What is digital transformation and how can it help you?

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Do the words ‘digital transformation’ throw you into confusion and panic about the technology your training business should be using?

With technology developing at such a fast pace, it’s not unusual to feel daunted by the prospect of change. But the most successful training businesses understand that this is how they stay competitive and progress in their field.

In this article, the first in our new series about digital transformation, we go back to basics and explain what digital transformation means and the impact it can have on your business.

You can read more in the series here:

What is digital transformation?

The term digital transformation has become something of a buzzword in recent years. It’s a term that can mean different things to different people, which can make it daunting if you don’t class yourself as a ‘techie’ person.

If this is the case for you, it might help to think of it in another way. The term ‘change management’ accurately describes the same process. Or, some people prefer another term – ‘business transformation’ – as it focuses on the outcomes for the organisation, rather than the means of getting there.

Whatever way you choose to describe it, digital transformation comes down to the process of introducing technology to help your business run more efficiently and effectively.

For example:

  • Financial and accounting software
  • Content management systems (CMS)
  • Customer relationship management software (CRM)
  • Training management software (like Bud)

What does digital transformation mean to your business?

Digital transformation will look different to each individual business.

For one, it could mean changing the way they manage their finances by implementing new digital accountancy software. For another, it could be about introducing a new system that takes a joined-up approach to data management.

The most important thing to understand is what it means to your training business. Technology has been through a huge revolution in the past decade, but that doesn’t mean you have to embrace everything it has to offer.

It’s about appreciating how new technology can improve your business as well as avoiding the temptation to jump on the bandwagon without any business case to back it up.

What are the benefits of digital transformation?

When it comes to benefits, transformation is the most important part – in other words, what do you want to change or improve?

Think about it in terms of the objectives you’re trying to reach and ask yourself: what do we want to achieve to see transformation within the business? Remember that technology is the thing that enables, rather than drives, transformation.

This allows you to set out the ‘why’ for your transformation and then find the technology that can best deliver the results you’re after.

Here are some of the objectives (or benefits) that you might be considering:

  • Improve data accuracy and decision making
  • Deliver a better experience for learners, trainers and employers
  • Get greater visibility over the business
  • Help your trainers work more efficiently
  • Create systems and processes that are compliant
  • Reduce costs
  • Increase scalability and productivity

Common concerns about digital transformation

Do you find yourself looking for excuses to delay digital transformation? It’s normal to shy away from change, but remember that the best leaders embrace it and use it to innovate.

If you find yourself saying any of the following phrases, you may need to question what is actually holding you back.

“My team won’t use digital systems”

Employee pushback is often cited as the biggest barrier to digital transformation. Most trainers or compliance managers are comfortable with what’s familiar and easy to them – even if it means tasks take twice as long and they have to navigate around human error.

Over time, this can create a culture that’s resistant to change. You might find this with compliance managers who have used their trusted legacy platform for ILR submissions for many years. Perhaps you have time-poor trainers who are already multi-tasking and can’t see the long-term benefits of changing.

In these situations, it’s no surprise that managers and trainers see digital transformation as a scary prospect. However, it all comes down to how you approach getting those people on board.

The pushback from managers usually stems from fear that the new systems will over complicate their workload and even risk payments if ILRs aren’t submitted on time.

Provide demos to show them how simple the new system is in comparison. It’s also important to offer the right training and have experts on hand to help with the transition, so no one feels like they have to learn everything from scratch.

“I don’t have any in-house tech support so the buck stops with me”

Even with no tech support in your organisation, a good technology provider will offer the support and expertise you need to implement their software or system.

It’s your role to set out the change you want to see. When you have initial discussions with potential suppliers, be clear that you expect technical support and find out what they can provide.

“I haven’t got time on top of my other work commitments”

It’s important to see the bigger picture here. Again, go back to your objectives so you can see the value and efficiency that change will drive.

It’s likely that you’ll have to invest resources into the change management process, but this is a short-term sacrifice that should drive long-term gain.

Even if the changes you’re contemplating don’t appear urgent, consider how much harder it will be to implement them in a year or two when the business is even bigger. By then, it could take far more time, money and research than it would to start now.

“We don’t have the budget for new systems”

This is where a full ROI analysis is important, so you can set out the value that you’re expecting to see and then assess if it justifies the cost of implementation.

There’s a good chance that new systems will lead to cost savings further down the line, through areas like improved productivity.

For example, will you be able to speed up the learner onboarding process? If so, how will this affect the number of learners you can bring on board and manage? If your new system enables you to increase learner numbers without increasing trainer headcount then your profitability will increase too.

Weigh this up against the initial outlay of your digital transformation to get a true picture of the investment you’re making.

How Bud can help with your digital transformation project

Bud is an intuitive, easy-to-use platform for the delivery of apprenticeships and vocational skills training.

We know that every team is different, which is why we now have two implementation service levels: Core and Enhanced. Core gives you everything you need to get set up with the basics of Bud; Enhanced provides an extra level of expert support to guide you through the digital transformation process.

Download our free business health check tool to analyse your resources and decide on the level of support you need or book a call with our friendly team today to find out more about how Bud works.