September 16, 2022

7 min

5 Ways Digital Transformation Can Save You Time and Money

CDW suggests that budget-conscious businesses consider investing in digital transformation. With the right technology in place, employers can not only trim their budgets, but create workplaces that are more likely to attract – and retain – talent.

CDW Expert

What's Inside
Overlooking from behind a glass wall into a kitchen area where people are sitting and having a discussion.

With three consecutive months of job losses indicating a possible recession on Canada’s horizon, many enterprises are taking notice, and are considering measures to reduce budgets, including trimming their workforces.

While layoffs can be a temporary solution to budget challenges, they’re a short-sighted one – replacing lost employees when business picks up again tends to be costly. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average cost of hiring a new employee is $4,683 USD on top of salary and benefits, and $28,329 for an executive.

Nor is the demand for new talent likely to abate anytime soon – according to Statistics Canada, Canadian employers have been looking to fill more than 1 million positions for three consecutive months and counting.

“I can tell you, as a hiring manager, that I'm always actively looking on LinkedIn for new people, and many of the partners I work with are competing with me to hire them,” Karim Remu, Solutions Manager with CDW Canada, says. “We want the same engineers they want. They're looking to grow and we’re looking to grow. The headlines are catchy, but the tech sector is still booming, especially in Canada.”

That’s why CDW would like to humbly suggest that budget-conscious businesses consider investing in digital transformation instead. With the right technology in place, employers can not only trim their budgets, but create workplaces that are more likely to attract – and retain – talent.

Here are five ways digital transformation projects can save businesses time and money.

1. Digital transformation facilitates collaboration

In the opinion of Wael Abdelmagied, a CDW Canada Business Development Manager who specializes in Microsoft Office 365, one of the most profound changes in workplace collaboration was the launch of Microsoft Teams.

“Before Teams we used Skype for Business, which was positioned for internal chat and communication and sometimes a calling system,” Abdelmagied says. “But Teams is a collaboration tool – you can build huge projects on it, everything from documents to emails to presentations to Excel spreadsheets.”

Remu also praises Teams’ collaborative features, noting that with everything stored on the cloud multiple team members can edit documents at once, providing instant feedback.

“I compile a lot of statistics and will often need help from my coworkers when reviewing them,” Remu says. “With Teams I can create a document, share it with my colleagues, ping them for input and see their updates in real time.”

2. Digital transformation can actually save money

One of a company’s greatest expenses is often infrastructure. Abdelmagied remembers clients purchasing on-premises servers with 100 GB of storage for email, which they had to spend time archiving when those servers became full.

Today, email storage is a standard cloud-based software as a service (SaaS), with Microsoft 365 customers paying only for the software and data they need – and it extends well beyond email.

“If you are a big enterprise and looking for the crème de la crème of all available software, it will be more expensive for sure,” Abdelmagied says. “But if you’re a small business you don’t need all of the security, compliance and storage features. You can get a basic plan with a small mailbox that’s $5 per employee and that should suffice.”

Another advantage, Remu notes, is that cloud services enable businesses to expand their capabilities as they grow.

“In the past, many clients would overprovision their on-premises infrastructure, and until that overprovision was used it would just be sitting there, a depreciating, under-utilized capital asset,” Remu says. “But now we can build all of that infrastructure in the cloud. And as their footprint grows, it becomes easier and more affordable to scale, because they’re basically just paying for what they’re consuming.”

3. Digital transformation helps employees save time

Another advantage of today’s digital tools is that many of them incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), automating time-consuming tasks and freeing employees to concentrate on more creative work.

Here, too, Abdelmagied cites the benefits of Microsoft Teams, which is built on an AI-powered chatbot that employees can use to easily connect with anyone in their organization based on their name, position or area of expertise. It also incorporates natural language processing that can be used to transcribe meetings (a feature that made writing this story much, much easier than it might have been otherwise).

Microsoft 365 also features MyAnalytics, an ML-powered service that automatically scans calendars, emails and tasks, sending employees updates to help them plan their workday, whether it’s by preparing for meetings, setting aside time to concentrate on specific tasks or reminding them of requests that may need to be filled.

The technology’s best value, Abdelmagied says, is for managers, who can use MyAnalytics to extract insights about their team’s performance.

“If you’re managing one or two dozen people it can be hard to know how everyone did in the last week or even the last month,” he says. “But MyAnalytics can give you insights into how your team is doing, what's missing, what needs more focus and resources.”

4. The cybersecurity benefits of digital transformation

With more work than ever conducted digitally, cybersecurity is an issue whether your organization has implemented a formal digital transformation strategy or not. According to Palo Alto Networks, the average Canadian organization that fell victim to ransomware paid more than $450,000 Canadian last year. The right security measures can not only provide peace of mind, but savings in the long run.

Fortunately, as Remu points out, another benefit of the cloud in addition to its cost savings is the underlying security built into SaaS platforms, many of which require employees to use multifactor authentication tools such as Microsoft Identity to sign into their devices and incorporate software such as Microsoft Defender for Office 365 to protect the information stored on them.

“A company like Microsoft that is providing all of these capabilities to employees wants them to feel secure no matter what environment they’re in,” Remu says. “A company’s data is its most important asset next to its employees. They need to know that in addition to having the flexibility to work from anywhere, their data remains safe.”

5. CDW’s expert advice can help your digital transformation projects run smoothly

Perhaps most importantly, SaaS is, first and foremost, a service, often delivered by experts such as CDW that have experience supporting thousands of companies, and customer success teams that can explain how to take every advantage of a given licence.

“In our experience, when customers buy these licences on their own, they gain access to all sorts of productivity tools and features which could help them make the most of their purchase that they’re just ignoring,” Remu says. “For example, we know all of Microsoft’s products and how to tailor their solutions for anyone from a small business to a big corporation. Our breadth of knowledge is unmatched because we are very strong partners with hundreds of companies.”

Best of all, he notes, there’s no additional cost associated with CDW’s expertise – once a client has incorporated the software of their choice into their workflow, our customer success teams are more than happy to demonstrate how they can take advantage of every feature available, saving the customer – and their workers – time and money.