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What is a digital transformation strategy?

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Last editedMar 20232 min read

The world has been moving in a more digital direction since the start of the century, and with the pandemic hastening the adoption of remote work and ecommerce, trends are going to be moving even more rapidly in that direction in the coming years. Indeed, whereas cash was used for 69% of all Australian transactions in 2007, it accounted for just 27% in 2019. And that was pre-pandemic.

For more traditional businesses that have yet to fully embrace digital technology, this could be an issue. Thankfully, it’s never been easier to develop a short- and long-term digital transformation strategy to improve efficiency, maximise revenue and reduce operational costs. The main barrier standing in the way of this necessary transformation for many businesses is that they don’t truly understand what digital transformation means.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is a blanket term that can mean many things to many people. The common misconception is that it means putting technology first and then working backwards, but that’s not the case. True digital transformation is about examining your business’s needs and exploring ways to implement digital in an organic way.

Digital transformation isn’t a destination: it’s a journey. As technology continues to evolve, the convergence of the physical and the digital will hasten and help businesses to scale and transform faster and with maximum efficiency.

It’s not a one-off project and it’s not a one-size-fits-all initiative: it’s an ongoing strategy that aims to build solid foundations for the future of your business. A company’s digital transformation strategies should be highly coordinated and multifaceted in a way that leads to impactful and measurable digital efforts. But what does that look like on a more granular level?

Digital transformation strategy examples

A solid digital transformation strategy acknowledges a business goal and figures out how technology can be used to move the needle on that goal. Let’s explore a few examples.


Retail businesses across the world are struggling to keep up with the convenience and power of Amazon, and the best way to get ahead of them is to beat them at their own game. Digital transformation for retail could involve building a bespoke app for your business, integrating technologies such as voice ordering and creating a more cohesive search function. Using a reliable payment gateway to process payments is also highly recommended.


Manufacturing companies are using digital technology to improve efficiency. Predictive analytics, for example, can be used to reduce supply chain costs and maintenance. Digital transformation is also taking hold in product assembly, with more businesses than ever before using 3D printing to speed up and streamline the manufacturing process.


You are unlikely to find a modern bank that doesn’t have its own bespoke banking app, and that should be the bare minimum for keeping up with the competition. In finance, digital transformation is about cultivating a better customer experience through innovation. For example, using chatbots to automate customer service and offer 24/7 affordable support. Many banks are even starting to move into the metaverse now as part of their digital transformation strategies, though it’s still early days on that front.

Financial transformation

Of course, at the very least businesses can and should be using the latest technologies to improve the security and efficiency of customer payment through a financial transformation strategy. The prevalence of fintech ‘challenger’ banks in recent years and the introduction of open banking have normalised the idea of digital payment through digital wallet platforms like Apple Pay and payment gateways like PayPal.

Platforms like GoCardless make it even easier for businesses to collect one-off and recurring payments directly from customer bank accounts. For example, businesses can easily set up a GoCardless account linked to PayTo, the new, digital way for merchants and businesses to initiate real-time bank payments from customer bank accounts.

PayTo and GoCardless work together to reduce fees on direct debit and credit card transactions with instant payment and automated processes with more control for you and your customers. PayTo also offers instant customer verification and seamless integration with accounting software platforms like Xero.

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Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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