Digital transformation can improve efficiencies, lower spend, minimise risk and create happier customers. Did you know that it can reduce your carbon footprint too?
Whilst the process of digital transformation is, in itself, a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically achieve your carbon targets.
In fact, there’s a lot you can do to detox the digital transformation process to make it as energy efficient as possible.
Here we’ll explore some tangible ways to detox the digital transformation process.
The more actions users can perform for themselves, the more energy efficient the process.
Here’s an example:
As part of your product offering, customers can place an advert with you to showcase their own services. Historically, they would do this over the phone and you’d manage the operations manually, but you’ve recently digitised some of the process.
Customers can now login to a secure portal and create their advert. However, if they have special requirements for their ad, such as multiple images, a longer listing duration or additional copy fields, they’ll need to contact you and request this manually. This means many more steps to the process (and consumption of energy) before their advert can go live.
You could detox this process by adding new custom fields in the customer portal that allow the user to self-serve and set special preferences, without needing to contact you. In this way, you’ll:
- reduce the number of steps needed (efficiency)
- save energy on phone calls, emails or other contact methods (reduce your carbon footprint)
- provide a service that will make the process easier for users (customer satisfaction)
Digital transformation is an ongoing process - it’s not something you can plan, implement and then tick off, before moving on to the next thing. Keep looking for opportunities to digitise your internal and external processes and systems.
Use data and insights
How do you make decisions about the direction of your digital transformation process?
Using data to determine your company strategy, digital roadmap and product initiatives is one of the best ways to detox. It gives you a clear vision of where you’re heading and helps you find your ‘true north’ so you don’t get sidetracked by ad hoc projects and low value initiatives.
Often, companies are heavily influenced by what senior leaders think is the best approach. You may make roadmap decisions based on stakeholders’ wishes, instead of end-users’ needs. Furthermore, many companies don’t consider digital sustainability as a core insight to drive their strategy and roadmap.
There’s a wealth of data on the impact of digital carbon and its effect on the environment. Do your research and incorporate insights about digital carbon footprints into your decision-making process.
Put the customer first
Often, when we prioritise the customer’s needs, the digital transformation process naturally becomes more sustainable.
If you focus on making the digital experience as quick and easy as possible for users, this can benefit the environment too. Fewer steps for a user to find what they need means less energy consumed.
Even if you’re not totally clued up on the ins and outs of digital sustainability, you can detox your processes, simply by focusing on your customers and end users.
The upside is that users will be satisfied and more likely to return, or recommend your services. The detoxing benefit is that your digital carbon footprint will be minimised and you’ll be one step closer to your sustainability targets.
You can find opportunities to detox your services across a number of digital functions. From design and development to finance and marketing, there are multiple sustainability gains to be made, if you know where to look for them.
Set sustainability targets
How do you measure the success of your digital transformation process? It’s very important to include your digital carbon footprint as a metric for measuring success.
Digitising your services is only part of digital transformation. There’s a whole lot more to the process, like evolving your company culture to prioritise digital-first.
Once your workforce begins seeing the value of digital transformation, they’ll be more likely to adopt it. The same principle applies if you want to detox the process. You’ll need to do a lot of work to create an environmentally conscious culture within your organisation - sharing the who, what, why, how and when of why digital sustainability is a good first step.
Then, as you begin to look forward, everyone needs to hold themselves accountable. From goal-setting to personal habits, the change needs to happen at an individual level first, before you can expect it to happen on a wider scale.
Be the example and set ethical targets to detox your digital transformation process. Don’t forget the importance of rewards - this is a big change for employees. The more praise and support you can give, the more likely your team is to adopt more sustainable habits.
Tangible changes you can make now
There are a few quick wins you can implement right now to detox your digital transformation process;
- Think light: a lighter, quicker website/app/process is more energy efficient
- Design for mobile-first: consider connectivity issues and data constraints when designing for mobile
- Prioritise efficiency of design: help users find what they need, quickly and easily
- Reuse technology where possible; for example in component libraries
- Start sharing information about digital sustainability across the business
- Digitise your team’s processes in addition to customer-facing assets; Slack, Trello, Jira
- Review your KPIs and add sustainability as key success metrics
Remember that any digital transformation will be more successful with senior leaders’ buy-in. The same applies to reducing your digital carbon footprint - try to gain buy-in from a few key leaders who can influence others to follow suit.
In the meantime, keep sharing, learning and moving - the change will happen!
Need a hand?
If you’re not sure about where to begin, get in touch to find out more about Digital Detox and how we can help.
Whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise organisation, we can support you at every stage of your digital sustainability journey. We’re on our own sustainability journey and continue to evolve and adapt to the changing digital landscape, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Visit our Services section to find out more about what we offer to clients.