No longer a trend, digitisation is a necessity for companies that want to stay competitive. It unlocks new growth opportunities and streamlines the implementation of new business models and projects, making it easier to adapt to changing markets. In the construction and real estate industries, companies have stuck fairly close to the status quo in terms of going digital – with most only digitising existing processes and procedures.
But with new constraints like ESG changing the way we approach everything from project planning and investment to asset management, we need to think and work digitally from the very beginning.
Like anything in business, digital transformation is a process. But how do you tell where you are now and what steps you should take next? Follow our stages of digitisation to find out!
What are the stages of digitisation?
Digital transformation might sound like a buzzword but there’s a clear methodology for assessing where you’re at and what steps you need to take next. Here, we take a closer look at the four phases that companies and industries go through on the way to digital transformation.
1. Digitisation – digitising data
Digitisation is the process of transitioning from analogue records to using digital data and information. Almost all companies have already started taking this first step. For example, you might have switched from using letters to email, using an Excel spreadsheet for calculations or storing your documents in a digital workspace like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Key benefits of digitisation
- Data and information are available digitally
- All invoices are available digitally
- Calculations and documents (e.g. contracts) are stored in the cloud and can be accessed after authorisation.
2. Standardisation – digitisation of processes
In this phase, the processes are considered in addition to the data and information of a company. As a result, data is processed in a defined and repeatable manner. This makes the process more efficient and errors can be avoided through more transparency (comparison of data).
With your data and information now available digitally, the next step is to digitise your company’s processes. The goal is to increase efficiency and reduce errors by using processes that are clearly defined, transparent and easy to replicate.
Key benefits of standardisation
- All processes are digital and standardised
- Collaboration takes place digitally via set processes
- Processes are transparent and traceable
3. Digitalisation – changing working methods
Now that your processes are digital, it’s time to automate them. For example, invoice data is read or order conditions applied automatically, without any manual effort. Digitalisation includes:
- Automation of work processes. Digital software can read and process data and store rules to significantly reduce manual effort.
- Transparency in processes. Where’s the process I need to follow? How do I know when a task has been completed? Who’s responsible for the next step? With transparent digital workflows, these questions are already answered. Transparency also makes processes easy to optimise because they can be assessed, breaks recognised and tweaks made to avoid mistakes in future.
- Cross-linking systems and software. For a company to really benefit from the efficiencies of digital transformation, different systems have to be able to interact with each other and share relevant data. For example, simply connecting your invoicing software with your accounts systems will not just save you time but prevent mistakes that come from manual data entry. Find out how Alasco prevents data loss and streamlines processes by connecting IT systems.
- Data-driven decisions. Relevant benchmarks and KPIs from past projects can be used in a targeted manner, eg. to inform future purchase decisions.
Key benefits of digitalisation
- Full automation across all workflows and processes
- Cross-system linking
- Data-driven decisions
4. Digital transformation – changing mindsets across the organisation
The final stage, digital transformation, is about revealing the big picture from the data that your intelligent software has gathered and made accessible – in a way that’s just not possible when we rely on manual processes and brainpower alone. Now that you’re automating processes and linking systems together, you have all the pieces in place to build an intelligent network of data to support informed decision-making and reduce risk across your projects.
But there’s also the human component to consider here: the final stage of digital transformation requires a change in mindset – or the way people in your company think about and solve problems. For example, moving your team from the familiar manual processes to automated workflows. How you manage this phase has a direct impact on how processes run in your company, how new business models emerge and what new opportunities you can find as a result.
Key benefits of digital transformation
- Intelligent networking of data to derive recommendations for action and make decisions
- Change in working methods and business models
- Change in mindset