Gone are the days of digital disruption. By now, markets are thoroughly unsettled by companies equipped with technologies that allow them to connect better with the consumer audience, to the extent that established organizations are scrambling to find ways to compete. The best solution? Transformation.
Digital transformation is the process of integrating digital technologies into every level of business operations. Digital transformation fundamentally changes how businesses function, ideally for the better. Still, there are risks associated with a full-scale digital transformation, so business leaders need to be aware of the five elements that will lead to success:
The Development of a Clear Strategy
In general, digital transformation is an organizational shift toward digital technologies but in particular, each business that embarks on a digital transformation will take a different path. Because no two organizations are exactly alike, business leaders cannot expect to copy and paste the transformation strategy of another company with success. Business leaders need to develop a clear digital transformation strategy that leads to success for their enterprise, which should take into account unique factors like their industry and markets, their organizational goals, their existing processes, their corporate culture and more. It might be beneficial for business leaders considering a digital transformation to enroll in digital transformation courses that provide more insight into how to build an effective strategy from the ground up.
The Utilization of Insider Insight
It is tempting to outsource the full responsibility of a digital transformation to external consultants with experience developing and executing digital transformations. However, this could deprive the organization of exceedingly valuable insight into culture, processes and other critical factors that determine a digital transformation strategy. As business leaders strategize, they need to draw upon the feedback of employees — i.e. their staff to ensure that digital transformation will go smoothly and successfully.
The Procurement of Customer Input
Often, businesses engage in digital transformations with the intention of improving the customer experience, but unless business leaders pay attention to customer input during the strategizing process, it is possible that customers will continue to be unsatisfied by the digital capabilities of the brand. Leaders might be able to guess what customers want and need from their business but guessing should not be necessary. Business leaders should conduct thorough research on what consumers expect from a company in their industry and market, and they should use that data to map out how the customer experience should function. Eliminating guesswork is critical to the success of a digital transformation.
The Alleviation of Employee Concerns
Digital transformations are major organizational changes, and it is typical for employees to resist change, leading to slower transformation and potentially transformation failure. Change is a source of significant stress and fear for workforces, and in the case of digital transformation, employees can become exceedingly concerned that technology will eliminate their positions and make their knowledge and skills obsolete.
In the face of any type of major organizational change, business leaders need to focus on allaying employees’ fears. Communication is the best tool for keeping the workforce informed and invested in a digital transformation; leaders should issue regular updates about when digital technologies will be integrated into processes, which employees will be affected and what benefits this will bring to staff. Many businesses might choose to retrain workers with new skills and knowledge to better utilize the newly available digital tech. Then, employees will feel valued, engaged and excited about their new career opportunities.
5. The Adoption of a Startup Culture
One of the most significant advantages of a digital transformation is the technology to make decisions quickly and achieve goals and objectives with greater ease. However, no amount of digital tech will help a business harness this power if the business’s culture is mired in traditional bureaucracy. Digital technology has been so disruptive to markets in the past because it is typically wielded by small, agile startups. Thus, a critical element of any digital transformation is a startup-like culture, in which organizations allow for faster decision making of smaller groups for faster, surer success.
Success with digital transformation is not guaranteed. Yet, the more a business leader knows about the process of transforming an organization to take advantage of digital technologies, the more likely that leader is to find success with digital transformation.