The post-covid digital transformation (Radio column)

This article is complementary to our column on the Québec Réveille radio show on CKIA hosted by Marjorie Champagne.

The covid has had the major consequences of forcing the digitization of companies, from all over the globe many companies are starting a major digital shift, however the greatest difficulty of digital transformation is equivalent to wanting to pass through a door before even opening it. Most of the problems encountered by different managers can be avoided thanks to the wide variety of digital tools that exist. Cancellations, missed appointments or delays, for example, cost between 10% and 30% of the annual turnover of self-employed workers. This could be avoided if workers were aware of the multitude of tools available on the web, which is often free or very inexpensive.

Digital tools have become a post-covid necessity. They are already easily accessible by large companies, but for small organizations or independent professionals, is digital transformation possible?

Towards a global digital transformation

**Steve Vamos, a former Microsoft executive said: "Organizations don't change, people do. The digital transformation is usually triggered by the desire of leaders to be more present on the web or following the deployment of new services specifically offered to web users. It is noticeable that with the pandemic, containment is forcing companies to change their strategy in order to continue selling. Traffic in stores is declining, especially for small merchants. An entrepreneur who had no interest in going online last January no longer has the choice to do so today if he wants to survive.

The digital transformation is therefore taking place at the level of micro and small businesses today. The Best Buy, Walmart and Canadian Tire of this world are already massively present on the Internet. We now see the local hair salon, the independent massage therapist or the neighbourhood snack bar quietly integrating the digital market.

How should SMEs go about their digital transformation?

Digitization leads to an introspection of organizations, companies need to improve their current structures to remain competitive with companies having a more consequent knowledge of the web.

The first step should be the UX audit. The UX audit is the examination of a system based on expert evaluations and allows you to test your website or other platforms quickly and at low cost. For a company that has not started its digital transition, the UX audit is not essential, it will be more important to audit the operation of the company, the people etc… But for a company that already offers some digital products or services, the UX audit is a good way to evaluate the performance and ergonomics of a site. It can also point out the obstacles to the usability of a site. Heuristic criteria are important to take into account and do not express the same result, do not hesitate to see our articles on this subject here.

Once a UX audit is completed, we can use these results to do what is called an in-depth audit with which it is easier to establish a roadmap (also called RoadMap) which is a map that shows the key moments in the user experience of a digital product or service. The map should be used to see a user's journey from start to finish. It should take into account how the user discovered the site, why they chose to try it, what was their first interaction with the product and how it impacts their digital life. This roadmap facilitates market analysis and allows for a better understanding of consumer behavior in order to respond adequately to their needs.

Once the audits are completed, solutions must be found to address the problems demonstrated by the consumers. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to begin the digital shift, but there is a range of tools that are easily accessible and inexpensive for small businesses. The goal is not to use all the tools available, because it is important to remember that the primary purpose of online tools is to make life easier for customers. For a restaurant, an easy-to-use online ordering system such as Uber Eats or Skip would be a huge advantage. For a service business, such as a hairdresser, an online appointment scheduling tool such as Go rendez-vous or Medexa can, on its own, greatly increase salon traffic.

The tools are numerous. Among others, you can use :

It is also important to have good management tools or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools such as Hubspot, PipeDrive or Sellsy in order to properly plan the actions planned in the digital strategy.

The digital divide is not a legend; many people of all genders and ages are unable to use a computer smoothly and completely. This phenomenon is called illectronism. Simplification of systems allows to increase its potential user field, and not to restrict users in the use of the site. Usability tests are very common and easy to implement. This test consists in following users during their browsing and to detect the problems it encounters and allows to calculate efficiently the website performances. Illectronism is to be taken in the design of your sites and should not be neglected.

The availability of tools is very varied, but don't get lost, you will find a tool for every need you or your customers are likely to have. Once the structure is well established and the tools are integrated. You need to be able to measure the performance of your actions in order to improve. Most of the tools listed in this article allow you to generate statistical reports to evaluate their performance. It is always possible to do more UX auditing, because of its low cost, the cost-benefit ratio can be very significant . The important thing is to never stop improving your digital strategy, because fashions change and technologies evolve at a crazy speed.

To stand out on the Web, you have to take the same foundations as for traditional in-store service. It's the user experience that counts. Like a customer who gets excellent service in the store, a user who uses functional and simple tools will certainly want to come back and see you.

❤️ For a better world focused on people

Laure Gabrielle

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