The need to become more consumer-centric, to better reposition brands, to adopt new technologies, to add more value, to be in tune with technology trends, and to become more relevant in the global market has become the focal point of most businesses today. Virtually every business is talking and walking digital transformation.
A study reveals that an amazing 77.3% of CIOs from 100 Fortune 500 brands are obsessed with digital transformation and decided to give it the first spot in their 2021 budget. This is a shift from what has been happening some few years back, where cybersecurity has always been the top priority of most organizations.
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation means repositioning business operations by the integration of new technologies and revamping legacy systems. The essence of digital transformation is to improve customer experience and add more value to the business.
Since your employees play a very important role in the success of your digital transformation initiative, there is no way you integrate new technologies and change processes without their input. If digital transformation aims at coming up with new business models, satisfying customers, and improving ROI, then employees must change their old ways of doing things.
In most organizations, the CEO initiates digital transformation in conjunction with the CIO, but it’s essential that all the members of the C-suite must be involved from the planning stage. Employees look up to their managers and the leadership, the body language of the leadership goes a long way to inform how employees will react eventually.
Digital transformation strategy
The first step into digital transformation is to come up with a digital transformation strategy. This strategy must spell out what you want to achieve, how you want to achieve it, what time frame you have for the transformation, apps and tools you must integrate, what areas of the digital transformation project you need to outsource, and the nature of training your employees will have to undergo to adopt the new technologies you will integrate.
The roadmap or strategy for your digital transformation must have input from different departments and sections; a holistic digital transformation cuts across departments, so there must be transparency. It cannot be just a to-do list; it is not just about adopting new technologies.
The business world is going through a digital economy; your digital transformation strategy must be specific about the innovations you want to adopt; artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, virtual reality, and augmented reality are technological advancements you need to ensure a smooth business operation in today’s highly competitive global market; businesses depend more on apps now to conduct their daily operations and these apps can run into hundreds.
While one of your objectives is to make your business operations more efficient, your digital transformation strategy must focus on how to effectively align your operational model with the latest developments in the business world, with the view of improving customer experience.
The impact of organizational culture on digital transformation
Every organization has its culture; employees imbibe this culture during the process of onboarding. Without this culture, employees don’t fit into the affairs and ways of the organization.
Unfortunately, some organizations have cultures that are not flexible; this situation can become a cog in the wheel of your digital transformation project. Digital transformation demands that some tasks must be automated, new technologies have to be integrated, and new tools will be used to ensure an improved customer experience and give your organization a fair competitive advantage.
Employees have to go through some form of training to effectively make use of these new tools, and this can cause some friction. Apart from the fear of losing out positions due to automation of some tasks, employees also have some palpable fear of what will happen if they can’t acquire the knowledge necessary to adopt the new technologies.
They may want to resist the changes you are introducing; the mindset may be, why do we need all these new technologies? After all, we have been doing these processes before.
Just adopting new technologies will not work; employees must be carried along; you must explain to them why the changes are necessary. There will also be the need to allay their fears and encourage them as they go about the training sessions.
Any small success must be appreciated and rewarded; when employees see that their efforts are being appreciated, they will try harder. You must ensure there is an effective collaboration among the different teams and departments.
There must be opportunities for them to give feedback and exchange views. The whole effort must be to create digital-first employees.
Digital transformation is not just adopting new technologies, it’s a holistic organizational change, you only leverage technology to improve performance. A flexible organizational culture makes it easier for your employees to acquire new knowledge any time it becomes necessary.
In situations like what we are experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it may not be easy to have your employees operating from a physical workspace; this must not deter your efforts and those of your employees. With the aid of collaboration platforms such as Zoom, you can always arrange virtual meetings; you can deploy video conferencing to ensure employees constantly interact among themselves.
Ideas and information must not be siloed; everybody must be on the same page; that’s only when your digital transformation initiative will work out.
The role of customers
A major reason for embarking on digital transformation is to improve customer experience. How do you enable this? Customers leave reviews of products and services with review sites such as Amazon.
From the product review data you collect from these sites, you can find out how your customers feel about your product and those of the competition. This will enable you to have insights into what you need to improve.
You must understand that the data you collect from these sites are mostly in the unstructured format, and you may have to deploy analytics to understand the real feelings of your customers. Where you don’t have the necessary tools for this, you can outsource to experts.
Having the real insights will enable you to understand where you need to integrate new technologies, revamp legacy systems, or conduct training for your employees to improve their general conduct.
Consulting Services for Digital Transformation
Consulting services are regularly employed for digital transformation initiatives because they have experience implementing digital transformation strategies in a variety of organizations across industries. Their outside perspective can help to balance the insider perspectives of those in charge of digital transformation within an organization. The IT consultants play a pivotal role in the planning, implementation, and management of the digital transformation projects, as well as in ensuring efficient infrastructural change.