17 Steps to Kickstart Digital Transformation Strategy (Actionable)

Today you’re going to see 17 steps to kickstart digital transformation strategy and tips. 

In fact:

These are the same transformation strategies that I’ve used to consult my clients and guide companies going digital within 30 days.

It’s one thing to create a digital transformation strategy framework, but it’s another thing to implement these fresh business ideas.

So whether you’re a total beginner or seasoned IT pro, you’ll love the powerful digital transformation strategy in this guide.

Let’s dive right in.

Digital Transformation Strategy

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is a rethinking of business models and processes using technology, with the aim to improve your business performance and process. Digital transformation is more than just paperless, API-driven microservices and the cloud.

It’s not about updating your technology or enhancing traditional methods. Rather, it’s about upgrading your strategic thinking.

Now...


What is digital transformation strategy?

Digital transformation strategy is a plan of actions designed to achieve the goal of digital transformation in your company. 

When it comes to building a digital transformation strategy, ask yourself these questions.

How can I make use of technology to …  

...remake a PROCESS to become more efficient?

...transform that SERVICE into something better?

...ENGAGE more with my customers?

...provide PREDICTIVE analysis of my sales and customers behavior?

...DO MORE with the same or lesser resources?

As you see your business with these questions in mind, you’re one step closer going digital.

1. Sign & Stamp PDF without Scanning

  • Easy

When it comes to signing and paperwork, most people will do this: 

First, you print out the PDF. Next, you sign and stamp. Then, you scan the paper back to your PC. Finally, you send back the signed form. 

This manual paper process may look simple. 

In reality:

Very often, you receive PDF forms (e.g. delivery order, contract) asking you to acknowledge with your signature and company stamp.

What’s happens if you’ve ten or twenty forms to acknowledge?

Well, your company may be digital ready, but most of your vendors or customers may not be. They are probably still using standard PDF files, with no digital signature feature.

Here’s how you can do it the smart, strategic business transformation way.

Set this up with one-time effort, and saves you lots of time. 

Now, sign and stamp on a piece of paper first.

Scan it into PDF or image, whichever is clearer. You can use a free Microsoft tool like snipping tool to crop the picture.

Crop the picture as close to the edge of content.

Save as PNG format.

Once done, go to LunaPic to make the picture background transparent. Upload and choose png file that you’ve just saved. 

Click on the white background to make it transparent.

You should see a pixel-like background now. It shows that the background is now transparent. Save your file to PNG.

Open your word, and insert the PNG picture. 

It should look this now.

Save it as PDF. You don’t have to resize the paper or crop it.

Next, open the free Adobe Reader. At the sidebar, click comment.

Comment menu should appear on the top of the PDF file. Click the stamp icon, followed by custom stamps and click create.

Select the PDF that you’ve saved earlier. Click OK.  

Your image is automatically detected and resize by Adobe Reader. Select a category where you want your signature to be.

Give a name for your signature. For example, ABC stamp with my signature

Open the PDF form that you need to sign. Insert your new signature.

Now adjust and resize your signature.

Pro Tip: Adjust your signature to overlap the form wordings to prevent anyone from copying your authorised signature.

You’re all set. Finally, remember to save your PDF and send out the signed form.

2. Move Your HR Matters to Cloud

  • Intermediate

If you want to provide a great customer experience, starts from your employee first. When your employee experience is excellent, your company stands a higher chance to create a better customer experience too.

Simon Sinek

Author

Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders—in that order.

Imagine your employees can perform HR tasks on the move, without messy paperwork. With a better workflow, you can reduce work frustrations.

Let’s say, your staff needs to make a claim.

After web login, your staff fills up the claim details, take a photo of the receipt and submit. 

Here’s how your staff can apply their leave from their mobile.

Leave request to submit for approval. It’s easy for any of your staff to find out the number of remaining leaves and when staff can take leave.

It’s easy for the management team to approve and do planning for workforce resources.

