It’s no secret that digitization has been the buzzword of the 2010’s through 2020’s, but the word “moderation” has rarely been used in the same sentence. We all know that eating excessively can lead to serious health problems, but we all need to eat to stay alive. The same can be said about digitization.
See, it is more or less impossible to survive as a business today without accepting and embracing digitization. However, there is actually such a thing as too much digitization that can be detrimental to your business.
In this article we will take a closer look at some tell-tale signs that you are overdigitizing and that it might be worth taking a step back and reviewing the value of your digitization processes.
1. Too much, too fast
In 2020, many companies saw the need to make rapid changes in their organizations and go digital. This sped up the digitization process as the need for going digital was all of a sudden more pressing than ever. This resulted in a lot of companies making good choices, but tendencies of overdigitizing began to surface due to “quick fixes” without a clear strategy in mind. This issue has often been referred to as short-termism.
A tell-tale sign that you are overdigitizing is simply that you are trying to digitize too much at the same time. However, identifying what “too much, too fast” is, can be difficult. Typical signs include poorly documented processes and routines, inconsequent usage of digital solutions, reduced efficiency among staff due to lack of training, and high employee turnover due to insufficient focus on change management.
Even if all of the changes that you are making are part of a long-term plan, make sure that you always have control over your digitization processes. Once you no longer feel like you have control, it might be time to take a step back and put some projects on hold until you’ve regained control.
I want to go back to the metaphor of excessive eating. It’s not that you can’t have a burger every once in a while, but having ten in one sitting might not be the best idea.
2. Subpar solutions
Another sign that you are overdigitizing is that you are ending up with subpar solutions. By subpar I mean solutions that are already outdated or that lack features. This is often connected to the first point on this list that you are doing too much too fast. Many times, the sense of urgency results in poor choices being made due to a lack of research.
If you were to get your first smartphone today, you probably wouldn’t get an iPhone 4. Most apps no longer support the last iOS update available to iPhone 4 (iOS 9), pictures you take with your phone will be of questionable quality and the functionality would be considered limited and outdated in comparison with newer smartphones.
Instead of rushing to implement the first digital solution you find to your problem, take some time, do your research, and look for a solution that helps solve your problem long-term, not just today. If you, in a couple of months time, find out that the solution is less than ideal for your organization, switching to another solution is costly and time-consuming. The bigger your organization is, the bigger of a headache it will be to replace the current solution.
3. Higher costs than before
While implementing some digital solutions will result in a high upfront cost, the long-term cost in relation to business value should ideally be lower than prior to digitizing. There are exceptions to this rule, but if you are experiencing that several of your digitizing projects are resulting in higher costs than you had before with a lower return on investment, this might be a sign of overdigitizing.
If this has happened, you need to identify why. Did you choose design over substance? Are you using a solution tailored to your needs or are you investing in solutions that are far more advanced than you have use for? If so, take a step back and look at competitive solutions of the one you are currently using to see if there is a more affordable solution to your problem and that better caters to your needs.
It is important that not everything that glimmers is gold. Don’t get distracted by shiny things – many times they are not worth your time or money. When digitizing, business value, cybersecurity, functionality, features, pricing, and user experience should be in focus.
4. Lack of cybersecurity
One of the major challenges when it comes to digitization is cybersecurity. All of your digital solutions need to be secure and preferably fit into your cybersecurity infrastructure. Are users in your organization forced to login with an email and password for each solution? Have you had information leaks? Have IT experts pointed out security risks in your systems? Do employees who are no longer working in your organization still have access to sensitive data? Then this might be a sign that you are overdigitizing and not thinking things through prior to implementation.
Ideally, user management should be in as few places as possible, for example in Office 365 or Google Workspace. This means that the solutions you implement should allow for users to login using these accounts rather than have unique accounts in each different solution. This reduces cybersecurity risks and gives you more control. Ask your solution provider for documentation on how the solution is kept secure and have your IT department evaluate potential risk factors so that a strategy can be put into action to mitigate these risks.
5. Weak arguments over substance
The final tell-tale sign that you are overdigitizing is that weak arguments are being used for implementing new digital solutions. The most common of these might be “our competitors are doing it, so we have to do it as well”. Your answer to that statement should be “Why?” and “How do we know that this is working well for them?”. Going digital should be based on data, research and analysis, not on weak arguments driven by emotions.
Think of the story of the tortoise and the hare, sometimes taking it slow and thinking things through might work in your favor. If you are finding yourself or others using emotional-based arguments in order to drive through digitization processes, take a moment to assess what the potential benefits and risks would be of making this change. This will prevent you from reckless overdigitizing and making costly mistakes. Instead, the good ideas that will help the business thrive in the digital landscape will stand a bigger chance of prevailing.
The digital world is as exciting as it is risky. New solutions and products appear every day and it can be difficult to navigate what to invest in. If you are finding yourself with solutions that aren’t tailored for your needs, lack of structure, high costs, and decisions are driven through due to fear of losing business, you are most likely overdigitizing. It’s important to remember to not bite off more than you can chew.
One way of mitigating the risk of overdigitizing is to ensure that the solutions you choose are scalable enough for you to try them out in a controlled environment before implementing them. This is why we at Databeat allow users to try our digital signage solution for free and have a scalable model where you only pay for what you need. Learn more about digital signage here to explore if this is something that would be of value to your organization.