In making the move to a digital-first environment, decision-makers need to be aware that it’s more than a matter of being knowledgeable about technology. Likewise, it’s not as simple as providing new-fangled tech for your employees. Rather, digital transformation is an all-encompassing process wherein the final result, ideally, is an organization that makes quick, informed decisions and solutions, as well as better meet customer needs.
Done properly, digital transformation fosters growth, boosts productivity and can benefit your organization’s profits. With the help of industry experts, we’ll discuss what you can do to transition into a digital environment more efficient, as well as demonstrating some of the benefits businesses see from the process.
The 3 steps towards digital transformation
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to digital transformation; the use of technology affects every company differently. Before you begin the process, you’ll have to define where change is needed the most, which tends to be these crucial areas of your organization: customer engagement, digital products and services, operational performance and preparing for disruptive new business models.
By doing this, you’ll have a clearer view of the opportunities and threats each area might have, and so where you should focus your attention and investment. Likewise, consider how you use your current technology? How is data used and what are the gaps in its competencies? From here, you can see how digital technology could help your business.
1. Set out an action plan and timescale
Once you’ve identified the areas that need work, setting up a plan for acquiring and implementing the solution is essential. Include key milestones for progress and the steps you’ll need your business to take in order to maximize the technology or data’s potential. It’s a good idea to include contingency planning in case of issues, while short-term targets ensure everyone stays motivated throughout.
Adding a timescale to the project will help add clarity to the plan, encouraging further buy-in from stakeholders, decision-makers and influential team members.
2. Get employee buy-in
Peer-led change is often implemented quickest, so it’s important to get management on-board. They’ll be required to understand the action plan, as well as the need for change, before leading the way in technology adoption. Look towards influential employees across your organization who believe strongly in the idea of transformation to champion the cause on your behalf.
3. Sustain the change
The change you’re seeking should be at the core of the business. If it isn’t, you run the risk of slipping back into old ways. Encourage the transformation of your organization by embedding processes into your work culture, by allowing your employees the chance to come up with ideas for innovation. Alternatively, create a structured process where a dedicated team creates suggestions, and seek to develop the more promising ones alongside management.
Consider rewarding those who promote change or celebrate meeting the milestones mentioned in your action plan. Creating a process rewarding improvement through success and suggestions is key to ensuring it’s sustained.
Why businesses go digital: case studies
Digital transformation can effectively stimulate changing marketplaces. Modernized processes and workflows go hand-in-hand with increased consumer demand and reflect a culture of innovation that’s part of any modern, forward-thinking organization.
For example, James Woodall, chief technology officer (CTO) at Intoware has seen the company transform some of their duties through the use of mobile devices, tablets and voice-controlled handheld devices. The upside of this, James notes, is “that data can be captured and shared in real-time”, recording detailed metadata as part of a provable audit trail.