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Embracing a Digital Transformation Plan That Works for Your Business

Juniper is a technology company at heart—so you’d better believe it when we say we have more than a few ideas and informed opinions on the topic of digital transformation.  

Just to keep everyone’s baseline understanding at the same level, here’s a basic definition to work off as we go, sourced from the fine folks at IBM. 

Digital transformation means adopting digital-first customer, business partner and employee experiences. 

We like this notion—and IBM is definitely a trustworthy source when it comes to technology info—but we’d like to take it a step or two further. By our definition, a demonstrably successful transformation occurs when a business adopts digital improvements a way that makes sense within: 

  • The constraints and context of their business model 
  • Their operational strengths and weaknesses 
  • And their overall organizational planning.  

It’s a subtle distinction on paper but one that warrants serious consideration for any business still designing its long-term digital evolution goals (which is to say, almost all of them). By following this path, you give yourself the best chance to find tools that work for you from the word Go 

How to Check Digital Transformation off the To-Do List 


Digital transformation isn’t necessarily an option, a luxury, or something to shove off to the side until a later date, until it becomes more pressing. It’s happening now, and in most cases, staying relevant and profitable means embracing technology in some serious—and at times, seriously imposing—ways as quickly as possible.  

Of course, much of this is obvious in a world where the average professional relies on something between nine and 13 devices to get through the working day. It’s also visible in the sheer number of businesses in industries like wholesale diving feet-first into digital adoption strategies—something we see every day as makers of technologies serving those industries.  

But knowing what you need and knowing how to achieve it are typically two very different types of info when it comes to business technology. And while we’d love to sell you on the idea of technology being a cure-all for every legacy inefficiency, growth problem, and customer interaction pain-point you may have, success requires a different take: knowing your organization, your customers, and your needs, and using those bits of info as guideposts to a more informed approach.  

Transformation as a Mindset 


In this regard, you can almost consider digital transformation more of a mindset than an activity (though there still is plenty of effort involved once you follow through on your plan). This mirrors the thinking in academic/trade papers like Romero et. al’s excellent Five Management Pillars for Digital Transformation 

Following that, it bears repeating that not any technology will modernize a business and repair the procedural inefficiencies holding it back—only the right technology will.  

Because of this, wherever you are in your current digital evolution plans, it’s smart to take a step back and evaluate categories like the following before making any changes that will impact workflows, customer-facing processes, or other core aspects of the business:  

  • Your company’s current technology, including tools you’ll wish to keep and outdated tools with core features you may wish to replicate. A company with a somewhat outdated website using JuniperWeb to fast start their online B2B selling after holding onto a previous redesign a little too long would be one common example of this.  
  • You company’s current overall processes, which equates to your current technology and manual processes. A business with paper invoicing and a centralized digital task scheduling platform, for instance, would include both in its outlook.  
  • Realistic goals and points of improvement stemming from the top two points. Ultimately technology should be a tool for your business to escape certain pain points and sidestep others, both in terms of the way it works internally and the way it engages with customers. We’ll touch more on that latter category in a moment, but the big idea is—try to understand what you need and what technology in general might be able to do before diving in too far.  

Dialing in on this information and making it a core part of your evolution strategy can be immensely helpful whatever stage your multichannel sales efforts are currently in. But the most important data is yet to come…  

The Big One: Think Like a Customer 


One point we really agree with in the Five Management Pillars research paper is its repeated insistence any company undergoing a digital transformation walk a mile in its customers’ shoes—in an almost literal sense.  

As above, pain points in the current system are certainly a key point of exploration. To use a hypothetical example, the company with paper-based invoicing processes and a slick task manager may find its ability to process orders in a timely manner impacted, even as it excels at following up on leads and scheduling initial sales appointments. This may create a backlog that makes it harder for reps to complete deals in a timely manner and customers to receive orders, contributing to an operational and customer-facing point of improvement needing addressed.  

But the need goes deeper than that. Beyond looking for ways to raise the floor of your experience, you should also be looking to raise the ceiling, improving your experience in ways drastic enough to qualify as a service differentiator. 

Here, a careful review of your company’s strengths and advantages can provide insights that lead to innovation. In Juniper’s case, we’re lucky enough to have extensive experience in markets like furniture and home décor and the technological foundation to improve business outcomes for our customers; this allows us to provide several software platforms that shortcut painful processes businesses undergo when they digitally transform.  

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The point there is not to brag, but to say: When you look at the things you do well through the lens of your customers’ expectations, you give yourself and your business the best outlook for digital transformation. Achieve this gal in any way your business sees fit, from running focus groups to mass testing with employees using internal accounts—it’s more about the perspective than the practice at this high a level.  

What Should your Digital Transformation Look Like? 


Even within the same industry, two business’s paths to effective digital transformation will look quite different thanks to all the factors listed above (and a lot of others more appropriate for a longer article!).  

That said, there are some yardsticks by which you can measure a potential platform’s contribution to your goals. If you read our article on the importance of SaaS, you know that tools like the JuniperCommerce suite help businesses push past challenges and pain points by providing healthy shortcuts to growth. To use an example from above, the company updating its B2B website via JuniperWeb gets its site to market in weeks instead of months or years, since it doesn’t need to manage things like—for two examples—the design process or obtaining PCI compliance for payment-transaction aspects of the site.  

Following that, every software purchase you make, from the lowest-impact to the deeply integrated, should pass at least one of the two following tests:  

  • Does it speed, ease, or otherwise improve processes in an appreciable way for employees?  
  • Does it differentiate our product offering or bring it to parity in some way (even minor) for our customers?  

Good improvements do one of these well—great ones answer both with a resounding Yes 

Conclusion: Transform With Us—Get a Demo Today!  

We’re here to grow alongside you at Juniper. As you evolve into various aspects of multichannel selling, reading this page means you’ve already found a great technology partner to guide areas of your digital growth. Now it’s time to act on all the information and schedule a demo—we’d love to show you what Juniper and its suite of powerful tools can do for you!