Why Digital Transformation Needs a Strong Foundation
Digital transformation isn’t just about updating the computer software or installing a few new programs. It’s a fundamental shift in the way we think about and conduct our business. At its best, digital transformation opens new avenues for innovation which drive disruption and growth. At its worst, an unsuccessful project can hinder a business’ technological viability and long-term competitiveness.
Many companies continue to struggle with implementing digital transformation. It’s not easy to change culture or habits overnight, especially when legacy processes seem outwardly useful. However, digital transformation is crucial for a successful future. Sustainable market leadership is no longer based exclusively on which company has the best products. Organizations that can quickly adapt to market trends generally tend to become market leaders.
The best way to implement change is from the top. It’s important to get employee buy-in early on to ensure a smooth digital transformation. Here are five tips for preparing a company for success with digital transformation.
1. Assess Current Processes, With an Eye for Data and Analytics Capabilities
Understanding Your Existing Workplace Practices is Essential to Your DX Strategy
Digital transformation helps employees manage their time better, improves customer experience and engagement, and makes employees more focused and engaged. At its core, digital transformation is all about driving productivity at work. Meaning, it primarily affects processes and the way that data flows through a business. Digital transformation is about changing how effectively teams work together, not just what technology they are using to complete the work.
Modern businesses are handling more and more data at faster rates. Likewise, they’re expected to do so quickly and to be able to extract valuable insights from the raw numbers. If any of these processes are still happening manually, there is a good chance that they are too slow. Are staff members handling manual and repetitive tasks like data entry or filing? These jobs can be automated, and those individuals will enjoy a more dynamic task that requires a human touch.
2. Develop a Digital Transformation Strategy Which Emphasizes Systematic and Continuous Optimization
Implement a Thoughtful Strategy and Avoid Throwing Employees in at the Deep End
Digital transformation can completely remake a company. Implemented too quickly, however, and it also results in difficulties within the core business functions. A digital transformation strategy should work at a pace comfortable for the company: quickly enough that the company transforms, but slowly enough that systems and staff have time to adjust.
Start with small implementations—like document automation—which build on one another methodically. Digital transformation introduces flexibility and agility to business operations by setting the tone with the implementation process itself, which delivers value early and often through increments. We’ve said it before: implement. Observe. Optimize. Repeat.
3. Leverage Insiders and Employee Buy-In
Ensuring a Positive Culture of Change is an Important Step of the DX Process
Employee mindset matters. After all, they’re the ones who will ultimately make or break a company. Drive engagement and excitement by identifying and shifting mindsets about digital transformation.
For example, there may exist a group of people who are dedicated to legacy processes that are holding back the transformation. Take advantage of this moment to embrace upskilling to better align skills with digital strategy—likewise, individuals who enjoy implementing innovative solutions, who can function as pilots for optimization.
Digital transformation assumes the value of staff and emphasizes their empowerment. In turn, this creates a dynamic environment where employees feel able to bring to work their unique skills and perspectives for the advantage of the more extensive project.
Employee buy-in can be easily achieved when employers back up their digital transformation strategy with statistics, tailor their strategy presentation to each audience, and start with a few small aspects of their organization and move on from there.
4. Embrace Cross-Department Connectivity
Digital Transformation means Departments Working in Tandem With One Another
Large companies often find their departments segmented into silos; physically and operationally. It happens because as each department grows, they naturally become more self-contained. Communication lines between them break down, sometimes shuttering altogether.
Digital transformation brings new combinations and connectivity, which might startle organizations accustomed to discrete departments or operations. Such cross-department collaboration is not only healthy but crucial to maintaining the ability to respond swiftly to shifting markets or technologies.
Recognize that the ability to approach a project or problem innovatively may require fresh perspectives, and it should start at the top. The CEO is the one who can effectively drive change within an organization, so it makes sense that they would drive digital transformation and communicate that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Likewise, employees in different departments may have unexpectedly relevant skills. For example, IT can automate reports—which frees up the marketing team to analyze and optimize marketing initiatives.
5. Make Learning Part of the Culture
Emphasizing Long-Term Commitment to Employees is Important for a Changing Company
Technology doesn’t stop evolving; therefore, employee skill sets shouldn’t either. However, on-the-job learning has traditionally experienced something of a PR image crisis: it’s seen as an extra thing that a disengaged or disinclined person must check off a list of requirements.
Instead, create a culture of learning by framing it in terms of value and investment. Things like cross-department training and upskilling make a staff member more valuable, more flexible, and better equipped to enact effective solutions to daily challenges. Companies that build such constant development into the organizational culture often refer to it as continuous learning, and it’s encouraged for everyone equally.
Preparing For Digital Transformation In 2019
Digital transformation is a critical move for businesses that wish to survive well into the 21st century. However, embracing new processes and ways of thinking requires more than just a software update. Digital transformation changes the way employees engage with their work and the broader organization. It changes the way organizations ultimately provide value to their consumers and improves the customer experience.
Preparing a company for digital transformation takes focused care and effort. To learn more about how you can get ready to modernize your organization, reach out to our Managed IT team and speak to one of our experts today!