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What is Digital Transformation?

What is Digital Transformation?

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What is Digital Transformation for large companies? The short answer is that digital transformation is a new way of thinking. It’s a shift in how a company thinks about using technology to achieve its business goals. 

Look at companies like Uber, Airbnb or Amazon. Everything they do is based on using evolving technology to meet customer needs. That way of thinking is largely what has catapulted their success.

Do All Companies Need Digital Transformation?

No. Very small companies, such as local restaurants, don’t necessarily need to join the digital transformation age. But in general, most companies should begin the process of exploring ways to integrate new technologies into their business. 

For example, let’s talk about a consumer packaged goods company. They can integrate cloud technology into everything from customer service and marketing to sales and manufacturing. Any company with a lot of moving pieces can use digital transformation to play a role in tying these pieces together. 

The larger a company becomes, the more it needs to embrace digital transformation. New technologies help departments talk to each other and the company serve its customers better. Because these are two things that large companies often struggle with, digital transformation just makes sense.

What are Examples of Digital Transformation?

There are countless examples to cite, but here are a few to think about:

Phone screen showing a live chat app
  • Caterpillar’s heavy machinery is now smart machinery. It uses the cloud to communicate potential maintenance issues before major problems occur. 
  • BASF created technology to sense diseases in plants. That way farmers can deal with issues before they spread throughout the crop. 
  • OneWeb (purchased by Airbus) uses a network of over 600 satellites to provide internet anywhere in the world. 
  • Marketers and customer service teams in all types of companies now use chatbots on social media and their websites. Chatbots are often able to answer customer questions or perform basic tasks without the need for an employee to get involved.

Each of these is different, but also similar in a way. They are ways that companies are using new technologies to entirely change how their business is done.

Why Do Some Large Companies Resist Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is tough. The easy part is investing in new technology. The hard part is actually rethinking how your business is done so you know what technology to look for. That’s where the “transformation” part comes into play. 

As a simple example, let’s talk about chatbots. Some companies see them as impersonal, thinking their customers would never want to communicate with a robot to fix their issues. Others may see the customer service benefit, but the brand team doesn’t like the idea. 

Digital Transformation is also hard to implement due to office politics. The more people involved and affected by a change, the more likely it will get shot down. Businesses exist to make money, and time or energy spent pursuing digital transformation won’t guarantee results.

Conclusion

Digital transformation at large companies can be a hard sell. But the world is also changing faster than ever before. Is your company preparing itself for future success by engaging in digital transformation?

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Effective Strategies for Project Management in the Age of Freelance

Effective Strategies for Project Management in the Age of Freelance

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The age of freelance is giving businesses new opportunities. Companies are now able to cut costs while getting work done faster than ever. But the remote hiring of freelancers does have its share of disadvantages.

For one thing, since freelancers are coming in on a by-project basis, they may not be as familiar with what you do as a full-time employee would be. And of course, since freelancers are usually remote, even basic communication is different than what most project managers are used to.

For those reasons, today we will explore how to effectively manage a project in the era of freelancers.

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It’s Starts with the Hiring Process

Your project is going to be much easier to manage if you hire smart to begin with. Working with a freelancer requires lots of mutual trust. On your end, you want to make sure that the person you hire is worth the trust you put in them. 

Remember, you aren’t just vetting for talent. Personality matches are important. Make sure that a freelancer fits your work culture before hiring them!

Once you do hire them, you may find it worthwhile to acclimate them to your business process the same way you would a full-time hire. Of course, this might not be practical if the hire is only for a quick project. However, you may still find it worthwhile to introduce your freelancer to your business partners, and make sure that they understand your core values.

Be as Clear as Possible

It’s important that you explain your exact expectations at the beginning of the process. This doesn’t mean micro-managing. It just means being a good communicator. Remember that your freelance team probably hasn’t worked with you or your company in the past. That means that they only know what you tell them.

The better you communicate your wants, the more likely it is you will see them realized.

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Hourglass sitting on wooden table

Be Smart with Your Deadlines

Sometimes freelancers are brought on to do crunch work. However, if you aren’t up against the clock, it is a good idea to give your freelance team space to breath. 

Good work takes time. Plus, it is important to remember that most freelancers are juggling more than one project at a time. For your purposes it may be a little bit frustrating to wait on a freelancer as they finish up a task for someone else.

However, there is wisdom in accepting that it is rare to get a good freelancer all to yourself. Reasonable deadlines will allow your freelance team to give you their best work.

Technology is Your Friend

Last but not least, take advantage of your tools. Technology makes it easier than ever to communicate rapidly with a remote team. Tools like Trello, Skype, Slack, and Google Office make remote communication remarkably simple. 

Of course, it is also important that you don’t go over board with the tools. Try to keep your team communication consolidated to a single platform if you can to ensure that the process is as streamlined as possible.

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How the Freelancer Community is changing Business

How the Freelancer Community is changing Business

About 36% of the American workforce is freelancing. That staggering number seems poised only to grow, with the potential for freelancers to become the majority by 2027. The market is clearly huge, but what exactly does this mean for business? How are freelancers changing the landscape of business? That is the question we will examine today.

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Lowering Overhead Costs

 

Companies that use freelancers experience a greatly reduced cost in overhead. The reason for this is pretty self explanatory. Since most freelancers are working remotely, businesses using them can cut costs on real-estate needs.

There is also the fact that freelancers cost less than the traditional employee. Even a top-dollar freelancer isn’t going to get the healthcare/onboarding expenses that come with the traditional hire.

Does your business utilize freelancers?

Hyper Specialized Hiring

 

Even companies with a full traditional staff may sometimes enjoy the benefits of a freelancer. Why? Freelancers with an expertise can be hired on to fulfill specific tasks that a business might not be equipped to tackle.

The specialized hire can come in, do what they do best, and then leave with everyone happy. It’s a win, win.

 

Workers are Enjoying More Flexibility

 

The benefits of freelancing are not exclusive just to companies. The freelancers themselves are also seeing advantages that traditional positions don’t offer.

Namely? They can work from anywhere in the world that they want. Anywhere with wifi anyway. Most can also work anytime they want. The traditional world of 9-5 doesn’t exist in the world of freelance.

And, perhaps the best part? The freelancer is free to turn down tasks that they aren’t interested in performing.

The benefits enjoyed by freelancers have become the envy of the rest of the working world. As a result, some businesses are playing around with the idea of giving their staff a little bit more autonomy. However, as it stands, the freelancer community is enjoying a level of freedom other sectors of business just aren’t familiar with.

More Companies are Going Full-Remote

 

Fully remote companies aren’t exactly common as things currently stand. However, they also aren’t non-existent. Many businesses are finding that the freelancer market is giving them the potential to drastically increase the amount of remote workers they use.

Of course, not all remote workers are freelancers. Still, the two trends, gig work and remote work, at least have plenty of adjacency.

It’s hard to say how far this will go. However, with the projection that one out of every two workers will soon be freelancing, it does seem safe to say that more and more big businesses are going to be tapping this unique market in the near future.

Conclusion

 

Corporations and freelancers are poised for a symbiotic relationship that should shape the way business is done for decades to come. Some of the changes are, and will be to everyone’s benefit. Lower costs for businesses, more autonomy for employees.

Other aspects of the arrangement aren’t so good. Like the difficulty freelancers have in making a steady income.

We don’t yet know exactly what the future will look like. One thing is clear: the freelancer community is here, and it is growing bigger by the day.