What is digital literacy, and how can it help your business?
More and more, businesses are improving their processes with digital technology and online tools. Digital literacy is about understanding information when it is presented in different formats, and figuring out how to use it in secure and productive ways. Learning about these tools and understanding how to use them well is what helps people become digitally literate.
In running your business, you might use digital technologies to:
- Sell goods or services (e-commerce, including apps)
- Source materials (B2B transactions)
- Manage your finances and employees (HR or accounting software)
- Market your business online (including social media)
It's important to look at the risks and benefits of using different information and communications technologies to improve business processes before investing in them. Streamlining your business systems with tools to manage your documents, your human resources, and your customer relationships works only if they can be implemented successfully and are beneficial to everyone involved.
Make sure to prepare your stakeholders so that the transition process is as smooth as possible. Training your employees and educating customers can take time and money, so you'll want to be sure that your investment is worth the cost. There is little benefit to you in having the latest-and-greatest in digital technology if your stakeholders are resistant to change or don't understand how to use it. You'll need to manage expectations in order to prevent churn and maintain customer loyalty.
It's a good idea to focus on what people can accomplish by using the tools. Helping them understand the benefits will motivate them to engage. Early adopters of a particular technology can be champions in supporting those who are slower to adopt; this increases the digital literacy of everyone involved, and opens up possibilities for the future.
The uncertainty of taking on new challenges is a risk many entrepreneurs face, but the improvements in productivity will lead you to the ultimate reward: thriving in a digital economy.