Digital enablement is an 'ongoing process', introducing and working with new digital systems and processes

As digital transformation sweeps inexorably through the business world, is there ever a time when you can feel like “it’s over” or “we’re done on this”? Well, likely not. For some the process of overhauling a more traditional, ‘analog’ organisation may feel like it’s done – all the new systems and processes in place and all appear to be working satisfactorily, there’s an ongoing process. It’s called ‘Digital Enablement’.

This process is to ensure new services, such as endpoint services and applications are introduced  to continue on the core transformation that has taken place. The process of enabling such services, applications and increasing value through the chain, is what digital enablement is about.

For many, especially smaller businesses, transforming their businesses to meet the needs of a digital world was brought into sharp focus by the Government’s Making Tax Digital initiative. The MTD initiative is designed to make reporting your tax, whether self-employed, a landlord or a limited company, easier and to reduce mistakes that cost the Exchequer billions of pounds each year.

MTD requires individuals and companies to maintain digital transaction records and to report their tax and VAT through a digital portal. The use of appropriate accounting software was an immediate outcome, with accountants and bookkeepers turning to or offering their clients the use of cloud based accounting software like Xero, Sage and FreeAgent.

Naturally, the process goes much further and includes other digital transformation software depending on the nature of your business. A simple example is digitally recording receipts instead of keeping paper copies.

While much of this activity has been internally focused on systems and processes, externally, customers are demanding a fully digital seamless experience when interacting with a business, most notably those with eCommerce solutions and online customer support.

So, before we discuss digital enablement, we must first consider what your business is already doing to transform itself inline with what is an almost fully digital world – the process of Digital Transformation.

Doing digital vs being digital

This differentiation is really at the heart of digital transformation. For years businesses have ‘done digital’, meaning they have selectively adopted elements of digital solutions across an enterprise. In early days, this may have been referred to as ‘automation’. Such examples may include the decentralisation of a company’s computer resources, where employees no longer need to be in the office to connect to a centralised database , accounting system or other resource. Sales tools and customer relationship management systems (CRM), website virtual help assistants were early examples of this.

digital enablement reduces paperworkBeing digital is a reflection on a business that is transformed digitally, end to end. Doing digital was an action, being digital is, crucially, a mindset. Within a digitally transforming company, the process of bringing online digital devices, systems and processes is the act of ‘Digital Enablement’. In short, you’re enabling new digital services.

Another term many people are now increasingly becoming aware of that demonstrates the growth of ‘being digital’, is the “Internet of Things’. Essentially, the ‘things’ referred to are intelligent devices at consumer or business end-points. For instance:

  • Connected appliance such as a refrigerator that can reorder goods that have expired or run out
  • Printers that can reorder cartridges as the run low
  • Smart homes security systems
  • End to end product tracking systems using intelligent tags
  • Delivery tracking

What is digital enablement?

As we have seen, digital enablement is the process of bringing online or the commissioning of digital services within a digitally transforming organisation.

Digital enablement, of course, affects a whole company – from sales, finance, HR through to research & development and down to production and distribution.

As an accounting and tax advice firm though, TaxAgility is focused on the benefits digital transformation and enablement bring to your finance function.

Probably one of the most recognisable examples of digital enablement is a cloud accounting application, such as Xero or FreeAgent. These provide access, visibility and reporting to your whole financial process – from your bank accounts to reporting corporation tax and VAT to HMRC.

Another example of digital enablement in a digitally transformed company would be the creation and implementation of a mobile app. As an end point delivering a customer service, it has to be fully integrated, end-to-end, with business systems and operations. Importantly, those involved with it need to be fully trained to support it and those customers that use it.

An example commonly felt from a customer perspective, is the growing ‘paperless’ transaction process, such as those being adopted by the banks in regard to statements and even insurance companies no longer issuing reams of paperwork in support of an insurance policy.

Is digital enablement important to my business?

digital enablement data at your finger tipsIt is more than important, it is critical. Without a minimum level of digital services, you won’t be able to fulfil the Government’s requirements for MTD. As reporting requirements are likely to increase in the coming years, being fully digitally transformed – i.e. ready to introduce new digital services and administration processes, your business simply won’t survive.

The other reason it is critical is because your customers and suppliers are doing it and expect it.

As you adopt the digital mindset and become familiar with advancements in financial technology that relate to your business, you’ll likely find new benefits that will help you become more efficient and competitive. So, it’s in your own interest to adopt a digital mindset as soon as possible.

How do I digitally enable my business

Digital enablement is more than just adopting the odd application or cloud based service. It starts with a mind set and buy-in within your company.

If yours is a small company where there are just a few employees, it’s much easier to make sure everybody understands and is brought into what you are doing. For larger companies though, those with different departments even, communication is critical.

Getting buy-in

For most companies, the first step is to get everyone bought into what is being done and why. This is important because you want to be able to explain to staff why it’s important to not just the business, but also to their jobs. It’s much more likely that as management, you can maintain the competitiveness, and efficiency of the business if your processes are aligned with your customers, suppliers and with your industry as a whole. Longer term, this means you’ll not only be better placed to protect jobs, but also to attract high quality talent.

By taking your time to explain what your objectives, the processes involved and the benefits they will bring, you’ll more likely motivate people and ensure they participate at the level you need them too.

Onboarding – Ensuring a well order introduction of digital services

New services, new processes, new technology, can be a bit daunting for some. It’s critical to ensure those affected are suitably introduced to the changes happening and the digital processes and technologies involved. Adequate training needs to be given. Processes need to be tested.

digital enablement data everywhere nowSimply introducing the changes and technology isn’t likely to work. Digital transformation and enablement is all about adoption of new technology and making processes within a company and its internal and external interfaces more efficient. This means that existing organisational structures may simply not be up to the job.

Organisation change usually strikes fear into the heart of staff, one reason technological change can be resisted – it’s the fear of replacement or redundancy. For the management team, it’s easier to look at digital transformation and enablement as a financial process, rather than a human resources one. However, staff rarely see things the same way. This is why during the buy-in process it’s crucial to explain what is happening, and while it may (or may not) affect jobs now, it certainly will make it easier for the company to protect jobs in the future.

That said, some organisation and business structure changes may be necessary and unavoidable, so make sure you have all your ducks in a row before releasing the changes to the wild. This is why onboarding is so crucial, as it will help align your organisation around the new processes and help motivate those affected in achieving your goals.


Don’t stop at the onboarding process. Technology and competition is evolving at an ever increasing rate. As anyone who uses software regularly knows, there are always updates, enhancements and entirely new features being introduced. It’s important to keep on top of how your enablement program is continuing, the benefits it is bringing. As new services are introduced, ensuring your staff and those responsible for them are fully engaged and on-top of the situation. One way to do this is to make sure you have ‘technology champions’ within your ranks – those who become ambassadors for change through enablement. Regular training programs and update sessions are essential too, perhaps led by the same ‘champions’.

In short, talk to your staff and those responsible for the programs of enablement rolling out, make sure everyone who needs to know, knows.

How can Tax Agility assist you with your digital enablement programs?

As we mentioned earlier, our interest and focus in assisting clients is through the digital enablement of their finance function. As such we are constantly scanning for financial technologies that can help clients grow their business, effortlessly and efficiently. Our clients want to spend their time growing their business, becoming more competitive, and improving their profitability, not spending time locked into time consuming finance administration, payroll, taxation issues and HMRC returns.

By working with Tax Agility we will make you aware of new digital services and explain the benefits they can bring to your company. We’ll also help you put them in place and train you.

Call us on 020 8108 0090 or complete our enquiry form and we’ll call you back.