Lists are a wonderful way to focus on a subject or topic. In this blog we are going to focus on and provide a list for the top 5 reasons digital transformation might not be a fit for a business. As awesome as digital transformation is … it is not the right tool for every job. Before we get to our list though, let’s level set on what is digital transformation for SMB, and what is the impact of digitalization for SMB.
What is digital transformation and why is it important
Digital transformation is a big topic, and it is comprised of different technologies that are all off shoots of AI which are used in business to automate and optimize processes. RPA, or robotic process automation, and the RPA bots that come with it, are typically the first thing that come to mind when thinking about digital transformation. Conversational AI is usually the second technology that comes to mind because of its ability to let humans and machines, or more appropriately software, communicate via written or spoken language. Cognitive AI allows software applications to mimic human behavior to solve complex problems and is closely related to machine learning or ML. Machine learning also simulates human behavior to learn and solve increasingly complex problems, just like humans do. Using these forms of AI in combination is IPA, or intelligent process automation. All of these can have the impact of digitalization for SMB, but this is not for every business. Now that we have completed our level set, … let’s move onto our list!
Why digital transformation isn’t for everyone
- 1.Process changes frequently
The impact of digitalization for SMB will not be a fit if a business’s processes are changing frequently. Digital transformation works best when there are repetitive rules-based tasks that are not changing too often. This stability of processes is important when deploying RPA or when implementing Conversational AI for natural language processing / NLP. RPA bots are not hard to re-program, but it defeats the whole set it and forget it goal of RPA. Conversational AI is not inflexible, either. Digital transformation for SMB might not be a good fit if regulations related to processes are changing often. This should be kept in mind when examining digital transformation projects.
- 2.Tasks are highly cognitive
If most of the tasks in a business or all the tasks are highly cognitive, digital transformation is not going to be a good match. RPA bots and Conversational AI work best when there are Y/N or multiple-choice decision tree options. Cognitive AI and machine learning can help but is always best to start with tasks that can be defined as rules based and layer Cognitive AI on top to address exceptions. Digital transformation for SMB will not be a good fit if tasks are highly cognitive and the impact of digitalization for SMB will not be realized.
- 3.Lots of unstructured data
If a business must process considerable amounts of unstructured data RPA bots and digital transformation will not have much to sink its proverbial teeth into. The classic example of unstructured data is handwritten documentation. Video files, audio files and images are also unstructured data examples. Conversational AI can help with some of this, but not all of it.
- 4.Low volume
Maybe one of the biggest reasons that the impact of digitalization for SMB may not be realized is a low volume of tasks to automate. Volume can refer to the frequency in the number of times a task or process needs to be performed. It can also refer to the time it takes to complete tasks or processes that are candidates for automation. RPA bots especially can tear through high volumes of well-defined multi-step and multi-application tasks, but if these types of processes do not occur in a business it will not realize and benefit from automation or digital transformation.
- 5.Lack of skilled personnel
A lack of skilled personnel able to work on digital transformation projects can be a final obstacle to leverage the impact of digitalization for SMB. This can be addressed by engaging with a digital transformation consultant like Valenta, or a digital transformation managed service provider / MSP, also like Valenta. If there is a lack of skilled IT personnel that can assist in networking and basic support this can be an issue. Companies like Valenta also offer outsourced IT staff to get past this issue. The lack of skilled personnel can be a hurdle and must be considered.
For some of the items in our list a human in the loop or attended automation may be a fit. It is best to have a conversation with a good consultant to determine the best approach. If digital transformation is not the right tool for SMB there are other ways to optimize a business. Valenta provides outsourced staff, and this can be a way to reduce costs and focus existing employees on the highest value tasks or the highest value customers. Everything we do at Valenta is about helping companies focus on and have time for what they do best and their core mission. We do this through process consulting, the automation of tasks, and virtual staffing and outsourcing. If you would like to contact us related to digital transformation, please reach out here: Contact us. If you would like to learn more about outsourcing, please find this overview: Staff Augmentation