When people think about digital transformation, they aren’t usually thinking about businesses in mountain communities like ours, and that’s something we’d like to see change. Digital technologies can disrupt and empower businesses in the high country just like they can in the city. The thing is, most people up here haven’t heard of the term, and that’s a big part of the problem. When we step out for a beer after work on Friday, there’s a safe bet the small business owner sitting on the stool nearby hasn’t heard of digital transformation.

Mountain dwellers tend to be buzzword adverse, and that’s probably why a lot of folks have turned a blind eye to the digital transformation chatter. But we are living in an era where online retailers are disrupting their brick and mortar counterparts and the predictions for stubborn businesses unwilling to adopt new technologies are grim. Former Cisco CEO John Chambers famously startled a roomful of executives when he confidently announced that 40% of today’s companies would be out of business within 10 years, disrupted by agile startups with less to lose and a strong desire to turn every industry on its head. The meteoric rise of Uber and almost complete disruption of the Taxi industry as a result, is a perfect example.

What does this mean for businesses within Colorado’s mountain communities? For many, it means there is a lot of work to do; for others, you may be reaching digital maturity without realizing it. Companies that haven’t created a formal digital strategy are often further down the road than they’d imagined, with bits and pieces of the organization already in transformation. There is a strong chance you are using digital technologies today that have unknowingly set your business on the path to transform. Wherever you are along the journey, you’ve got to create a full-blown digital strategy if you want to move beyond the buzzword.

We realize that a good percentage of small business owners think that digital transformation is only for larger companies, and that the investment is just too costly to be beneficial. The reality is, for small and midsize companies, digital transformation can bring about unimaginable opportunities to grow, become more agile and to turn the tables on their larger competitors. When your processes and information are digitized and tracked, you can create outstanding experiences for customers and gain more control over your business.

Technology is at the core of digital transformation, but the real value comes in how it can be used to transform the ways people work and positively change the culture of an organization. The only way a digital strategy can be implemented with success is if everyone in your company, from the top down, is on board. Fortunately, technology is exciting, and once your team is able to realize the opportunities that can come from going digital, you’ll be well on your way to full-on transformation.

If we have anything to do with it, soon, instead of chatting about sports over post-work beers, the conversation will shift to digital transformation.