Hero Image

Moving to ERP as a Digital Transformation

What is a "Digital Transformation", when discussing whole-company, all-process software like ERP? A good working definition could be "Digital Transformation is implementing a technology that enables the business to be more efficient and effective". That's a pretty broad definition, so here are some examples of tools that traditionally are considered under the umbrella of "Digital Transformation":

  • ERP systems, like Alox
  • Block-chain
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Internet of Things

However, while these all involve fairly advanced technology, the real truth is that it's the transformation of processes and methods that are key. Within the business, things are going to change, and that means managing people, timelines, and expectations.

Consider switching from using public subways to work, to using Uber/Lyft to get to work. It would be simple to say "I used to ride in a train, now I ride in a car." That misses entirely the transformation aspect: Fixed schedules versus on demand schedules, sharing a space versus a private space, paying for a portion of the ride cost versus paying the whole ride cost, being billed per minute versus buying an annual pass, the transformation is huge. "Train versus car" is the digital part of "Digital Transformation". It's the simple part, the end product that has a name that you switch too. All the details of interacting with the new system, that's the transformation.

Often, switching to a new piece of digital/software technology is used as part of an effort by management to get everyone on board with a new way of doing things. The board might have a list of "we need to change x, y, and z" and even when the corps agree, it can be hard to get buy in all the way down the chain to implement that. Moving to a new system can be a chance to hit reset on getting rid of some bad processes, or moving to updated and more effective processes, especially if the new system has more compliance tracking.

When "Digital Transformation" comes up in discussion, it's much more direct to consider that "Business Transformation, with technology". Because the people and processes remain the core of your business. Naturally this exists on a continuum, and the amount of people and process issues is much larger with a company of 200 people than a company with 10 people. Scale remains an important influence on tuning the implementation effort.