Well, invest in a cloud-based HR solution instead of traditional HR practices. The full HR usually includes online payroll management, leave management, claim management and appraisal management. 

3. Setup QR Payment 

  • Easy

Since we’re moving towards a cashless society, cheque payment is made obsolete very soon too.

With digital payment, a business can expect better cashflow due to shorter payment delay by the customer. At least we won't be hearing excuses like missing cheques, boss not around to sign the cheque or late posting.

First, you sign up QR code from your corporate bank.

It may take up a few days for your bank to process. Once it's ready, you can download the QR code. 

Finally, paste the code onto your invoice and announce it to your customers. Simple.

4. Scan All Hardcopy

  • Easy

Which is easier for you to retrieve a document: a softcopy in your folder or hardcopy stored in a cabinet?

Answer: Softcopy.

If you’re still printing softcopy and file the hardcopy into A4 ring file, STOP.

Your goal is to go paperless as MUCH as you can.

Pro Tip: Make full use of your photocopier machine to scan all hard copy. The auto feeder is more powerful than your typical all-in-one printer. 

Depending on your tax governance practice, you may want to keep and print only the tax invoices if hardcopy is a must.

The rest?

When you receive hard copies from your vendor or customers, scan and file it in the private cloud storage. So that you can access it remotely, anytime from your mobile devices.

Softcopy is only good, provided you give descriptive names and file systematically.

Here’s an example of our folder structure.

Our descriptive file name.

Pro Tip: There’s no right or incorrect way to name your files or folder. As long it allows you to search quickly and the name makes sense to you and team, you’re good to go.

If I want to search for “access nas”, I got the file real quick. Phew!

5. Create Omnichannel  

  • Intermediate

Many small businesses use multi-channels, which is good.

When your online prospect decides to stay on your website, you provide the most convenient way for them to connect back to you. It can be a social channel like Facebook, a messaging app like Wechat, live chat or phone.

Now, let’s take this further with omnichannel.

You put your audience at the centre of your marketing strategy. Moreover, direct all your marketing efforts to please your customer and give him what he is searching.

It’s like ‘wooing’ your date.

Now, say you're looking for a T-shirt online. You googled the product, reads briefly and left the website. You forget about it.

When this T-shirt product has an omnichannel strategy, you ...

  • see an advert showing the same product when you read a random web article or watching youtube. 
  • see the product again on a Facebook advert and prompts you to download a guide on your product. 
  • begin to receive automated yet personalised useful emails.
  • decide to buy the product after receiving a discount coupon. 
  • also receive a personalised thank you message from the CEO. 
  • receive some perks when you leave a review.

Do you think you'll leave good or bad feedback?

What you’ve experienced is an omnichannel strategy. This strategy transformation integrates all the multi-channels of websites, emails, retargeted ads, social media marketing, and physical locations.

You dive deep into it to reach your customers with personalised messages, offers and products.

Now, go and ‘woo’ your new and existing customers.

6. Setup a Facebook Messenger Chatbot

  • Intermediate

Yes, chatbot (like big data and AI) are the keys to digital transformation.

But they have one BIG problem:

They're too complex.

That’s why I recommend using Facebook Messenger to build your first chatbot.

For example, here’s a chatbot that I build using facebook messenger with chatbot. The more you program your chatbot, the more conversational it becomes. 

But you didn’t have to stop there.

As you can see, you also can add the chatbot to your website.

And on your facebook page

When your customer requires human intervention, this is where you hop in to assist.

Best of all?

Once they subscribed to you, the Facebook messenger can automatically message your prospect. The open rate is 90+% compared to email which is dropping over the years.

7. Setup Predictive Forecast (The Simple Way)

  • Intermediate

Here’s the truth:

Predictive analytics is complicated and expensive.

So: why are big corporates jumping into predictive analytics?

Predictive analytics reveals new insights into buyers...

... and these insights are so different from existing business knowledge, that help you to make better decisions and improve results

The question is:

How does predictive analytics work for SMEs, that do not often have a HUGE budget?

