Change is an unavoidable element of success – and digital transformation has become the most necessary (and intricate) part of any business’s change efforts. I’ve spoken at length about what it really means and the many misconceptions that still exist about it.
Understanding digital transformation is only half of the equation, the really tricky parts are the puzzle pieces and delicate footwork required to implement it. Unfortunately, it does seem to be a mammoth task as fewer than 30% of businesses on this journey succeed. It’s a serious and necessary undertaking which, if not implemented successfully, can mean the end of your business. According to API giant Kong’s 2020 Digital Innovation Benchmark Report, 40% of companies will close their doors or be acquired if they fail to digitally innovate by 2023.
So what does it take to get digital transformation right? Big business and global technology leaders have researched this extensively and believe we can break it down into the following five guidelines:
1. Forward-thinking, digital-savvy leaders
As with the adoption of all change efforts, it has to start at the top. You need the people in charge to embrace a new direction before it can be filtered down to the rest of the business. Buy-in from the CEO is critical and is expected to help drive digital transformation, but this is definitely not limited to the C-suite.
It’s crucial to understand the digital transformation journey before you can start developing new skills, and this guidance has to come from the leadership team. With new skills come new roles, responsibilities and processes – and you need key people in the business to create and drive new workflows.
2. Communication and collaboration
Transparency builds trust, ensures buy-in from everyone in the business and encourages participation. Communicate your intentions and future changes to the work environment and processes timeously.
It’s important to encourage and enable communications as agility relies on information-sharing. You can achieve this through a technology-driven employee experience that enables employees to perform with enthusiasm and collaborate seamlessly across departments. Remember that collaboration is a cultural trait and needs time to grow, so the sooner you start, the better.
3. Building a future-proof workforce
Many businesses think that they need to onboard the technical knowledge through new hires, but in most cases, the talent already exists in your business or can be taught to existing staff. Skills development in your organisation is considered to be one of the most effective ways of ensuring transformation.
The workforce of the future is agile, applies critical thinking and is continuously upskilling. It really is up to your business to drive development internally to meet the specific needs of your transformation goals.
4. Encourage innovation
There’s no cut-and-dried process to implementing digital transformation, but as mentioned above, you can tap into the potential you already have. Drive innovation by encouraging your staff to re-engineer existing workflows with the use of technology and smart processes. Technology is there to support and enhance what people have already been doing, so challenge front-line employees to highlight shortfalls and suggest improvements.
Advanced technology provides incredible processing and analytical power and if applied correctly, can save time, improve output and ultimately increase your bottom line. Implementing the right infrastructure ensures that you remain agile and can be more responsive to market changes in your industry.
5. The tools for the job
Digital transformation is nothing without the right tools. And this is perhaps the trickiest part. Deciding on what technology to apply and where in your business can be daunting. Wanting to implement new digital technology for the sake of it can end up being a waste of time, resources and money. So it’s imperative to have a deep understanding of your current processes to determine the need for adding a new digital process that will truly add value. It’s about sifting through the myriad tools and applications available and finding what’s right for your business and budget.
Digital transformation is never done. It’s an ongoing journey and requires you to change the DNA of your business. Our digital transformation solution primes your business for sustained growth by reducing operational costs, streamlining processes and unlocking revenue streams. Download our brochure to learn how we can help your business grow.