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Digital tools

Updated: July 11, 2024

What are digital tools?

Digital tools are software and online resources that help people do many tasks easily. They include apps like word processors and spreadsheets, as well as software for graphic design, data analysis, and project management.

These tools help people be more productive, work together, and communicate better. Examples are cloud storage services that let you store and share files securely and video conferencing apps for remote meetings.

For creative jobs, tools like photo editing software and digital drawing tablets help create high-quality content.

Overall, digital tools are essential in today’s world. They make tasks easier, encourage new ideas, and connect people everywhere.

What’s more, they’re the norm nowadays. Foundry reveals that 89% of all companies have adopted, or plan to adopt, a digital-first strategy.

Why are digital tools important?

Digital tools are important because they make work faster and easier. In business, they improve how companies operate and make decisions.

These tools help businesses manage tasks, track progress, and organize information. For example, project management software helps teams plan and complete projects on time. Digital tools also allow better communication through email, chat apps, and video calls, making teamwork more effective.

Digital tools also aid in decision-making. Data analysis software helps businesses understand trends and make informed choices. By analyzing data, companies can see what works well and what needs improvement.

Additionally, digital tools support customer service. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems help businesses keep track of customer interactions and improve their experience.

Overall, digital tools enhance efficiency, improve decision-making, and help businesses stay competitive in a fast-changing world. That’s why spending on global digital transformation is estimated to reach $3.4 trillion by 2026.

What are the objectives of digital tools?

When companies understand the goals of a digital tools project, they can make sure it isn’t a wasted effort.

Leaders should tie the project goals to specific business objectives to stay focused. Including operational goals and strategic aims can further ensure the project’s success.

Here is an overview of the goals behind digital tools projects:

Business objectives

  • Increase productivity: Digital tools enable faster task completion and reduce the likelihood of mistakes, boosting overall productivity.
  • Improve customer experience: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and similar tools help businesses better understand and serve their customers, enhancing satisfaction.
  • Save costs: By making work processes more efficient, digital tools can help lower operational costs significantly.
  • Gain a competitive edge: Advanced digital tools can differentiate a business from competitors, providing a significant competitive advantage.

Operational goals

  • Streamline processes: Automating tasks through digital tools makes operations quicker and easier, streamlining workflows.
  • Manage data better: Digital tools help store, manage, and analyze large volumes of data, facilitating better decision-making.
  • Enhance collaboration: Communication and project management tools enable teams to collaborate effectively, even when working remotely.
  • Real-time monitoring: Digital tools provide up-to-date data, allowing businesses to track performance and address issues promptly.

Strategic aims

  • Scale operations: Digital tools support growing workloads and introducing new capabilities without incurring high costs.
  • Boost innovation and agility: Digital tools enable businesses to adapt quickly and experiment with new ideas, fostering innovation.
  • Expand market reach: Marketing and e-commerce tools allow businesses to reach a broader customer base, enhancing market penetration.
  • Make data-driven decisions: Analytics tools provide valuable insights, aiding in better planning, forecasting, and strategic decision-making.

Who’s involved in digital tools?

Different groups of people need to be involved in including digital tools in the workplace. Some may be internal, such as senior management or IT professionals.

There will also be external people who may play a role, such as vendors and consultants. They will help ensure digital tools are being rolled out correctly.

Let’s look more closely at the key people and stakeholders involved in such projects:

Internal stakeholders

  • Executives and senior management: Set the vision and strategy for digital tools, allocating budget and resources.
  • IT department: Install and maintain digital tools, providing technical support.
  • Department heads and managers: Integrate digital tools in their departments and ensure team members are trained. 
  • Employees: Use digital tools for daily tasks and give feedback on performance.

External stakeholders

  • Vendors and suppliers: Provide digital tools and services, offering technical support and updates. 
  • Consultants and trainers: Advise on best practices for digital tools and train employees.
  • Investors and shareholders: Monitor company progress with digital tools and ensure tool investments are worthwhile.

What is required for success with digital tools?

Rolling out digital tools without a clear strategy is a recipe for disaster. Many factors must be considered to make the project a success.

For example, workers must be trained in digital tools and persuaded that using them is a good idea, which requires effective change management.

Below is an overview of the general requirements needed for success.

Effective training and support

Determine the specific training needs for employees to use digital tools effectively. Develop comprehensive training programs that ensure everyone can utilize these tools proficiently. Provide ongoing support to help employees resolve issues with digital tools.

Strong leadership and vision

Establish clear goals for using digital tools that align with the organization’s objectives. Ensure sufficient resources, including budget, time, and personnel, to implement digital tools. Continuously monitor the progress of digital tool usage and adjust plans as necessary.

