In today's business world, digital transformation is the new normal. And no matter how many great ideas your team has, success will be limited without a robust digital strategy in place.
Gartner defines digital transformation as "a programmatic effort to modernize the foundational technologies and operating models of an enterprise to support future business directions and customer experience expectations." Think of it like this: Before transforming your company into a high-tech wonder, you must first understand where you are in the current state of technology, what your core processes are, and how your team interacts with customers and suppliers.
Digital transformation is the process of automating business processes and technologies so that your customer experiences are digitally connected, coordinated, and personalized. It's all about transforming how you reach, engage, and delight your customers: with digital tools and customer-centric data.
So, what do you need to consider before embarking on a complete overhaul of enablement efforts in the context of Digital Transformation? In my view, you need to prioritize some fundamental steps:
1. Build a strategy.
Achieving digital transformation within an organization is no easy feat and requires a company-wide effort. While specific goals and benchmarks differ from company to company, it is much easier with a focus on "The Three C's":
- Communication, change management, and continuity. Communication is key to setting realistic change expectations within all levels of the organization and establishing a seamless integration of new technology into day-to-day business functions.
- Change management across all departments prevents missteps in the implementation process.
- Continuity within all stages of digital transformation, from ideation to delivery, ensures that the organization meets desired business outcomes.
2. Offer your vision to C-suite.
Nothing has a greater impact on company culture than the C-suite—the executive team at the very top of the chain. It sets a tone for the entire organisation the way they communicate and behave. They are often among the most influential stakeholders when deciding whether or not to undertake digital transformation efforts at the corporate level. As such, it's important to understand how they think so you can frame your digital argument in a manner that resonates with their frame of reference and level of investment in the company.
3. Avoid overlooking your front-line staff
Your business is using increasingly digital tools to run itself, bringing many benefits. However, the problem is that this revolution in digital tools has left your team in the lurch. While CIOs and other senior leadership provide inspiration, direction, and ongoing guidance to shape the future direction of your business, it often falls to the staff to navigate how best to use the various new systems, software, mobile apps, and other digital tools at their disposal.
4. Work with the right technology provider.
The right technology partners can help your team, and IT department build the foundation you need for your digital transformation initiative to succeed. After all, the choice of vendors—beyond just the software itself—is an integral part of any change management process.
Beyond their tech expertise, IT partners can offer insights into your digital transformation project's goals, timeline, and scope that will help ensure success. They can also help you identify and overcome any obstacles while avoiding problems with their technology or better understanding how your project will mesh with their overall business strategy.
5. Estimate your existing situation
While planning to apply digital tools to your company's problems, you need a clear and uncompromised view of just how extensive those problems are. There's no reason for the IT department to interfere with any of your findings—after all, you're looking only at the specific processes, procedures, and workflows within their purview—but your coworkers may ask for help from the team if they don't know how to start solving the problem.
Today's workplace is filled with digital innovations, and the pace of technology only seems to be accelerating. The risk of disruption and failure is only increasing for companies that don't embrace digital transformation—and benefits exist for those willing to take risks, invest in change, and learn from mistakes. With a strong digital strategy, you can build a business that realizes the potential benefits of new technology while mitigating the risk of failure.