We live in a time when digital transformation is dramatically reshaping many different industries. For this reason, digital touchpoints are becoming increasingly important when it comes to the success of businesses of any size. However, making this new reality happen is not an easy task.
What makes a digital transformation a challenge?
Digital Transformation (DT or DX) is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology.
Many surveys confirm that digital transformations rarely achieve success. Basically, most digital technologies provide you with possibilities only – either for efficiency gains or customer service. Or both.
When you have that vast possibility in front of you – what you need next is the right mindset. Unfortunately, people often lack the right attitude to change and better the current organizational practices. If they are flawed, a digital transformation will only magnify those flaws.
The latest McKinsey Global Survey on the topic confirms that the rate of a digital transformation success is alarmingly low – 8 in 10 respondents said their organizations have begun digital transformations in recent years, but just 14 percent say their efforts have made and sustained performance improvements.
The journey towards a digital transformation
Digital transformation is much more than just implementing new technologies, such as software, for example. What it truly involves is a strong cultural shift towards new business practices and adopting new technologies. These transition to business models must be more agile, customer-centric, and data-driven.
When and if you fulfill these requirements, your DT journey is about to start.
And for this, just like for any other journey, you must have a clear transformation story mapped out! This is the first, yet – the most important tip you can get.
The next thing to do is to make your employees, stakeholders and each member of the leadership team understand all the changes. They’ll need to know why the changes are being made and how they’ll be implemented.
Because, if not – your organization is most definitely going to lack the momentum it needs to keep up.
What can you do to make the transition go smoothly?
Well, there are few steps you can take to the other end of DT as successfully as possible. Here are some:
- Take stock of what you already have
If you want a clean cut with the old ways, you will need to regroup first. Take stock of all of the technology, platforms, and software that your organization is currently using. Note down all the technology utilized for project or portfolio management, internal communication, marketing, reporting…
This is how you identify and take action on any possible tech gaps you might have. Also, now is a good time to speak to your employees. Listen to their conclusions and ideas on how to streamline processes using technology or what are the current inefficiencies.
- Be (reasonably) bold when setting the DT scope
There is a trend now of making digital strategies rather bold in magnitude and scope, and for good reason.
Most of the companies use new digital technologies at scale to capture the full benefits from their technology investments. The successful digital and analytics transformations are about 1.5 times more likely than others to be enterprise-wide in scale.
- Keep leading roles crystal clear
As things begin to take shape, you must make leadership and accountability crystal clear. This is true for any successful transformation, even more so with DT.
Make sure you always have the answer to the question:
Who owns the digital transformation?
While all leaders, from the CEO down to the leaders of specific departments, should engage in the efforts of DT, having one person leading it brings in more accountability when it comes to the end result.
They are the ones who need to control and communicate the transformations’ progress regularly. Also, further determining who is responsible for which portion of the transformation is crucial for the entire process to go smoothly.
- Regularly evaluate the strategy
As DT is an ongoing process. Due to the technology’s fast pace, its strategy needs to be adaptable and flexible.
How can this be managed?
Well, first, you need to establish consistent and frequent evaluations. This is the only way to determine where your transition is at the moment, if you are where you’re supposed to be, and if it’s possible to quickly respond to changes.
- Communicate openly
We hope we don’t have to explain just how important communication is.
During the entire process, ensure that the benefits of and the reasons for going digital are consistently communicated.
Also, be smart and implement a digital tool to make communication easier. It will also help you with making information more accessible across the organization as well.
Embracing digital transformation and all the changes that come with it became inevitable. As technology is growing and evolving rapidly, the only best thing to do is to equip your organization with the right mindset, tools, people, and information.
Have in mind that this is a long process, sometimes very challenging and hard, but in the long run ( if you do it properly) it will pay off more than you might expect.