Here are 3 tips for successful digital transformation that work GREAT.

First, list down one area you want to improve.

For example, I want to ...

...Lower the staff turnover rate

...Increase customer satisfaction 

...Rank higher for website

...Improve revenues for services

...Reduce the inventory count

When your goal is easy to understand, you'll have clarity.
(It also helps you to focus when you start to analyse the overwhelming data)

Second, gather your existing data first.

Ignore to analyse your existing data is like putting money on the table.

That’s why I ask myself these questions when I see some data.

"What does this tell me? "

"How can I make use of these data? "

Here’s an example from Connectbit:

Yup, more customers are using mobile to access our website. And I better spend more time optimizing and design my website to give a better mobile user experience.  

Last up, test your changes before launch.

Remember:

The predictive analysis uses historical data and "what if" variables to provide accurate forecasts.

And if you don't test your changes, you can't tell its accuracy.

So I test my goal like this:


As you can see, it's time to launch once your model appears to be in working order.

Which leads us to our next tip…

8. Replace Old On-Premise Server with Cloud Server

  • Intermediate

When it comes to getting a server for the new application, you have two options:

Option #1: Pay upfront for a new server hardware

Option #2: Subscribe to a cloud server

Unless on-premise server offers better performance with lower overall cost, in my experience, option #2 scales MUCH faster.

For example:

We help our client installed an on-premise new server for her accounting software. 

Somehow this client delayed the purchase, and we couldn't make it on time to buy the last piece. 

In the end, we need to indent the server, and it came on the sixth week. This long delivery delayed the client's schedule. 

So we changed things up.

If a client needs a fast delivery, we propose a cloud server instead.

That way, we could make sure the project is on time.... EVEN if the client messes up the schedule. 🙂

Here's how the cloud server looks like

And the whole delivery shortens by 2090 times compared to a standard of two weeks! This is how long it takes for us to build one. 

Oh yes, not forgetting this. Whether you choose cloud, on-premise or hybrid cloud, you still need an IT maintenance vendor to maintain them & support desktop issues. 

9. Use Digital Signage to Engage

  • Intermediate

​When you use digital signage, more people will engage in YOUR storefront at the shopping mall.

Which means more sales for you.

These TV screens are not just limited to retail stores but in more public areas like restaurants, petrol stations and wall decorations.

Pro Tip: More than just sales pitch, you engage your customers on a deeper level with personalised content and interaction. With the inbuilt camera, you adapt the screens to your viewers and interact directly with your local audience.

For example, you can display 3-D animations of Santa Claus soaring on his reindeer during a festive season.

You can use digital signage to inform​.

Or to advertise. Not only it helps to increase brand awareness, but you can deliver your message at a much lower price compared to traditional advertising methods.

Pro Tip: Push the message remotely to your connected outlets at the same time.

Besides using digital signage for your customers, you can engage your employees too.

Fremont College, a campus in US, uses digital signage to celebrate birthday and praise employees. It reduces their reliance on paper memos and emails.

Pretty cool, right?

10. Empower Service Team with Technology Tools

  • Advance

Your onsite service team faces your customer.

They’re important … as they represent your company.

And when you empower them with IT solutions tools, you can get information faster and better customer service.

In reality:

More than half of all service companies still do things manually with paper and pens, which are error-prone. And, hinders both agility and productivity. 

The manual way includes waiting for your technicians to come back office, submit and update the paper-based work order into an excel sheet.

The manager may find it difficult to resolve disputes especially a job is charged based on hourly charges. 

Forecast:

By 2020, more than 75% of field service organizations with over 50 users will deploy mobile apps that go beyond simplified data collection and add capabilities that help technicians succeed. (Source: Gartner)

So, what can you do?

You can combine onsite workflows into a single tablet app that’s available online or offline.

These apps give your technicians real-time work order information to improve customer service. Moreover, it helps to plan out your rates to stay competitive.

Cablex saw their daily customer visits increases by 15 percent and a time reduction by 25% from order processing to order fulfilment, after using field service mobile software.

