E-business is one of those terms that can basically mean anything you want, so you will probably come across different iterations of the same term in different situations.
The only term that’s worse than e-business when it comes to a multitude of definitions is digital transformation – from purchasing a new scanner for the office – with a colleague yelling sarcastically: Well, this is some digital transformation right here! – to a more proper usage – electronic exchange of documents, serious cognitive analytics, IoT, and industry 4.0 – the term is popping everywhere and anywhere.
If you really want to squeeze every ounce of meaning from digital transformation in all industries, I recommend an exquisite blog (although, it’s more of an e-book) on the topic.
I have to warn you though; the blog is not something you can scroll over in a couple of minutes – you’re going to need at least 2-3 cups of coffee and a quarantine type of situation to keep you resistant to outside disruptions.
The broadest definition of both e-business and digital transformation can be pretty much boiled down to the same need – upgrading your business operations via new technologies.
At first, this whole definition seems completely positive:
Improvement + new technologies = “Great! I’ll be faster, better, and stronger on the market!”
Here comes the key difference between companies that always see opportunities and those that keep seeing obstacles everywhere. The internal monologue of an obstacle-focused company, after the transformation is proposed, goes something like this:
That’s all nice and well, but how much does it cost?
Our whole way of doing business is inherited, we’ve been doing it like this forever, that kind of change is more than we can chew.
Our business partners cannot keep up with us on a technological level.
We don’t have time to educate our employees.
Of course, every company needs to ask these questions, lay down its finances, and come up with a plan, but it often doesn’t even come to that, because the list of obstacles keeps getting longer, time goes by, and the market race keeps getting more merciless with every fiscal quarter. Suddenly, you are losing the race to people that used to look up to you.
Deloitte has an amusing video that shows what every company goes through while trying to navigate between business changes, client expectations, and internal processes:
This example should be observed as a metaphor, because if we concentrate on the discussion on the evils of gluten, we’ll miss the whole point. Change is inevitable. We can either be terrified by it or look at it as a catalyst for development.
That realization is actually the most important one in today’s world. Everything else is easier to get to later, while constantly thinking about the ratio between feasibility and effectiveness.
When talking about electronic exchange of documents and digital archives, the ratio is transparent, time saved is easily calculable, and archive costs go down by up to 75%.
Bureaucracy makes slaves of companies and drowns them in paperwork, but today there is really no need for that any more. Tried and tested tools are available, which can speed up the whole process, eliminate the potential for human error, and be adapted to companies with an integrated ERP system, as well as smaller companies. Most importantly, they can even offer you an affordable answer to the question:
“That’s all nice and well, but how much does it cost?”
E-business in Europe is constantly developing, but it’s still not optimal. That’s why the EU has been issuing guidelines and recommendations for a while now relating to business transformation, as well as implementation deadlines for state institutions.
But Europe’s mandate is not the main reason why you should switch to e-business.
The main reason should reflect your company’s philosophy, the one which sees an opportunity to grow and speed up business processes, because your time can be better used for real challenges in your industry and those posed by your clients.
The question then is:
What type of baker do you want to be?
Do you want to continue with a business the rest of the world has suddenly developed an allergy to?
Or do you want to be a strong competitor who doesn’t fear change? A competitor who actually embraces it and knows that change is the only constant in life?
Nino Strajher, director, Omnizon Networks