We are living in digital revolution. Technology is creating new opportunities, new industries and new threats. But what is digital transformation? And what can businesses do to become better equipped to move with the times?

Technology has long been an important tool for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) looking to punch above their weight against larger competitors. These days being an SME, you should be very aware of what digital transformation is, as it’s empowering nimble startups looking to disrupt entire business sectors.

As businesses of all sizes begin to view technology as a competitive advantage – rather than simply another cost centre – we’re seeing business cost structures change significantly, service offerings broaden and service delivery becoming quicker, easier, cheaper and more responsive to customer needs.

The results of this digital transformation aren’t simply delivering incremental efficiency improvements, as businesses might have aspired to in the past. Instead they’re allowing businesses to completely transform the way they operate – thus the term “digital transformation”.

Digital transformation isn’t just a question of trying to stay one step ahead of your competition. It’s about reinventing your business for the digital age and accepting that digital transformation is an ongoing process that needs to come from the top down and cut to the core of your strategy, rather than being a one-off IT project.

Any SME not investing time and money into leveraging new technologies isn’t just in danger of falling behind – it’s also in danger of falling victim to an extinction event waiting to wipe out the traditional players in their field.

Kodak ignored the digital camera, retail giants scoffed at Amazon and taxi companies underestimated the impact of Uber. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this kind of digital disruption only happens in other countries, or only in other sectors. You don’t want to be one of the dinosaurs caught napping when the digital meteorite strikes your industry.

Affordable cloud computing is one technological advancement that has the potential to shake up every industry, warns Paul Shetler – former Chief Digital Officer of the Australian government’s Digital Transformation Agency and CEO of the Digital Transformation Office. The new generation of cloud services has significantly lowered the barriers to entry in sectors once dominated by a handful of powerful incumbents, plus it has opened the door to global digital companies that aren’t hampered by geographic boundaries and are hungry for new markets.

Navigating these uncharted waters is certainly a challenge for any SME, which is where your trusted IT advisor becomes more important than ever – not just in shaping your technology strategy to ride the digital transformation wave, but also aligning your overall business strategy.

You’re not just looking for an IT supplier to help you keep the lights on and occasionally put out fires; you’re looking for a business partner who appreciates your specific needs and is there to guide you along the way rather than just offer traditional IT support services. You’re looking for an experienced IT partner to help you develop and execute a business strategy that incorporates a transformation program capitalising on the opportunities technology offers, and recognising the pitfalls of failing to act.

This is where a trusted advisor like TechBrain can come to your aid, with its Virtual CIO (vCIO) service offering a business relationship and strategic technology advice rather than simply IT support. To succeed in today’s environment, SMEs need a technology partner who understands their challenges, sees their opportunities and can help them navigate a digital transformation path.

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Adam S

Adam S is a technology expert with a passion for innovative ideas.