Why does this IT transformation strategy work?

You no longer require the manual way of updates. 

Technicians can report on their job progress, re-open closed work orders, schedule follow-up appointments and order parts.

Besides, technicians can secure customer signatures for the job done, inventory orders or requested repairs directly from the app.

11. Schedule The Smart Way

  • Easy

Scheduling with people outside of your company should be easy.

But in reality, it isn’t:

Everyone is on a different schedule, and sometimes in different time zone.
You need to send several emails just to set a schedule.

It’s a waste of time, especially people that you meet have last minute changes.

You can make use of calendly to help you schedule meetings without the back-and-forth emails.

First, set your available schedule, so you’re always in control of the time.

Next, send over the link. Once your invitee selects your schedule, the appointment adds to both calendars automatically.

In case you forget, this tool sends reminder to both of you to inform meeting is about to start. 

12. Cut Down Process for Your Important Document

  • Intermediate

Do you need to place a company stamp on all your invoices or purchase order (PO) every day?

If so, you’re probably spending a lot of time on administration.

Let me show you how you can save more time with a real-life example…

A few months ago I noticed that our finance was unable to cope with many POs that need to be sent out to a vendor.

Pro Tip: To reduce fraud, use a different layout and document number for the important files like invoices and POs. 

Despite the fact that our finance is super efficient…

…time spent on printing PO, placing a company stamp, amendment, scanning to soft copy is unknowingly long.

Not good.

First, I decided to check if it is a must to include company stamp on an invoice or PO. And, I realise it's optional.

Next, I also check out if my accounting software can produce a nice PO layout. Yes, it's possible.

Finally, I sent out the PO in PDF to my vendor directly from my computer.

And you bet my finance is happy.

13. Setup Goal Funnel in Analytics 

  • Intermediate

Question for you:

  • How do you know which web pages bring you the most enquiry?
  • Are you able to tell why your customers did not complete the online purchase? 

If you’ve connected your website with Google Analytics, don’t waste those precious data lying out there. 

Analyse your data and set goals. In this way, you’re able to tell which page has the most exit and popular.

Then, you examine and tweak that web page accordingly. Ask yourself these questions like:  

  • How do I reduce the number of exits?
  • Are there are any bugs on the page?
  • How easy for a customer to fill up the form? 
  • Can I reduce the risk for a customer by giving better support?
  • Would a countdown timer helps?

Here’s an example once you’ve set up your goals and funnel. Now, I’m going you how to achieve this. 


Go to Analytics > Admin > View > Goals

For goal setup, select checkout complete

For Goal description, give a name with the result in mind. And, select ‘destination’ for the type.

Finally, the last step is to fill up the necessary fields as highlighted below.

Leave your analytics untouched for at least 7 days, and come back to view the results. Tweak your page to improve the conversions.

14. Optimise Your Website with Search Console

  • Easy

Your new search console has 16 months data about your website.

If you're not using search console to find out the keywords your website rank for, you’re missing many opportunities to rank better.

Go find a high impression keyword that is not ranking well.

First, you select all the four major tabs. 

Sort the impression from highest to lowest.

Next, click on the filter button and click on the position

Set greater than and key in 40 to show search results from page 4 onwards.

For example,

This keyword is seating on the 4th page of Google, and yet this page was seen 280 times. This is huge. 

In other words, people didn’t stop on page 1 but are still searching for this keyword until the 4th page.

Can you imagine if you bring this keyword from 4th page to 1st page, the impression can shot up like a rocket?

Next, click on the opportunity keyword to find out the page that contributed to this keyword. Then click on the page tab, and you’ll see the page.

You’ve two quick ways to move the ranking up.

First, add the keyword as an h2 header.

Finally, create new quality content related to the keyword.

That’s it.

Now, you see how you can make use of your existing data to improve your sales. 

15. Personalize Your Email Marketing

  • Intermediate

Imagine you’ve just purchased a product. But, you’re still receiving emails promoting the same product from time to time. And even ask you to buy.

