Digitization - What is it? Why? Is it even worth it?
Recently, in Poland “Grant for Digitalization” has been popular - the funding started on September 20 and ended on October 5. A huge number of applications came to PARP from all over the country. Although digitization and modernization of businesses have been talked about for a long time, the recent campaign to support SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises Sector) publicized the topic and made entrepreneurs aware of the importance of technological development in their operations.
What is Grant for Digitalization?
Grant for Digitalization is a competition organized by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) concerning the financing of the sector of small and medium-sized enterprises in the field of digital technologies. This action was caused by the still prevalent COVID-19 virus and, consequently, the need to change the processes and the way companies operate. Co-financing could be granted to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises operating and registered in Poland. The maximum grant that could be obtained was PLN 255,000. The total cost of the project had to be PLN 300,000. Co-financing amounted to 85% of the project value, which means that the own contribution is at least 15% of the total project cost.
But what exactly is Digitalization itself?
Digitization is nothing more than a series of activities with the purpose of increasing access to the Internet and its resources and introducing electronic mechanisms into public administration, such as:
- increasing access to the Internet,
- development of online services,
- development of competencies in the use of the Internet,
- and creating solutions and projects that encourage them to do so.
Digitization in business
More and more Polish enterprises decide to digitize. According to the Orange Insights research conducted by ICAN Research, around 8% of corporations and large companies/enterprises include new technologies in their business model. Digitization becomes crucial as it increases market efficiency. Companies are starting to create various types of applications and solutions that are designed to facilitate communication with customers or help in the processes of managing internal processes and improving them. A good example is banking or e-commerce - they adapt new technologies the fastest. In their case, investments in digitization are long-term and short-term goals.
Digitization - a condition of survival for small and medium-sized businesses
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises constitute as much as 99% of all enterprises in the entire European Union. According to the report "Digital Technologies as a Basis for Action: Europe ( Digitally Driven: Europe)”, many SMEs during the Covid-19 pandemic built a so-called "Digital resilience". This means that most of these companies have started to adopt effective digital tools and services widely to help them survive and strengthen their business. This allowed them to organize quickly, maintain most of their pre-Covid-19 revenue, increase flexibility, and hire more employees. Taking advantage of the possibility of digitization during a pandemic has many benefits even in the distant future after it ends. This will allow businesses to survive and adapt to potential future crises.
What can your company gain from this?
The research entitled “Barriers and trends. Technological transformation of companies in Poland taking into account the human/employee/consumer perspective "carried out in February this year for the Humanities Institute shows that as many as 78% of medium and large enterprises are currently at the stage of digital transformation, and 36% of them are already at an advanced stage of changes.
Moreover, managers (86%) and employees (82%) admitted that the efficiency of their work increased thanks to the digitization of processes and internal communication. When it comes to the most digitized departments in the company, in most cases these are accounting and HR departments.
Benefits of digitization:
1. Better communication within the company - especially recently, where work in a remote model has become an increasingly frequent phenomenon, digital knowledge for internal communication has become necessary for proper work and better organization.
2. Improving customer service processes - nowadays, the fastest way to contact the customer is via the Internet. Therefore, the client expects that the given company will be able to handle it online as much as possible. Digitizing your business will certainly make it easier.
3. Streamlining all bureaucratic processes - and even eliminating what after some activities.
4. Data security - digitization of all data and storing them in the cloud is a guarantee that they will be safely stored. Information on paper is always at risk of being damaged, lost, and many other random factors. The data is also more convenient to use through digitization.
5. Lower office maintenance costs - this is the second benefit of keeping data in the cloud. It seems that maintaining paper documentation is a simple matter, but in reality, the costs associated with it can be really high. These costs include, among others: printing a paper version, a place specially designed for storing collections, maintaining an employee responsible for archiving these documents.
6. Increased employee productivity - thanks to the digital transformation of the company, the number of online solutions increases - that is, solutions that are usually faster and improve work. It is i.a. fast and efficient handling of documents, as well as sharing, sharing, and archiving them.
7. And, most importantly, Automation - all activities so far performed manually, thanks to digitization and available programs, can become fully automated processes, which will help optimize work efficiency in the company.
Still, many companies do not trust digitization. Why?
According to Radosław Frańczak (EY Partner, CESA Consulting SAP Leader) “(...), nearly one in five respondents believe that the implementation of the cloud in their enterprise is not necessary”.
For many Polish entrepreneurs, a huge barrier to the implementation of various digital solutions in the company is certainly the lack of trust. This is declared by 29% of companies, according to the EY Polska study "Digital transformation of companies 2020". Another barrier is high costs (according to 24% of companies) and the belief that there are no solutions tailored to the needs of their company on the market (13% of companies). 13% of companies do not use digitization due to resistance from management, and 9% of companies due to resistance and lack of conviction on the part of employees.
If your company is one of the 13 percent who believes that the market does not have a solution tailored to the needs of their business - well, maybe it's true - there is no perfect solution on the market for you and your business. Which does not mean that such a solution cannot be created.
We, Qarbon IT, are specialists in creating dedicated solutions for companies. Tailored software is something we do every day. If you want to digitize processes in your company, we are here for you! We take into account your needs and requirements so that you are one hundred percent satisfied with the final result. Creating dedicated software will help you improve internal processes in the company, stay ahead of the competition, or increase the interest of potential customers.
Digitization as a chance for success
We present three examples that prove that digitization in Poland is developing successfully, creating the future of the state and its economy:
The Polish branch of Cybercom and mobile applications as an export product
It is here that two key mobile applications were created - Suomi.fi and Soumi.fi Service Location, which is part of the Finnish e-government platform and is still being developed and improved. Suomi.fi is an app that provides Finnish citizens with official documents on their mobile devices. Soumi.fi Service Location is, in turn, a database that contains all information about public services available in Finland, combined with the augmented reality module. The app shows the user the locations of places such as offices on the map, it also contains information about libraries, swimming pools, sports fields, parking meters, and many more!
2. Warsaw University of Technology in the cloud
It is one of the better and larger renowned universities in Poland, where over 36,000 people study. The university has 19 faculties and as many as 48 fields of study. To improve the internal processes of the University of Technology, the university has introduced its own, fully personalized IT system, which is designed to, among others, supporting accounting and financial processes, project management, sales, distribution, mass settlements with students, and many others. This solution was created by specialists from the Polish SAP branch with the help of SI-Consulting as an implementation partner. Thanks to it, financial reports are generated as much as 10 times faster, but the flow of information has become much safer than the previous, "paper" system.
3. The Polish branch of Capgemini and their friendly chatbots
Experts from this branch develop chatbots for call center branches around the world. They create and "train" artificial intelligence so that they understand the context and intentions of the user's speech. The chatbot created by Capgemini has the skill of good manners and caring, which, unfortunately, is often missing in the traditional form of call centers. Chatbots have a prepared sentence of dialogues and statements, social knowledge related to social interactions, and integration with communication channels in the company.
Don't be afraid of digitization!
The last campaign with subsidies for small and medium-sized enterprises, ie the "Grant for Digitization", showed that the Polish market wants to develop in this direction. Thanks to it, many companies have realized how big a chance in their business development can be brought by digitization. It's worth using it.