Let’s face it, the whole world is going digital. Everything from shopping to TV, food ordering, ride-hailing, and even match-making is online. And now, it is even more so with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Statistics are showing just how much this digital trend is growing. 89% of all companies have already adopted a digital strategy, or are planning to, with 55% of all start-ups existing mainly in the digital realm. It is also interesting to see that of all the companies who have gone through a digital transformation, 60% have actually created entirely new business models.
We took a look at the key ways of kicking off your digital transformation and what you should be concentrating on to ensure that it is a success.
What is Digital Transformation?
To start off, we are going to look at what digital transformation is. There are several definitions, but the general consensus is that it is the integration of digital technology into all aspects of the business. This means that there needs to be a massive culture shift in the organization to allow for the transformation to take place.
Digital transformation is a vital process in any organization. Not only does it do away with some of the older, more outdated methods and tools, but it can start saving the company a lot of time and money in the long run.
Look at application modernization, for example. This transformation can not only set you ahead of your competitors, but the ROI of the change is evident very early after the change. We won’t go into too much detail on this element, but Prolifics’s guide to Application Modernization unpacks this aspect completely if you would like to read more.
Let’s delve into the main areas of digital transformation and where you can focus your efforts to kick off the transformation.
Identify Your Business Goals and Align Them to the Transformation
Take a step back for deep introspection of your business first. What are the most outdated and expensive systems? Which area of the organization is very resource-heavy? In many cases, spending a bit of money upgrading these systems will end up being more cost-effective in the future and streamline them.
You will also need to consider your goals for the next five and ten years for the organization. What expansion are you hoping to achieve in the period? What is your workforce going to look like? How will you be realigning to your customers’ ever-changing needs?
Create a digital transformation roadmap, pinpointing the transformation stages, and identifying the leaders of the process. In most cases, the CIO and Chief Digital Officers are the responsible parties for the full transformation.
Consider Your Workforce
It is important to know that a digital transformation will highly impact your workforce, and because of this, there is a lot of fear around it. In fact, research shows that 49% of employees actually express a fear of digital transformation.
If you look at the history of digital transformation, and what has taken place in other organizations, you will understand why. In many cases, large portions of the workforce were made redundant by technology, while others were replaced by more specialized workers who could work with the technology.
Take your time to assess how to help your current staff transform with the organization. Communication is also crucial during the full transition, keep these channels open, and keep your teams updated at all times. If necessary, bring in teams to assist with the transformation and to train up employees. Remember, the swifter this change, the better.
Identify The Right Technology and Solutions
It is incredibly important to pick your partners correctly. You will most likely be investing a substantial amount of money in the transformation, and creating an entirely new culture, which will affect customers and staff alike. This is why it is vital to make sure that you do your research thoroughly first.
Spend time with each vendor, identifying and aligning their values to yours. Take time to test the solutions to ascertain whether they are a good fit for your company. If your workforce is working with the new technology, it could be worth your while to have them testing the solutions with you and providing feedback.
Depending on the organization’s needs, it could be worth your while to create a checklist for the partner.
- Do they provide continuous support and consultant presence?
- How comprehensive are their educational materials and manuals?
- What are their delivery capabilities?
- Are they willing to share the best practices of other clients?
During the transformation, you will find support absolutely necessary.
Prepare The Company for Transformation
As part of your roadmap previously mentioned, you will need a transparent plan of how the transformation will take place to communicate to staff, shareholders, management, and partners.
Make the following very clear:
– How long will each transition take?
– Which department or division of the company will be impacted first?
– Will work be disrupted for the impacted employees?
Suppose you are redesigning products and customer experience. In that case, you will need to communicate with your customers about the changes and provide them with support and guidance to use the new systems.
If you are moving your operations to the cloud, for example, you might have to do it in stages and pause operations while you make the transition. This could vastly impact your customers, so having a backup plan in place is necessary.
The same goes for updating your factories and introducing IoT, machine learning, or 3D printing. Halting operations will impact the entire supply chain, so having those plans in place is vital.
The key elements of digital transformation are open communication and testing. All aspects of the business will be affected in one way, or another and transparency will be the best way to keep everyone on board.
You will also need to know that there will be a long period of continuous tests after you have implemented the system. Things are not guaranteed to run totally smoothly at all times, and the more transparent you are about that, the more buy-in you will have from customers, staff, and stakeholders alike.