It doesn’t matter the size of your business or the industry; there are certain technological investments that you simply can’t afford to ignore. And to address them with purpose, you’ll need a digital transformation strategy.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation can be described as a well-planned strategy designed to help an organization evolve through sophisticated information technology and scalability. The specific goals differ for every business, but the aim is typically to increase efficiency, lower complexity, cut costs, and/or create new lines of business.
Digital transformation has the ability to impact every part of an organization – including sales, marketing, logistics, HR, product development, supply chain management, and employee onboarding.
“The technology involved in digital transformation centers on information,” Box explains. “This means collecting, cleansing, cataloging, and storing data. It’s about governing, retrieving, analyzing, and integrating data in business processes. Digital transformation boosts efficiency and productivity, freeing employees up so they can work on higher-value tasks.”
Digital transformation impacts every single person within an organization; however, it requires direct involvement from business leadership and the IT side of the business working together in order to create change. If there is buy-in from all sides, smooth transformation can happen.
4 Tips for Smooth Digital Transformation
Every digital transformation strategy will have its own unique processes and systems. However, the following tips will prove helpful in ensuring smooth planning and execution. Take a look:
- Set Clear Goals
Digital transformation means different things to different businesses. Thus, it’s important that you define what it means to your organization before actually planning out or executing a strategy.
If you assume that digital transformation simply means getting rid of paper and taking everything online, you’re missing the point. Resist the temptation to only think about it in terms of what it looks like. Instead, think about what digital transformation can actually do for your organization.
Are you looking to streamline processes? (If so, which processes?) Is your desire to reduce costs and become a leaner business with a meatier bottom line? Are there gaps in your business that you want to backfill and overcome?
Get clear on your goals and everything else will fall into place.
- Know What’s Out There
There’s a lot of noise in the digital transformation space. Be careful that you don’t automatically jump on every technology, application, or strategy that sounds appealing. Focus is the essence of successful transformation.
Casting too wide of a net on the initial cast will hurt you. Instead, look at the one or two specific areas that will provide immediate payback. (This will most likely be something to do with operations, customer experience, or marketing.)
- Make it User-Friendly
Many businesses make the mistake of prioritizing cost savings or efficiency in their digital transformation strategies. And while these are important elements, they’re ultimately byproducts of a well-executed strategy. You should really be focused on the user.
As entrepreneur Lauren McNeely writes, “The ultimate goal of digital transformation is user experience. So in order to meet the demands of the digital age, focus on your consumer and the user journey. Map out the entire customer journey, and then determine how going digital can make each touchpoint an improved and more efficient experience.”
If you take the time to improve user experience, benefits like cost savings and efficiency naturally fall into place. Take your time and zero in on the correct areas of emphasis.
- Plan for the Long-Term
While we’d encourage you to implement a strategy that provides quick wins (for the purpose of momentum), don’t get caught up in what happens over the short-term. Digital transformation is an investment. To put it in financial terms, think of it like buying an asset and holding it for several years, as opposed to day-trading penny stocks. Planning for the long-term will set you up for continued success.
Ready, Set, Go!
There’s never been a more important time to initiate a digital transformation strategy than right now. With the business world evolving at a rapid pace, those who refuse to adapt will fall behind within a matter of months. If you feel ill-equipped to spearhead this project, find someone who can lead the charge on your behalf.