If you own or operate a business, then you should be thinking about innovation and modernization. This is true for nearly every business, and especially true for companies that have not deliberately strategized for modernization or innovation recently.

We can examine innovation and modernization across a variety of parts of a business, from our customer profiles to our physical plants, but let’s focus our attention primarily on the technical side of your business.    

A clipboard holding a note that says time to modernize reminds a business owner to innovate

Why modernization and innovation matter

You may be wondering why innovation and modernization are important at all. After all, your business is running just fine without making drastic changes to your strategy or your business practices, right? 

Perhaps things are great–but they can ALWAYS be better.

What if you could streamline some aspect of your business to make you more responsive to your clients? What if there was a way to better engage your potential customers and make them more likely to choose you (along-side of, or integrated with, your marketing strategy)? What if you could make a few changes that would make it easier for your employees to work together to solve problems? This is all a part of a business process modernization. And as CIO Deb Gildersleeve puts it, “I have yet to see a place where modernizing isn’t needed.” 

Modernization drives Innovation

As CMS Wire so correctly puts it, “Modernization and innovation go hand in hand.” They quote Gildersleeve in saying:

You need the tools and the culture to drive innovation. But to be clear, modernization is a journey, not a destination. It is fairly common, outdated apps, lots of tech debt, modernizing can provide increased efficiency, and this can then lead to innovation opportunities.

In other words, the outcomes of a business modernization can allow for room to innovate business practices. And supporting innovation can be the driving strategy behind a business process modernization. Analyst Dan Kirsch explains, « the goal isn’t to modernize, go to the cloud or move to microservices. Those are just ways to support innovation. Continuous delivery and the release of new features is what will make customers happy. »

So modernization is necessary for innovation, and innovation is good for business. The good news is that, as complicated as it sounds, there are a number of ways to start on your modernization and innovation journey. Here are five tips for innovation and modernization that your business can use to get started today. 

Innovation and modernization tip 1: Plan for the future

If you are ready to dive into the modernization (and innovation) process, then the first step is to make a plan. You’ll want to have a very clear sense of where your systems and processes currently are, and of where you’d like to go. When it comes to business modernization, particularly in terms of the It and technical systems, this process is called digital planning. 

Think of digital planning as a way to leverage technology to optimize how you do business. Digital planning can help you make better decisions and evaluate where you’re spending your money so that you can maximize the benefit to your bottom line and how your company’s resources are managed and spent. 

Digital planning can help with the modernization of your business, and the process can be designed to involve a strategic plan centered on innovation. This is something you and your team may be able to manage on your own, but there are trained professionals ready to help you as well. They will be able to guide you through the process, and help you to see digital solutions that you may not be aware of.

Innovation and modernization tip 2: Go Digital

Let’s face it–the whole world is going online. Many businesses have moved from in-person operations to fully remote or flexible work environments. More customers than ever expect a business–even a brick-and-mortar business–to maintain an online presence. With that shift has come the idea of digital transformation, a sweeping paradigm shift for business operations strategy. As Entrepreneur Magazine explains:

When you commit to digital transformation, you’re enabling your company to modernize systems, meet evolving customer demands, and leverage new technologies that are the driving force behind a new technical revolution.

As a part of your innovation and modernization process, you may want to consider a full digital transformation, moving your information into cloud-based storage, shifting your workflow management to a digital platform, moving software to cloud-based solutions, and more. You may want to only undertake a partial digital transformation. All of this should be clear after the digital planning process.

Innovation and modernization tip 3: Expand Online

As we discussed above, your clients expect that you have an online presence. Modernization and innovation for your business may include building or expanding your:

  • Website, including e-commerce
  • Social media presence
  • Online content marketing and search engine optimization strategy
  • Customer relationship management system

This business modernization may also require a revision of your branding and messaging strategy to make sure that you are telling the whole story. 

Some of these may be things you can handle on your own, or you may want to bring in a partner that specializes in digital solutions services.

Innovation and modernization tip 4: Update your Tech

There are undoubtedly some parts of your business that can use an update, technologically speaking. Modernization for innovation requires equipment that can keep up, not just now but in the future.  Strategy+Business explains: “the life cycle of information technology is becoming shorter every year. New competitors are disrupting industries by leveraging state-of-the-moment digital practices and processes.” 

Your business modernization process should interrogate your systems and equipment, including:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Reporting
  • Custom software development
  • IT
  • Security
  • Automation
  • Analytics

Innovation and modernization tip 5: Digitize Learning

Your business modernization may want to consider taking your training and development processes online. There are a number of E-Learning solutions that can help your team to get the right information every time. You can find options to streamline your

  • Training
  • Onboarding
  • Skill development
  • And more

If you are ready to start your modernization and innovation process, it can really help to bring in an expert. iTransform is ready to help you in this process. 

Get Started Today!

iTransform Team

iTransform is an online platform connecting SMBs with pre-qualified digital solution providers. We take the guesswork out of finding the right solution at the right time. As your business evolves, we also enable you to plan, track, and measure your progress along your unique journey to digital transformation.

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