Seamless integration and collaboration

Select digital tools that are compatible with the organization’s existing systems. Promote a collaborative environment where employees use digital communication and information-sharing tools. Regularly assess the usage and effectiveness of digital tools, making adjustments as needed to ensure their benefits.

Why do projects involving digital tools fail?

It can be easy for digital tools to be rolled out poorly. If there is not enough training, they will become a wasted resource. Similarly, workers may resist the change and avoid using the tools.

Take note of the reasons why digital tools projects fail to avoid them:

Lack of user-centered design and usability testing

One significant reason projects involving digital tools fail is the lack of user-centered design and usability testing. When organizations fail to prioritize the user experience and usability of digital tools, they can create tools that are difficult to navigate, inefficient to use, or do not meet the specific needs of end-users. 

Insufficient change management and communication

Effective change management and communication are critical for successful adoption of digital tools. When organizations do not adequately communicate the benefits of digital tools or involve employees in the change process, they may face resistance and skepticism. Poor change management practices result in low morale, lack of buy-in from stakeholders, and ultimately, failure to integrate digital tools into everyday workflows. 

Lack of data governance and security measures

Digital tools often involve the handling and processing of sensitive data. Projects fail when organizations neglect to establish robust data governance frameworks and implement adequate security measures. Without proper data governance, there is a risk of data breaches, compliance issues, and loss of customer trust.

Digital tools use cases

Companies across the globe use digital tools, but it can be difficult to imagine them without some examples.

Read on to discover how digital tools help many kinds of businesses achieve their goals, whether in sales or technology.

Remote collaboration

Scenario

A team of software developers from different places works on a project.

Method

They use digital tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams to talk instantly. They also use software like Jira or Trello to track tasks.

Outcome

Even though they’re far apart, they can work well together, finish tasks on time, and deliver the project successfully.

Customer relationship management

Scenario

A sales team in a tech company wants to manage relationships with clients better.

Method

They use CRM software like Salesforce or HubSpot to track customer interactions and contact details. They also send personalized emails using email marketing tools.

Outcome

Using these tools, the sales team can better understand customer needs, offer better solutions, and make customers happier.

Inventory management

Scenario

A retail store wants to keep track of its products better.

Method

They use an inventory system that watches how much is sold and predicts what they need to order. They scan barcodes and connect with the checkout system.

Outcome

With this system, the store can order enough products to avoid running out and satisfy customers.

People also asked

What are some examples of digital tools?

Digital tools encompass various software applications and platforms that streamline multiple tasks and activities. Here are some examples across different categories:

  1. Communication tools: Examples include email clients (e.g., Gmail, Outlook), instant messaging apps (e.g., Slack, Microsoft Teams), and video conferencing software (e.g., Zoom, Google Meet).
  2. Productivity tools: These include word processors (e.g., Microsoft Word, Google Docs), spreadsheets (e.g., Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets), presentation software (e.g., Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides), and project management tools (e.g., Trello, Asana).
  3. Collaboration tools: Examples include file-sharing platforms (e.g., Dropbox, Google Drive), collaborative editing tools (e.g., Microsoft SharePoint, Notion), and virtual whiteboards (e.g., Miro, Jamboard).
  4. Social media platforms: These tools enable networking, content sharing, and engagement, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
  5. Design tools: Graphic design software (e.g., Adobe Photoshop, Canva), video editing tools (e.g., Adobe Premiere Pro, iMovie), and website development platforms (e.g., WordPress, Wix).
  6. Data analytics tools: These include tools for data visualization (e.g., Tableau, Power BI), statistical analysis (e.g., R, SPSS), and business intelligence (e.g., Google Analytics, Mixpanel).
  7. Development tools: Software development environments (e.g., Visual Studio Code, IntelliJ IDEA), version control systems (e.g., Git, GitHub), and integrated development environments (IDEs) for coding (e.g., Eclipse, PyCharm).

What are the categories of digital tools?

Digital tools can be categorized into several broad categories based on their functions and applications:

  • Communication and collaboration tools: Facilitate communication, teamwork, and information sharing among individuals or teams.
  • Productivity tools: Assist in completing tasks efficiently, managing time, and organizing work.
  • Content creation and design tools: Enable creation and editing of digital content, including text, graphics, videos, and websites.
  • Data management and analytics tools: Aid in collecting, organizing, analyzing, and visualizing data to derive insights and make informed decisions.
  • Development and programming tools: Support software development processes, including coding, debugging, testing, and version control.
  • Learning and educational Tools: Designed to facilitate learning and skill development through digital platforms, courses, and resources.
  • Social media and networking platforms: Enable social interaction, content sharing, and networking among individuals and communities.
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