How do you feel?

That way of email marketing is very OLD school. 

Email blasting doesn’t make it anymore. When you treat every one of your customers the same, they wonder “why should I care as the company doesn’t care about me?”

Instead, send people exactly what they want to see.

When you send what you know they want, they’ll listen to what you’ve to say.

How?

You trigger emails based on your customer’s behaviour like purchase, site visits, or engagement.

Then, you send emails automatically when your contacts are most interested.

Here’s more ideas on how you can segment your audience.

Different groups of people care about different things. So speak to them differently. 

  • People who open your emails
  • People who click in your emails
  • Visits to your website
  • Contact with your sales team
  • Personal interests in certain services or products
  • Quiz results
  • Date subscribed
  • Products purchased
  • Time since last purchase

16. Getting Positive Review  

  • Easy

You’re feeling hungry and saw two cafes.

Cafe A has people inside eating, and they look happy. Cafe B is empty.

Are you more likely to go to Cafe A with people inside, or empty Cafe B? If you’re like most people, you’re likely entering into the cafe with people in it.

Why?

That's the power of social proof. Recommendations are powerful endorsements.

And, it’s going to be even more important for digital marketing.

Near 90% of consumers trust an online review as much as personal recommendations. And, consumers check at least two different review sites before deciding to use your business. 

Do you see how important for you to get reviews for your business?

For every customer, you serve, ask for a positive review

But before you do, make sure you provide an excellent service that add significant value to your customer.

Next, ask them if they can give a review at Google and your facebook page by sending them a link via WhatsApp.


Here’s how to create a Google review. 

First, go and get a placeID here

If you’ve created a business listing before, you should be able to find your company name.

Next, highlight and copy the placeid

Finally, add your place id at the back of the URL below

https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=your place id

Send this link to your customers for review. When your customer clicks on the link, it should look something like this on desktop and mobile. Easy.

Here’s how to create a Facebook review. 

Facebook had retired the star rating system recently.

Now when your customers want to write a review, they can choose to recommend or not recommend your Page.

Click on the “Settings” button on the top-right corner of the Page.

A new window should appear. Click on the “Templates and Tabs” section.

1. Click the “Settings” button next to the Reviews sign on the page.
If you can’t see the Reviews sign, you can add it to the list by clicking on the “Add a Tab” button at the bottom of the page.

2. Toggle the “Show Reviews” option to ON.

Copy the link and send to your customers if they’re not an android user or don’t have a Gmail account.

17. Use Digital SMS for Payment  

  • Intermediate

You complete your work well.

It’s time to collect payment from your client.

You send out invoice quickly. Sending reminder via email or call seems too aggressive. Your finance and sales probably hate doing this payment chase.

Besides looking forward to seeing a cheque in your letterbox, you can automate payment reminder.

Here’s how:

With SMS text messaging platform, you can automatically send payment reminders to your customers, personalise messages with account details, and follow up on payment confirmations.

But you ask, isn’t SMS the same as email?

Not really.

The open rate of SMS is MUCH higher than an email. The average opening rate for SMS is near 90+ per cent.

Best of all?

The texts open on average within the first three minutes of delivery.

When you send bulk SMS, the overall cost is a fraction of the cost of mail and phone calls.

Schedule payment reminders. Believe it or not, some people just forget to pay their debts. You can prevent this by sending scheduled reminders ahead of time. You can automate schedule weekly or daily reminders.

Deli Hub is an excellent example of using SMS for digital payment.

After an order, a sms to provide payment details.

One day before delivery, an SMS to confirm delivery date.

Here's a SMS payment reminder of the total amount.

When your service completes, you send a SMS to thank and ask for a review within 24 hours.

This small action helps to increase customer satisfaction. You can also set no reply from the customer. 

You can easily integrate SMS into any existing payment or e-commerce software to automate SMS reminders.

Did I Miss Out Anything?


Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which strategy from today’s post are you going to try first?

Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite digital transformation strategy examples.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.