How to Make a Digital Transformation Successful

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In business, it’s important to move with the times and respond to market and industry changes. In recent years, these changes have been caused by technology advancing at an exponential rate, which subsequently causes huge changes in the business world. It’s been proven time and again that those leading in tech often reap the benefits, but state of the art tools and solutions aren’t always enough to deliver growth. According to figures from Deloitte, only 3 percent have achieved substantial scale in digital transformation, which leaves a majority that has not reached their digital potential.   

IT-related assistance is essential for many businesses, but it’s also important to manage your IT support to make the most of the service and integrate it into your digital transformation strategy. 

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is the use of new and fast-changing digital technologies to increase the capabilities of a business, streamline processes, and increase productivity and enable scalability. Current areas of focus in digital transformations include robotic process automation (RPA), the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). 

Ways to succeed in digital transformation

There’s a considerable amount of capital flowing into digital transformation – over $100 billion was spent on scaling digital innovations to drive new experiences and efficiencies between 2016 and 2018. Yet only 22 percent received a return on their investments that exceeded their expectations. 

Establish leadership

Digital transformation causes disruption in an organisation and its culture and needs to be led by management with a clear focus. In a McKinsey global survey almost 70 percent of respondents said that the top teams of their business changed during digital transformation, most often with new leaders experienced in digital technologies joining the team. 

Strong leadership is required to provide direction and decide which projects to scale and when. Management needs to take a holistic approach to opportunities and threats and link everything together in a complete view of how the new solutions are taking things forward.  

Strategize

A report from MIT Sloan states that in digital transformation, strategy is more important than technology, yet only 15 percent of respondents from companies in the early stages of transformation say their company has a clear strategy. A meaningful roadmap to digital transformation is an absolute necessity. 

All uses of technology must be part of a larger, holistic plan, which must be aligned with the business goals. The strategy needs to account for all resources and skills that are available, as well as the predicted culture changes, risk management and the time needed to run pilot tests.  

Value customer experience

Customer experience should be central to any successful digital transformation. Digital technologies can help to deliver a personalized and meaningful experience throughout the customer engagement lifecycle, by collecting, analyzing and responding to data at every stage, from mobile apps to contact centers. 

Customers need to be engaged at exactly the right time, by means of customer data and insights, and customer issues need to be resolved quickly. Cloud-based customer experience solutions can help in the onboarding of new customers, as well as the ability to create, invoice, rate and report on new offers. 

Encourage a new culture

The average lifespan of S&P 500 companies is much shorter than it was 60 years ago. Digital transformation is disruptive by nature, and therefore risky, though this is a necessary risk. A culture of risk-taking and innovation should be encouraged and rewarded, and businesses can also look to other industries for ideas. 

Especially for large, entrenched companies, a culture of innovation should be cultivated in managers and staff. The ‘fail fast’ philosophy of the Agile approach is one method that can lead to a new company outlook. 

Develop talents and skills

As with traditional transformations, building the capabilities of the workforce is one of the key factors for success in a digital transformation. Individual roles and responsibilities must be redefined to align with the objectives of a transformation, and experienced managers must be in place to bridge the gaps between traditional and digital processes. In addition to this, integrators are needed, the employees that translate and integrate new techniques and processes into existing workflows. 

Implement new technology

Technology doesn’t need to be the first stage in a digital transformation, as a new strategy, culture and business model, can be compared with the objectives of technological solutions to see what is missing. New strategies and requirements of customer experiences can help to determine what technological solutions are required. 

Digital transformations can include recent innovations, such as 5G mobility infrastructure, biometrics, blockchain or highly scalable cloud solutions. These technologies can give an organization the competitive edge they were looking for, but the right planning and culture must also be in place. 

Some kind of transformation into the new digital age is inevitable for all businesses, and with many new developments in technology, transformations may be ongoing. The exact nature of digital implementations is another question, and research shows that most transformations aren’t successful. But with strategies, planning, a new culture, employee training, and customer engagement, digital transformation can lead a business to a brighter future. 

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