Industry 4.0 is a big word these days (and it’s even bigger if you are in a community that has the relevant infrastructure) and that’s mainly because the 4th industrial revolution is here to make a permanent change in our business and personal lives.

In fact, Digitisation is an even bigger word.

Nonetheless, some businesses are struggling to ride this digital “wave”. While the reasons can be many, I hope today’s article can help some of you shade some light if you are already moving towards the digital direction. More than that, I hope some of you reading this now can take advantage of the tips here today and make a change in your business immediately.

As an ERP consultant and an ex-digital marketer, here are some of the lessons (and tips) that I hope can benefit you and your digital strategy.

#1 Make it a Business Goal (as opposed to only an IT Goal)

When digitising your business, some companies try to do it on an ad-hoc basis, thinking that this is really something that the tech department can handle. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen it again and again that this rarely goes down well.


Digitisation of the business is not just an implement of a system or software. In fact, the process actually entails a series of business process re-engineering at varying levels of the business.

When you digitise your business, you need to have the macro and micro view of the business so that you know what’s the next decision to take when reshaping the processes.

Hence, you need to set business goals and business KPIs long before the implementation even begins.

#2 Get the Leaders Involve – from Start to Finish

Well, if you agree to the point above, then you will have no problem agreeing my next point. And that is, if digitising the business is an all rounded business activity, then it goes without saying that the head of the business MUST be involved.

And, just to be clear, I talking the about the business owners, head of departments, directors and all the active bosses should be there.

Imagine this, if you want to digitally transform your business and this transformation is going to reengineer how your business operates, do you think your team will be excited if the head of the business is rarely present?

It’s like, “if the boss doesn’t care, why should I?”

Get what I mean?

And that’s the same for any type transformation. If the leader is not excited, don’t expect your subordinates to be.

#3 Start Upscaling Early

These days, there are many people speculating that the jobs will be lost or reduced once you digitise your business. While there might be some truth in it, it is not always the case.

In fact, as proven in past industrial revolutions (read more), more jobs are created. Industry 4.0 is no exception.

Have a think, when digitising your business, all you are really doing is to reallocate your resources (your people) to work on more “value added” work.


For example, instead of working on data entry, the team can focus on improving the business presentation.

And that’s really it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s true that the short term goal of digitising your business is to help free up some time from your repetitive tasks. However, once you have more time, you ultimately want to focus on developing newer, better or complementary products. And you’ll need the same human resources to work on that.

The term that you should be focusing on is Upscaling.

(According to, Upscalling means – to improve the quality, value, or rating of:)

Here’s the crazy thing that many don’t realise, once you focus on upscaling (and you start it early), you will suddenly realise that, with the same amount of manpower, you can be more productive, more efficient and, ultimately, more profitable.

So why not?

#4 Create Intangible Value with Digital Tools

There are certain parts of your business where they are process oriented and there are other parts that are people oriented.

Digitisation works really well in process oriented environment and less well in people oriented environment.

For example, in a customer banking environment, the customer service personnel can process information using a tablet (E.g. an iPad) in the coffee area – as opposed to doing it the office desk. At a click of a button, the required documents are printed from a printer located at the corner of the room and the customer can sign them on the spot.

Suddenly, the customer can now enjoy a nicer environment just because the bank has gone digital.

#5 Start with Existing Processes

Digitising your business can be quite daunting for some of us, and that’s because many do not know what to expect.

Based on my working experience with my clients, the best thing to do is to start with existing processes. In fact, the business is doing exactly the same thing but processing it from a system (as opposed to pen/paper or excel).

Typically, my advice to clients is to start with the documents that you would already need. For example, go with the most basic items:

  • Customer Invoice
  • Purchase Order
  • Delivery Order
  • Payment Voucher/Receipt

Essentially, this would indirectly already help you systemise your basic accounting and inventory aspect of your business.


#6 Prepare Resources to Clean Up Your Data

The one thing that I learnt about digitising your business is that, in the digital environment, you need details.

What do I mean?

Well, think about it, let’s say you have a new inventory software that helps manage your goods, you’re excited about it and you get straight into setting it up hoping that you can sort it out in one day.

One day has passed and you realised you need more information about the various types of goods that you own.

Another day passes by and you are still digging up information. Now, you are forced to collect more information about your goods and, more often than not, you have to re-adjust the cost or the quantity in your warehouse.

And that’s the power of digitisation. Because, essentially, you are forced to clean up your business data. Once the set up is completed, you’ll realise that, all of sudden, you have much more information about your goods at your finger tip.

Isn’t that amazing?

#7 Keep the Team Motivated

With the combination of upscaling and data clean up, sometimes, it can feel like there’s a lot of work. More so if the leaders are not 100{528a46749d196be7df21540ff140c83acfb7bfa395f69b6580b6b804895671bc} involved.

Whether or not the above is true, I think it’s is absolutely crucial to keep the team motivated and to keep their spirits high.

The main reason for that is that you need the team as much as they need the benefits of a digital solution. You see, more often than not, the staffs do not understand the long term benefits of digitising a business. Hence, if they cannot see (or understand) the end goal, the transformation process can get dragged unnecessarily.

On the other than, imagine that you have a team of people who are more enthusiastic than the owner, do you not thing that the digitisation of the business can proceed faster than planned?


If you understand the 7 points above, then you would also realise that they flow from #1 till #7.

In fact, having all 7 points implemented should be easy.

This is true especially in a technological driven market. Everyone knows there are benefits to digitisation and just need to remember to get the leaders (#2) to make this a company wide goal (#1) and they should genuinely project the benefits of a digital business (#4).

Combined with the relevant training (#3), this will indirect motivate the team (#7). Once they are ready, you start with simple processes (#5) before you clean up the real data (#6).