The benefits of digital transformation are clear for all to see, the main one being the ability to ensure your company remains agile, relevant and competitive against others that have completed their own digital transformation. Achieving the benefits can be challenging, though rewarding they cannot be underestimated.
Many companies fail to achieve their desired outcome or return on investment as they do not find the correct approach by identifying the right skills, preparation and planning. Nowadays, digital technology can be applied to almost every aspect of business, allowing for greater speed and efficiency however leaders can tend to fail to understand the best opportunities to pursue.
Digital transformation can mean many different things depending on the business, some may see it as investing massively in new technology and others may see it as the strategic application of select technologies in key areas of the company.
The main aim of any initiative involving digital transformation should be to increase profitability, therefore a heavy focus on the customers’ needs is required as that informs the business on the best ways of applying digital technologies as well as adapting the processes and workforce.
Step-by-step over 'big bang' approach
Small incremental changes are the most advisable way of achieving a digital transformation. Developing a step-by-step plan will offer clear direction and are easier to implement rather than taking a ‘big bang’ approach. The first changes to be made should be aimed at improving the customer experience, allowing for quick wins for customers and the business to demonstrate the value of the wider DX initiative. This will win time as well as replacing legacy systems gradually and without risk.
This phased approach will let business leaders refine their understanding of the concept of digital transformation as there will be more time to get the right workforce mix and allow employees to adapt to new working ways.
Understanding the true nature of digital transformation is essential
A common trait amongst business leaders is the inability to grasp what new technologies can do and what their impacts on markets, products, services and distribution channels is. Market demands can also be misunderstood and how a digital transformation should and should not be applied to meet those demands.
The implementation of digital technologies is carried out by business leaders in a bid to save time and operation cost as well as avoiding disruption, rather than transforming and growing the company by providing new business models, products and services.
Every digital transformation initiative should focus on business outcomes
Businesses tend to focus on certain technology and tools rather than observing the market opportunities and desired outcomes. This results in the failure of setting clear goals that link their digital transformation and business strategy, as well as value and profit. They also fail to measure progress meaning they can take corrective actions where necessary.
Digital transformation requires consistent monitoring and adjustment. It is about more than just technology; it is about new processes that are aimed at changing the way a company operates.