Business digitalization? Yes, please, but how do I start?

David Wippel

David Wippel

digitalization

digitalbusiness

As a medium-sized business owner, you're likely to notice where your business processes need improving quite quickly. For example, now that your team is working remotely, you know that stacks of documentation, folders and files are really getting in the way of effectively collaborating on a day-to-day basis. The amount of Excel sheets the team has going is driving you nuts and your software isn't optimized for mobile use either.

Yet as a business owner, you're always on the go, barely get a minute to yourself and just don't know where to start when it comes to digitalizing your business processes?

Start with a project brief

Before you start looking for a software company to work with and executing the details, we've seen time and time again just how important it is to invest in defining the parameters. We recommend starting with a project brief. This document contains all the essential details of your project while giving you more clarity to achieve your digitalization goals.

This should be seen as a living document that is continuously updated and extended — while also serving as a reference point for all stakeholders involved. Below you will find a detailed breakdown of what topics you will be covering and how you can figure them out:

To make your digital transformation more straightforward, we've created a template for your next project brief.

You can go ahead and download it here.

By the way: you can also adapt your project brief to suit your needs and wants; there's no right or wrong way to go about this — just get started.

A step-by-step guide to creating a project brief

Give company overview

This is all about defining what your company does at a glance. If your company is too large to explain, use this section to provide an overview of the department/team that wants to digitalize a specific business aspect.

Either way, it's essential for any partner you may work with to know your work environment.

Example:

TRIGO is a business software development company specializing in custom solutions based in Vienna, Austria. Our tried and tested development process gets our clients to the finish line. TRIGO currently has a team of 12 developers, product owners, software architects and UX experts.

The company was established in 2011 and has had over a decade of experience in customized software development. You can find out more under www.trigodev.com

Create project overview

In the next step, summarize the project and the motivation behind it. This section does not need to entail specific requirements, it is just a rough overview. These will be created and documented in the later planning phase.

Example:

Following the company's rapid growth over the last few years and the constant expansion of the team, our digital processes (based on Excel sheets) have reached their limits. We have to carry out a lot of manual work and run through flawed action steps to handle the primary business process. A custom software solution should not only make day-to-day tasks easier for employees, but also allow the company to scale even further.

Set timeline

Try to define a rough but realistic timeline for your project. If strict deadlines have already been set for specific deliverables, this is where you should list them.

Example:

The software solution should take on the first tasks by mid-2022 and go into full operation by the end of 2022.

Set budget

We all know every business owner also has to consider budgeting, no matter what project you initiate. If you already have a budget at hand for this project, go ahead and list that here.

Example:

We have defined a budget of €125,000 for the development of this custom software and a budget of €30,000 for one year of operation, support and maintenance.

Align with business goals

What business objectives are you trying to achieve or support through this project? It's important to align an investment like this with your key business objectives and communicate them to your software development partner.

This ensures clarity and that you're both steering toward the same goal; decisions are always made with this main objective in mind.

Example:

30 % more turnover a year after implementation, Initiation of a new business venture

Outline non-goals

It is equally important to define what goals are not within the project's scope, which also ensures that, during implementation, we continue to work in the right direction.

Example:

Environmentally harmful consequences due to the project. (We dont want that obviously)

Success factors / KPIs

What factors are relevant for the project to be considered a success? How are these factors measured? If you don't think about these factors, a project like this can quickly become a long-running project and go well over budget.

Example:

Successful start by 11/2021, No budget overruns, 100 % automation of manual process, 25 % increase in employee satisfaction

Challenges and things to consider

Anything that may not have found a spot above goes into this section. What additional challenges (technical, legal, geographical, etc.) are there? And what needs to be taken into consideration?

Example:

We want to integrate our existing CRM, which is technically complex but has a well-documented API.

Go ahead and fill out this example project brief

Having a clear project brief provides clarity for you and any potential partners/ service providers; to know what the project's scope entails. It helps to eliminate misunderstandings right from the start and ensures you speak the same language. Also saving you valuable time and, more importantly, ensuring correct budgeting while guaranteeing a better result.

Alright — that wraps up our step-by-step breakdown of where to start with your process of digitalization. We know it can seem like a lot, which is why we also offer services to map out your processes and nail your project brief.

You can find out more about that here.

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