Since we all now agree that digital transformation is not a choice, we might as well embrace the change and learn how to best adopt it. But it’s easier said than done, isn’t it?
Any type of transformation is a challenge. But digital transformation takes it up a notch. It involves every aspect of your business — people, processes, infrastructure, and customers. There’s simply a lot of room for errors that you cannot afford to make.
Let’s take a detailed look at some of these common mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.
Before starting your digital transformation journey, it’s imperative to have a plan, just like all things life. What is it that you want to achieve? Is it to increase your revenue? Is it to reduce time in doing manual tasks? Is it to streamline your process?
Once you decide your goal, don’t be overly optimistic and set unrealistic timelines to meet these goals. Transitioning to a digital business model is an ongoing process that will take its time in aligning with your strategy. Understand that gaps won’t be filled overnight.
You need to take baby steps. Define milestones and set interim goals to check the impact of the transformation over time. The effect of digital transformation will always take months, and sometimes even years to appear. So instead of expecting too much within the go, have patience and set realistic expectations to reap long-term benefits.
To fully understand and even leverage digital transformation, you need to figure out how and why they exist in the first place. According to a recent survey, 57% of the companies misinterpreted digital transformation, assuming that it meant moving to a paperless framework.
Digital Transformation is the use of digital technologies to create and modify businesses processes and culture to create better customer experiences and meet the dynamic market conditions.
Now that you know what digital transformation is, you’ll realize that its scope is much wider, and an act that can change the dynamics of a business environment for good.
Having said that, remember that digitization is not a magic wand that will magically solve problems pertaining to your products or services nor is it the robotic villain that is trying to steal jobs. It is meant to improve business processes and customer experiences.
To do so, you need to clearly assess its future impact and strategically integrate it into your current ecosystem. The adoption of new technologies may bring changes in the way you work, and change the pace at which you work, but it cannot fix things out of its expertise.
It’s already established that digital transformation is inevitable and sooner or later companies will have to get on board. However, despite the popularity and benefits of digital transformation, leaders tend to ignore digital transformation opportunities. They’re hesitant to incur the costs associated with it, or bring about change in business processes, and prepare the employees for the same.
But leaders need to think long-term about the competitive advantages they can avail through digital transformation. These are just initial hindrances that you can overcome. One way to do that is by hiring leaders who are familiar with what digital transformation is and how companies can best leverage them.
The idea of transformation always stems from the tech-savvy leaders who envision building an environment for the workforce of the future. They can cultivate the thought process and communicate why the need for change is essential for the organization to achieve new heights of success.
Research says that the success of the digital transformation is more likely if there is the right level of leadership commitment and if leaders have the know-how of digital technologies.
As mentioned before, digital transformation impacts all your stakeholders, the biggest one being your employees. They’ll feel intimidated and insecure when there are massive changes to the way they do their work.
Over 80% of employees feel anxious about the new technologies and changes in business processes. And that is okay. Resistance to change is an innate human nature but it doesn’t mean we cannot overcome it. It becomes crucial for the management to inculcate a culture of digital transformation for employees to follow.
Encourage employees to learn and train them thoroughly on the new technologies and processes. Try explaining the benefits of the transformation for them and have an approachable attitude. You can also identify early adopters amongst employees who can aid others with getting acquainted and uplift their morale.
Ultimately you’d want to implement new technologies to increase revenue and provide better customer experiences. But if your internal transformation is unsuccessful, it is likely that your customer-facing transformation will fail too.
Organizations that have transformed successfully have recognized that digital transformation calls for decentralized decision making, and greater reliance on operational processes. Transformation begins from the inside. This means automating how your team collaborates, and how you make the transition from traditional business models.
To set up automation for internal processes, you can implement tools for human resource functions. You can adopt online employee training tools and communication. You can even integrate tools for conducting hygiene audits in finance and marketing. This can enhance employee productivity, and lead to better resource allocation and management.
The current times have been an indication that we live in a world of rapidly changing problems. Even the companies who underwent digital transformation were confused as to how to deal with remote teams and empty offices and still keep the customer experience intact.
This just proves that digital transformation is never a destination, as most companies believe. It is an ongoing process, where you’re continuously on your toes to meet the challenges of the rapidly evolving market conditions.
The goal here is to become a dynamic enterprise that can respond to changes quickly, keeping digital transformation at the core.
Take the example of Disney. After facing the challenges of the worldwide closure of theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, it started leveraging its streaming platform for releasing its content. It transitioned from a distribution model to a direct-to-consumer model. This helped the company to stabilize its revenues through increased subscriptions and ultimately positioned itself for success.
Let’s say you get everything right, but if you don’t define the right metrics to measure your results, you won’t be able to gauge the progress and may deem the whole process a failure. You probably already have KPIs to measure your success, but traditional metrics have no room if you want to measure the success of your digital transformation journey.
Since digital transformation is an organization-wide application, you need to define KPIs that will take into account every aspect of the organization. Harvard Business Review suggested breaking down the digital transformation KPIs into:
- IT uplift KPIs that measures new tools, reduced costs, the revenue of tools, etc
- Digitizing Operations KPIs that measure employee productivity, time reduced in doing manual tasks, business sustainability, etc.
- Digital marketing metrics that measure the number of leads generated, user lifetime value, client acquisition, and return on marketing.
- New ventures KPIs that measure new products and access to markets
Define metrics based on your digital transformation goals and measure the progress of these as a whole to get a holistic view of the process.
A venture as massive as digital transformation is never going to be an easy path. And there are high chances you will encounter numerous failures too. But you have a choice, to either fall prey to the fears that can lead to succumbing to the intense competition in the market or to wholeheartedly embrace these challenges and collectively look for solutions that can get you on a path to success.