Word on the street is that digital transformation is the next big thing. But the million dollar question remains. How does one prepare for it?
It’s an undeniable fact that the term ‘digital transformation’ has taken over the business world by the storm.
At this stage, there are two kinds of business perspectives about this evolution. Some people are in denial about the prospects. Others are doing everything they can to prepare for digital transformation.
But here’s the catch! Digital transformation isn’t something that’ll happen in the future. It is already here and continues to thrive in our virtually inclined world. According to one writer on Medium, ‘even if you chose to do nothing, digital’s still gonna get you’. And it is exactly why you need to buckle up and start adapting your business module accordingly.
That’s why we’ve decided to enlighten you with the basics of digital transformation. Then we’ll look at why you need it and how you can prepare your team for it.
The Basics: Understanding Digital Transformation
Digital transformation has become one of those buzzwords that get misinterpreted and misused due to the hype. The biggest indication of this is the fact that most companies think of the term as a software upgrade. They believe that investing in cutting-edge technology is what digital transformation is all about. However, this is simply a single part of the process.
In reality, this word is a lot bigger than getting tech upgrades. You need to realize that digital transformation can’t be stuffed into a single box. More importantly, you can’t rely on your IT infrastructure to accomplish the ‘transformation’ phase.
As MIT puts it,
“Digital transformation is about how technology changes the conditions under which business is done, in ways that change the expectations of customers, partners, and employees.”
So basically, you need to go beyond the IT rooms and look into the operations and customer journeys. Are those things digital-ready? If the answer is a yes then you’re half way there.
Let’s look at some successful companies that have embraced this phenomenon:
The Tale of Two Companies
It goes without saying that tech firms like Google is the prime examples of digitization. The reason why they’ve got a head start over everyone else is simple. These companies had the foresight of putting digitalization as part of the equation from the get-go. Their whole manifesto relies on the fact that they’re the best source for digital solutions.
Therefore, tech firms need to take a page out of their business modules. It’ll help them to modify their operations in a digitally inclined and customer-focused manner.
Apart from that, there are businesses that run are companies that operate on a digital frontier. They don’t need tangible fixtures to satisfy their customers. Rather their investments are put into software development, UX designs and customer outcomes.
The strength of their services depends on an engaging idea and its strategic execution. Look at your surroundings and you’ll see that many virtual businesses have cropped up in the past decade. The biggest example is Uber. This car-for-hire service and its associated branch UberEats has greatly benefited from digitization. The company may not own any cars nor do they cook the food they deliver they’re USP instead is the power of connection. With a single app, the company steadily took over the world.
Both success stories show what it takes to survive in the world of digitization. Also, how a simple idea and the right digital platform can garner so much revenue.
Now, that you understand the basic concept. Let’s answer the main question:
How do you prepare for digital transformation?
The Operations: Major Steps You Should Take
Digital transformation is a tricky subject for many executives. That’s because most of them have been implementing traditional techniques and old-school methodologies. This use of archaic modules is what hinders their transition into a tech-savvy world. But they aren’t the only ones who face difficulties in this scenario.
The fact of the matter is that even tech-friendly, modern businesses experience a few hiccups in this journey. The overall success rate of digitization is at best less than 30%. The main reason for this is the poor planning of each digital venture.
That sounds rough. But it can be overcome if business executives approach digitization smartly and strategically.
Here are a few tips that can help you kick start this transformation on in an effective manner:
1. Plan Ahead
Do you wish to join the digitization bandwagon?
The first step is to create a game plan. You see, simply purchasing a high tech software and hiring a tech team doesn’t guarantee success. Your organization needs to step into this new phase with a focused mind and a strategy at hand.
Your plan should include:
- The steps you’ll have to take to reach from point A to point B
- The technological advancements that are currently being utilized by the competition
- Tech goals you hope to accomplish in the next 5-10 years
- The risks you can afford to take and the variables that might influence it
- The gap you need to fill to ensure the company develops in a tech-forward manner
In short, weigh in all the factors before you leap into this new world. Plus, try to be flexible in your approach. As we don’t necessarily need the things we want.
2. Keep Things Crystal Clear
Who knows about your plans for the company’s future?
Most executives are guilty of switching over to a digitally-inclined module without prior warning. Sure the stakeholders and tech team might be in on the secret. But the main players aka your employees are usually kept out of the loop. This is probably the biggest mistake you can make. That’s because it has the potential to completely blow over the operation.
Think of it this way. What happens when you get a new coffeemaker for the break room? The team inspects it and starts discussing the pros and cons of this replacement. Some of them will be in favor while others won’t see the point for the change. Moreover, there’ll be quite a few employees who won’t know how to operate the machine. (Cue in coffees spills and dirty countertops!)
All of this can become a distraction for your company.
What’s the point of this story? Well, digitization is the new coffeemaker in this scenario. Its flashy, it’s modern and it’s better than the version you’re using right now. But the employees won’t agree with you unless you’ve given them a heads up.
Proper communication gives them the opportunity to:
- Mentally prepare for the change and learn to accept it
- Practice or train to acquire the proper skill sets for this change
- Pitch in their suggestions and ideas
The main idea here is to ensure that your workforce is prepared for the transition. It’s the only way to holistically work together for the betterment of the team.
3. Proactive Tech Support
Is your tech team ready?
One of the biggest players in this move is your IT crew. It doesn’t matter if your company is a tech firm or a car company―everyone needs to call in tech support during emergencies. Moreover, your in-house IT team usually manages and monitors the servers and any threats to these systems. Many of them also control the workers’ internet activities. This is to ensure that the employees spend all their screen time on work instead of socialization.
How will digitalization impact their job?
The answer varies according to skill sets and corporate culture. If your team has been using PCs and you’ve suddenly switched to PCs. Then it’s going to take time for them to understand how the new device works. They’re also required to prepare anti-virus and anti-malware programs that can combat and threat to the company’s security systems. They’ll also be the first one you’ll call if the development software gets a glitch.
Plus, they might have to minimize their employee surveillance. That’s because the new era of digitization requires a lax protocol. The entrance of millennials means that you need to be flexible with your rules. The new generation has integrated technology into their lives because they’ve been raised with it. Therefore, you’ll have to modify some policies to accommodate their needs. And the tech team will most likely be involved in the process.
Remember, covering all these steps doesn’t mean you’ll succeed. There are other variables that do influence that impact of your digital transformation.
Let’s look at the other things you need to consider when you prepare for digital transformation:
- Customer Outcomes: Always align your digitization goals with the customer’s needs. Every new development needs to add value to their customer journey. As a ‘customer obsessed module’ is usually the most profitable module.
- Training Grounds: Companies should conduct training sessions for these new developments. As you can’t expect to succeed if the employees’ skills are underdeveloped.
- AGILE Methodology: Streamline projects, incorporate customer inputs and work for
productivity. This is the only way to ensure that digitization works for you in the long run.
Let’s Sum It Up…
In short, you need to redefine your corporate culture and modify business plans. This means planning ahead, coordinating with your employees and preparing the tech team. You should also make sure that these developments are aligned with customer needs. In this way, digital transformation takes centre stage and everything else falls seamlessly in place. Subsequently, well-planned digitization provides you with an edge over the competition.
So what are you waiting for? Go immerse yourself in digitization!