We spoke to Javier Blanquer, IFEMA's Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy. In this interview, Javier tells us about the importance of digitising internal processes for the smooth running of a company.
1. How would you define the digitisation of internal processes and what benefits do you think it could bring to an SME?
The digitisation of internal processes is, without a doubt, the gateway to new ways of growth and efficiency in a company. This is because it allows you to establish new channels, anticipate demand, react faster and focus on what is essential, the customers.
Customers are becoming increasingly digital and demanding. Today's customers are super-ready, they use apps, they have mobile devices to access business.
If an SME is not in the digital ecosystem, it is losing both potential customers and potential sales.
2. When or in what situation should internal processes be digitised?
There are companies where the core of their business is digital. In any case, any time is a good time because it will always bring benefits to have processes or part of your company digitised.
We already consider that being digital is a basic.
First and foremost, we must know how to relate to customers and how to operate with them. It is also important to know how to train and, above all, transform the team of people working in your organisation in the face of digitisation.
3. If an SME takes the decision to digitise its internal processes, which processes do you think should be addressed first and why?
If we talk about specific processes, everything related to the customer or everything you can automate is the first thing that should be analysed.
Digital channels such as the website, social media or even having a chat room are considered a minimum to get you started.
Channelling customers through these channels will allow you to reach a wider audience, be more recognised, capture more sales, make fewer mistakes, optimise costs and, above all, save time.
This optimisation of time and reduction of errors is related to the automation of manual tasks that are currently being performed by company employees, such as: invoicing, shipping, customer service, etc.
Employees should be focused on generating business, on making sales, and should spend as little effort as possible on tasks that do not generate value.
4. What is the role of a company's employees if processes that have traditionally been manual are digitised, and can this pose a threat to them?
At the heart of every transformation is the company's employee, as he or she is aware of inefficiencies and potential improvements.
Employees, however, when faced with change, may feel uncomfortable.
Additionally, not everyone is adequately trained to undertake this transformation. The key is to apply good change management to minimise potential threats to the employee.
They must feel involved in the change, they must know the challenges they are going to face, they must know what they are going to achieve and how they are going to grow professionally. Training and support are key in this process so that this possible threat that certain workers may see disappears.
5. What aspects should be considered when taking the initiative to digitise an internal business process?
It is necessary to consider what the company is going to achieve by digitising processes: reach more customers, increase the number of sales, improve valuation, etc.
You also need to consider what team you have, whether they are trained to undertake the change and whether they are motivated.
We must bear in mind that any change is going to require additional time, so we must focus on what is going to be achieved, on the benefits.
In addition, the budget must be considered. And, although it should not be excessive, it must be considered when prioritising the activities to be carried out.
Finally, you should consider which company or companies you are going to collaborate with, and which are adapted to your company's sector.
6. Is it necessary to have a large budget for the digitisation of internal processes?
The budget will depend on the digital maturity of each company, but with a small budget you can do a lot.
Having an internet presence, e-commerce, etc. does not require a large budget. There are a multitude of free tools or solutions, which you must adapt to your company, but which adapt to your needs and the size of your company.
We should not set ourselves a budget barrier and even less so with the current grants available. We must consider the return on the investment we make to begin a process of business digitalisation and internal processes.