to give your workers advanced notice that there will be training and monitoring as to make them understand that the more committed they are to getting the technology incorporated, the faster things can go back to normal. Additionally, you will want to get feedback from your employees. They are the ones that are using the new technology, after all.

Get It Working

Finally, after all the hand wringing, politicking, testing, and tweaking, your business will have new, and hopefully better technology to use. Adjustments to the tool will be ongoing, of course, but it’s a solid practice to get it as close to finished before you start using it for day-to-day operations.

 

New technology can be extremely useful for a business, but without the consideration that it is going to change the way you do things, it can be a major problem, too. If you would like to talk to one of our IT experts about how we can help your business implement the technology you need to improve your operations, and do it successfully the first time, give Point North Networks, Inc., a call today at 651-234-0895.

3 Ways Your Small Business Might Benefit from Artificial Intelligence Technology

Artificial intelligence has taken the world by storm, and the advent of emerging technologies has many small businesses thinking about how they can utilize it to cut costs, improve operations, and eliminate unnecessary or repetitive tasks. Let’s take a look at three ways your business can leverage artificial intelligence to the best of its ability.

We should first start by outlining what we mean by “artificial intelligence.” In the business environment, AI and, on a more broad scale, machine learning, is when automated technology performs tasks normally accomplished by human workers with an emphasis on taking data and applying it to specific scenarios in which it can learn or identify trends. It is expected that the AI industry will exceed $390 billion by the year 2025, so it’s safe to say that this technology is not going anywhere. Your business has much to gain by thinking about how it might apply it in the near future.

 

Here are just a couple of ideas for how you might be able to use AI for your business.

Streamline Certain Tasks and Operations

Businesses often have a lot on their plate. Between managing resources and maintaining operations, it can often feel like an overwhelming balancing act where spending too much time on one thing leads to not spending enough on another. Some tasks require more time and focus than others by virtue of how complex and thorough the work must be, such as vetting new hires or assisting customers in need.

 

Consider some of the more lengthy or time-consuming tasks out there. Most businesses need to search for top-tier talent to keep themselves competitive, which means sifting through mounds of resumes, cover letters, and other documents for job applications for qualified candidates. This process can be automated through the use of artificial intelligence. Another aspect that can be automated and improved through the use of AI is customer support. Customers often ask the same questions, and if AI systems can learn from and build their foundation of knowledge based on interactions with consumers or clients, they can provide your organization’s employees with more time to focus on innovative new ideas and workflows.

Improve Data-Driven Analytics

All businesses collect data in some way, shape, or form, but the way that this data is used will vary by industry. In fact, some organizations don’t fully utilize the data available to them; either they collect the data and don’t know what to do with it, or they collect the data and don’t have the tools to adequately act with it. Either way, AI gives businesses the opportunity to make full use of this important asset.

 

AI allows your organization to use any data it collects to its advantage through predictive modeling. By extrapolating data for trends, AI is able to take its best guess at what the future could hold for your business. Through the use of AI, organizations can leverage available data to make educated decisions about their futures; this ensures that the organization can move forward in an informed way that is both in line with its business model and progress-driven.

Cut Costs and Increase Efficiency

We have all heard the horror stories related to AI and how it is stealing jobs away from qualified human beings, but this is the wrong mindset to approach this technology with. While it might be concerning to laborers in unskilled industries, the truth of the matter is that most workers can stand to benefit from AI to a certain extent. Let’s reframe this perspective; instead of saying “AI is going to steal my job,” you can instead say “AI will make my job easier.” Suddenly, the prospect of implementing an automated system is not so scary.

 

When looked at through this lens, it’s easy to see the value that AI presents and the opportunities it poses for not just simple tasks, but more complex ones as well. Even if AI cannot fully automate more complex tasks, the fact alone that it can help make certain aspects of them easier to manage should be reason enough for celebration, as any technology that can make running your business and managing your workload easier should be given full consideration. And you know what they say… less time wasted means more profit!

 

Now that you know about some of the ways that businesses can use AI to their advantage, the only question remaining is this: how are YOU going to leverage artificial intelligence? What ideas do you have for this exciting technology? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.