As a business leader in a competitive marketplace, you need every advantage you can get. And if you’re eager to grow and scale, you need to go digital. In fact, digital transformation could be the most powerful strategy you use to profit and scale in the coming quarters.
This isn’t just an isolated opinion, either. It’s one shared by many founders and C-suite executives. Case in point: When asked by Gartner what their two-year priorities were, one-fifth of all CEOs talked about going digital—without prompting. Yet digital transformation is more complicated than you might realize. That’s why it makes sense to take a deeper look at what it means and how to achieve it.
Digital Transformation: What It Is, What It Isn’t
Many people are perplexed by the underlying concept behind digital transformation. More specifically, they assume that digital transformation involves adding to a tech stack or upgrading equipment. That’s partly true. Yet it’s not quite the whole story. True digital transformation involves a comprehensive cultural change toward the adoption of digital tools, solutions, and protocols.
In essence, companies that embark on digital transformation can expect to integrate advanced technologies into all workflows. Why? Digital transformation isn’t a one-and-done solution. It’s an evolving process that requires all hands on deck to get right. And when everything’s humming, businesses can enjoy several advantages including improved customer experiences, higher employee engagement, and enhanced productivity.
Ways to Bring Digital Transformation to Your Teams
When you’re ready to embark on a journey toward digital transformation across your workforce, remember the following tips. Each one will help you move the process along.
1. Get a handle on all your data.
By now, you’ve become accustomed to collecting, analyzing, and tracking data in your organization. However, data operation pipelines have a habit of becoming flooded or clogged, leading to problems which can require a lot of time intensive manual processes to diagnose.
The answer to this problem lies in putting a priority on data observability. Data observability platforms can help your business align its data strategies. Think of it as giving you a 360-degree view of your data. A single place where you can not only visualize your data pipelines, but you can get alerts when there might be data quality issues or when a data processing job might be affecting the flow of data.
When you can see all sides of your data at once, you can avoid future pitfalls. To be sure, one of the main advantages of data observability is that you’ll be aware of potential problems before they happen. That way, you can practice prevention as part of your digital transformation, which always costs less than intervention.
2. Integrate your legacy systems.
A well-known roadblock to achieving complete digital transformation is over-reliance on legacy systems. For instance, your company may have paid to have a special customer management platform developed 15 years ago. Though it still works, it can’t be integrated with other software or apps. Although it works, it can’t grow—and neither can your team.
Do you have to upgrade to a different system and leave your legacy one behind? Not necessarily. You may be able to tweak the coding of your legacy system so it can interface with other popular tech solutions. Either way, you should concentrate on bringing all your software together into one portal if possible. Uniting your technology allows you to make the most of the latest tools like AI-enhanced and cloud-based solutions.
3. Name digital transformation champions at all organizational levels.
Digital transformation can’t happen if your people don’t believe in it. Let’s say your executives and supervisors aren’t on board. That means you’ll have trouble convincing employees the digital transformation journey is worth it.
Rather than facing an uphill battle, aim to name some cheerleaders early on in your planning process. For best results, pick people cross-sectionally. This enables you to have staff members from around your company. Their commitment and input show that you care about the needs of their teammates. It also avoids problems due to uneven workforce participation levels.
4. Put customer needs front and center.
Your digital transformation efforts won’t make a difference if your customers don’t like the results. Keeping this in mind, be sure that you practice what Deloitte calls customer-centric digital transformation.
Before implementing any digital change, map out how it will affect your customers. Will it create more stumbling blocks or ease their path to working with your brand? Does it solve a common customer problem, such as extensive call center wait times? Or could it make interactions with your company even tougher? You need to be sure that your solutions foster better, not worse, relationships with buyers.
5. Establish key milestones to gauge progress, but remain flexible.
It’s one thing to plan for digital transformation. It’s another thing to have short-term and long-term objectives in place. Therefore, as you’re assessing the direction you want your business to take, set up goalposts along the way.
Each time you hit a goalpost, you have the opportunity to review how far you’ve come. At the same time, you can decide if the next goalpost still makes sense. If we learned nothing else from the pandemic, it was the need to pivot rapidly. Consequently, may end up re-routing your digital transformation strategy in response to on-the-ground changes.
6. Communicate regularly with employees.
As one of the leaders of your brand’s digital transformation efforts, you should have a good sense of what’s going on. However, your people might not feel the same level of comfort. Many of them may not understand how far the company’s progressed or why the progression has been important.
Make sure you provide enough information to your team members about the digital transformation. You can educate them on your plans through email or video. Or, you may want to hold occasional “town hall” in-person or Zoom meetings. This gives workers a chance to ask questions, voice their opinions, and offer feedback. The more upfront and transparent you are, the less hesitant your employees will be about going digital.
Your organization’s future growth depends on numerous factors, including how able you are to expand your digital transformation. Don’t allow yourself to be left behind. Do your homework, make goals, construct a budget, and then start moving toward digital transformation success.