Digital transformation is more than just a buzzword. It is an idea that has been around for a long time, and that has a lot to offer to businesses that are willing to invest in growth and sustainability. According to research conducted by Constellation Research in 2017, digital transformation strategies were an important part of driving profits at 64% of businesses. But what is digital transformation, and what are the keys to an important strategy?
For your digital transformation to be successful, you need to have strong leaders. Your executives need to have a clear vision and be able to lead people to execute that vision. Digital transformation can by its very nature be disruptive. Not just in the “change the industry” way, but also in the way that it impacts the culture and workflow of a business. More on this here.
Management teams need to be digitally savvy and to be able to explain the ways that the transformation will benefit the people on the workforce. Remember that people resist change, and that it is the job of the leadership to create buy-in so that people are actually interested in what the organization does.
The leadership dictates the culture of the business, and the culture impacts morale and performance. Take, for example, the idea of “agile”, which includes the idea of “fail fast”. This culture rewards innovation and tells people that it’s OK to test a theory and be wrong. A good leader won’t just preach such ideas, they will live them.
Put Strategy First
One of the biggest pitfalls of digital transformation is becoming so obsessed with technology that they chase the latest and greatest tech at the expense of their overall business strategy. Remember that tech serves the business, not the other way around. Plan your strategy around what will benefit the business and work out what technology is needed to implement that strategy. You can get help from experts like from this company and other consulting solutions firms to create the best strategy.
Think Like a Customer
Digital transformation works both inside of the business and outside of it. It looks at the workflow and also the customer. Where can your customers be found? What sort of shopping experience do they want? What is their pathway from prospect to conversion? What devices and apps do they have? These things all matter and ar things that you can collect information about, and use to your advantage.
Be Willing to Take Risks
A successful digital transformation could change the whole of your business. Imagine shutting down a retail store and going online-only, or moving away from renting properties to families and instead focusing on commercial property. These are big moves, but moves that could allow your business to scale in an unprecedented fashion. They’re exciting to think about, scary to implement, and not without risk.
Strong companies know the value of disruption and about transforming their companies. Whether those decisions are something major on the executive side or something about their digital life, the important thing is that the decisions are made carefully and with as much current information as possible.
The Right Solution to a Real Problem
Some analysts have called blockchain “a solution in need of a problem”. Whether you agree with that assessment of that specific technology or not, the fact is that many technologies have either been deployed too early or proven to not be as valuable as was first thought.
There are many valuable technologies out there that can be deployed to improve a business:
– Analytics for data-driven decision making
– Cloud platforms and storage
– Collaboration tools
– Artificial Intelligence (AI)
– Machine Learning (ML)
– Internet of Things (IoT)
Digital transformations start with the top of the business, and with decision-makers reviewing the information that is available to them right now, then looking for iterative ways of improving the business. Each round of improvement should see new methods that are tested, implemented, and then reviewed. The beauty of the digital part of a digital transformation is that if an initial test doesn’t work, it’s usually fairly easy to alter software, upgrade a database, or change a process.
Digital transformations can be difficult if you are a part of a company that is older, or that “has always done things this way”. Some industries, such as property and finance, have strict processes that are going to be difficult to change. You need to find ways to honor those while still improving the business.