Digital Transformation – Three Key Steps to Restarting
Digital transformation is still a hot-button topic. In fact, according to TekSystems’s 2020 State of Digital Transformation study, 93% of C-suite respondents believe digital transformation could fundamentally change the way people work in their organization.
At the same time, four out of 10 technology decision-makers aren’t satisfied with their organization’s current reaction to digital trends. Why the gap between aspirations and reality?
What gets left out of the digital transformation conversation is how to recognize when your efforts are stalled, and what to do about it. How do you get back on track? And how do you make sure you’ll avoid problems in the future?
If your digital transformation has gone off course, it’s important to take a step back and examine why. Most likely, it’s not just about the technology.
New tech enables new ways of collaborating and may even mean rethinking core components of your business model. A successful digital transformation not only lets you stay ahead of the competition, but it also sets you up to grow and adapt as conditions continue to change.
Think Beyond Technology
Many businesses suffer from tunnel vision when it comes to planning their digital transformations. It’s easy to become overly focused on technology and whether your team is using it in the right way. Any problems that come up in the digital transformation process, then, can be chalked up to choosing the wrong tech, or why you need to add some extra tool or feature to be able to accommodate a specific business process.
The problem behind this thinking is the misconception that digital transformation is simply about updating the tools you use to get things done. This mentality is extremely limiting.
The difference between tracking all of your customer data in a shared spreadsheet and putting it into a CRM is massive – not just because the tool allows you to capture more data and share it more widely, but because of what you can do about it. Cataloging all of your customer support issues in one place isn’t just useful for your customer service people. From product management to sales, your entire organization can use insights generated from that data to inform their work.
Ultimately, the difference between a successful digital transformation process and one that’s stalled outcomes down to a fundamental misunderstanding of what you’re trying to achieve and why. You’re not using the latest tools and technology because they make it easier to do business as usual—you’re using them because they can change your business operations in revolutionary ways.
Invest in People
You can have all the automation in the world, but at the end of the day, you’ll still need people to run your business. When you’re trying to restart your digital transformation process, take a second look at what you’re doing to put the people behind the technology in the right position to succeed. Are you prioritizing their needs and doing everything you can to make their lives easier?
Any digital transformation process needs to start with a clear understanding of what core business processes look like and where the easy wins are. The easiest way to get a clear picture of what things are like on the ground is to spend time talking to people at all levels of your organization.
Take time to look past the tools and get specific about the “why.” What processes are you trying to streamline, and how will you go about doing that?
The other key to this process is investing in training. Understandably, many employees are averse to change if it gets in the way of their routine. With any new technology, there will be a learning curve, and more than a few speedbumps before you start to see improvements in productivity. Reviewing your training and also adapting it to today’s remote work environment can cut down on that transition period and help everyone hit the ground running.
Have Patience with ROI
A true digital transformation will take time to come into full effect, and the immediate returns on investment may not be obvious. “Digital transformation efforts are coming up short on intended ROI, in part because digital transformation is as much a leadership issue as it is a strategy, technology, culture, and talent issue,” Rajan Kohli, global head of Wipro Digital, says to CIO.
It can take a significant amount of time before the benefits of a digital transformation process are felt throughout the organization. What’s crucial is to keep your focus on how the changes in your business processes will affect you in the long run, and keep in mind that you’re building for the future.
There’s bound to be some discomfort along the way, but the alternative is to fall further and further behind. The data and workflow changes that are possible with these new tools are too big to ignore for long.
What You Can Do Right Now
If your digital transformation has stalled out, you need to take steps now to get back on track. There needs to be alignment at all levels of your organization regarding priorities and how making hard changes now will benefit you in the long run.
That means taking the time to understand which business processes you’re affecting, along with any easy wins that will immediately impact someone’s day-to-day. Doing the hard work now will pay big dividends in the future, but only if you have the patience and the focus to pull it off right.
- Many businesses see the potential for new digital tools but are dissatisfied with how they’re currently using technology.
- Look beyond the technology to understand how your organization needs to change its business process.
- Invest in training and rethinking processes.
- Have patience with ROI and understand that change doesn’t happen overnight.