Digitalisation of business – the ‘new’ normal

Graham Dyer | 24 June 2020

Digitalisation of business – the ‘new’ normal

As you will have heard and read we are now in the era of the 'new normal', where the rules of before have now drastically changed. We, as businesses, are making plans, adapting and changing in the knowledge that what worked before will simply not work today.

New systems, standards, products and services will need to be developed in unison ensuring safety for staff and customers, profitability and customer satisfaction. How this will affect you will differ whether you are the butcher, baker or candle-stick maker. As explained by Greg Callan in his previous blog 'Red Light, Green Light, Go!' (click here to read) there is a great deal to consider and uncertainties remain at this time. Particularly in terms of timescales and lasting impact.

When this is all over – should we go back to doing the same as before? Should we go back to our old ways and processes? Or have some of the changes been for the better?

One consistency through the predictions and the business changes we’ve seen thus far is the increased move to digital working and, in particular, using cloud products and service. Whether it is the butcher moving to online sales and going mobile, the baker only taking contactless payments or the candle-stick maker meeting suppliers on a Zoom call.

Businesses are being forced to make these changes to their working practices to survive but are also finding digital process offer avenues for expansion which are more robust. Digital will form the foundation of business practices rather than something that was only ever done on the periphery. This is now happening in traditional businesses that were previously reluctant to change. COVID-19 could be the trigger in many sectors that have not yet had an Uber or Netflix or the likes come along and disrupt the market.

Digital vs Digitalisation!

Taking elements online is all well and good, but where businesses get real benefit from moving digital is when 'digitalisation' kicks in. This is where use is being made of the digital information to improve processes. For example, taking a website order which can automatically:

  1. Process the order sending all relevant information to your warehouse;
  2. Send an invoice to your customer (and payment reminders if they take a while!);
  3. Keep your customer updated through ever step until they receive their goods;
  4. Update your stock levels;
  5. Order more stock (if required);
  6. Update your accounting reports for income, stock value, profit etc.

The list can go on and on. All the digital bits talking to each other and sharing information. Communication is key and this goes for digital processes as well. It might be that this customer making the website order is now your highest value customer in a specified time period – you can receive a notification of this fact to your phone. You can then choose to give thanks in some form or simply enjoy that fact.

The digitalisation of things has been progressively impacting our lives in every way. We’re able turn our heating on using our mobile phone or ask ‘Alexa’ to order pretty much anything and it’ll arrive the next day. A top government priority throughout COVID-19 pandemic has been developing an app which will trace outbreaks and who we’ve all been in contact with.

How we approach digitalisation.

At French Duncan we’ve been embracing digitalisation for many years in our own processes, plus looking to gain a deeper understanding of our clients processes to see where we can assist and advise. We’re helping many businesses move Xero to the core of its accounting processes. Xero is a powerful online accounting system on its own that integrates with over 800 other systems embracing digitalisation in a multitude of ways, for example it’ll link with:

  • Systems where you can take photos of receipts, store and process these (e.g. Receipt Bank & Autoentry)
  • Point of sale systems (e.g. iZettle & Vend)
  • Bank feeds with almost every bank worldwide where bank transactions are automatically fed into your accounts system to be reviewed and reconciled.
  • CRM, Ecommerce, Payment, Inventory and Reporting systems etc, etc.

Our advice is not always just about numbers but, undoubtedly, improved systems and processes will aid in returning better numbers.

The future?

Many businesses and industries have been reluctant to embrace digitalisation up to this point. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it - is the old adage. COVID-19 has thrown up a situation where every single industry has been impacted and in the majority of cases, has been hit hard. How do we recover? By waiting and hoping things go back to normal?

I believe businesses will need to embrace the ‘new normal’ or be left behind by their competitors.

Click here to see Graham's profile and contact details.

Other blogs of interest:

We have published various blogs discussing how SMEs are navigating the changing times, click here to see a selection that may also be of interest.

COVID-19 Information:

For all our help, support and information around COVID-19 / Coronavirus visit, where you can link to articles deferring HMRC payments, tax and business rates, debt assistance & restructuring and much more.




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