How long does digitalization take?
Many of us know that digitalization is essential and that your company needs to tackle it sooner or later, but a question we’re often confronted with is: well, how long is this going to take? And how much time do my team and I need to dedicate to this process?
Now, we know you didn’t come here for an “it depends on” answer, but it does depend on a few things; mainly the company’s size, the complexity of its processes, and how many stakeholders are involved.
Yet, at TRIGO, we’ve spent the last decade digitalizing business’ processes, and we can see specific patterns and what can positively and negatively impact a timeline. Whether you’re a sole trader, medium-sized business owner, or a corporate manager, here are some typical timelines you can expect:
How long does it take to digitalize a sole trader’s business process?
It takes around 3-8 weeks to realize the digitalization of a sole trader’s process from our experience. We’re talking turnaround time, all the way from start to finish.
For example, this could be taking a house inspection protocol for property management, from doing the walkthrough with a hard paper copy of the protocol and a pen to doing it with an app on an iPad and having all the documentation you need in one place. It’s a great way to improve a sole trader’s efficiency and scale his/her systems without hiring new team members.
Here is what the process can look like:
- Week 1: Initial contact, emailing back and forth, arranging the first meeting & receiving the offer for your services.
- Week 2: Discovery phase & technical roadmap.
- Week 2-6: Technical implementation.
- Week 6-8: Go live with custom business software & issue resolution.
Your time commitment:
Hiring a software company to digitalize your service is not just about paying a bill and leaving them to do the work — for you to get the best possible result, you need to be involved in the process.
- Week 1-6: During this time, you will need to dedicate anywhere between half a day to two days a week to participate in weekly demos, give input and regular feedback, and pass on your years of experience.
- Week 6-8: During our go-live of the software, you will pretty much want to dedicate 90% of your time to this part of your business for it to work correctly. Also — to manage your expectations — this part of the process is often uncomfortable because it’s a time of change, but once you’re done, your business will run better and more efficiently.
How long does it take to digitalize a medium-sized company’s or corporate department’s process?
In past projects, we’ve seen that digitalizing processes for a medium-sized business take approximately 3-8 months from start to finish. So what takes a sole trader weeks might take a medium-sized business or corporate department months. Simply because more stakeholders need to be involved, and the scope of the technological solution is larger.
This is what the process can look like:
- Month 1: Initial contact, emailing back and forth, arranging the first meeting, & receiving the offer for your services.
- Month 2: Discovery phase & technical roadmap
- Months 2-6: Technical implementation
- Months 6-8: Go live with custom business software & issue resolution
Your time commitment:
Digitalizing a business or entire corporate process is something we wouldn’t recommend taking lightly. Although we promise you that it will positively impact your business eventually. It’s inevitable for you to become a huge part of the process to achieve a great result together.
- Month 1-6: During this time, one team member needs to dedicate all of their time to this project. You will be asked to participate in weekly demos, give input and regular feedback, and pass on your years of experience.
- Month 6-8: During our go-live of the software, the team using the technology will need to dedicate 90% of their time to get used to their new way of working. The dedicated internal project lead will also be required to manage expectations. This part of the process is often uncomfortable because it’s a time of change, but once done, your business will run better and more efficiently than ever before.
What can affect a digitalization timeline and how to stick to yours
A few things can positively or negatively impact the timeline of a project, and here’s what we’ve seen to either get in the way of or speed up the process. So, be sure to keep these in mind, especially if you have specific timelines to meet:
While we’d love to tell you, we can take all the work off your plate — unfortunately, that’s a recipe for disaster. You know your company best; to build the best possible technological solution around it, you need to be involved in the process and dedicate a significant amount of time to the project.
Not doing so will cost a lot of time, money, and frustration eventually.
Bureaucracy & company politics
Digitalization often means significant changes within the company. It can affect people’s day-to-day jobs — how they work, what tools they use to get the job done, and maybe even change their role. Change is not always welcomed with open arms, which is why you also need to think about the benefits of digitalization and how you can get people on board from the very beginning.
Digitalization should not just be about developing a technological solution and slapping it in front of employees to use. While we at TRIGO take a lot of the tech work off Managers’ and Business Owners’ plates, change management should also be an active part of the process. That way the process of integrating the technology can run more smoothly.
We’re a big fan of soft launches — which means launching the new technology around one month before an important deadline — so people can start using it. We get instant feedback and can tweak the technology and user interface to make it even better. That way, a critical launch is just that bit less stressful, and we can ensure we can confidently meet the deadline.
Does the project timeline affect the cost of digitalization?
Sure it does, which is why it’s important to talk about this from the get-go. If you have a tight deadline, the cost is typically higher. Also, if you need a lot of consulting and support over a significant time, this will drive your expenses up — all the more reason to start thinking about your digitalization project early on.
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