Six Steps to Successful Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is not a new concept but the pandemic has led to an acceleration in digital products, services and customer expectations. Many businesses have moved digital transformation to the top of the agenda, as they seek out ways to work harder, faster and smarter.
According to research by BCG, over 80% of companies intend to push forward digital transformation. It’s easy to see why – successful digital transformation improves business performance and is a way to gain competitive advantage.
But while digital transformation is undoubtedly being prioritised, very few organisations manage to get it right. So why do so many businesses fail to realise their digital transformation strategies?
Changes in company culture are notoriously difficult. Delivering successful change is no mean feat, especially if you are running a complex organisation that demands to see results fast. But when organisations try to implement digital transformation initiatives quickly, they fail to consider the repercussions on company culture.
Too much focus on technology
While technology is obviously important, organisations should never underestimate the contributions made by people, for example standard operating processes, hierarchy and business operating model. If key stakeholders and employees are unwilling to embrace the proposed changes, this will negatively impact the transformation strategy.
General misconceptions about digital transformation
Most people consider digital transformation to mean replacing real-life processes with online ones. In reality, it’s about replacing a ‘fixed process’ corporate mindset with one that is willing to grow, pivot, flex and evolve according to customer needs. Failed digital transformation is often due to inflexible attitudes within the business.
Step 1 – Know your customers
Find out more about your customers to gain a better understanding of their needs. What are their values? What do they expect from your products or services? How do they like to make purchases or arrange access to your services?
For successful digital transformation, commitment is required at all levels of the business, from management to employees. Every member of the team needs to understand the digital goals and strategy in place to achieve them. It is important to communicate the benefits of the strategy at all levels too.
Step 2 – Plot a digital transformation road map
Gain buy in across the business by asking teams to answer the following questions:
- Why does the organisation need digital transformation?
- What will successful digital transformation look like?
- What objectives must be met to achieve digital transformation?
- What resources will be needed?
Step 3 – Evaluate existing processes
Evaluate existing infrastructure and consider ways to update technologies, procedures and company policies to reinforce the required changes. The customer service team or call centre is a good place to start as this is the team customers often speak to at an early stage of the process.
Look at ways to integrate front and back-end IT systems to offer seamless experiences, both to customers and employees.
Technology can be used to convey trustworthiness, helping to meet customer expectations. Platform proof your content and communications to ensure any algorithm changes don’t compromise customer experience.
Step 4 – Communicate clear objectives
Once objectives have been identified, these should be communicated across the business. Without clear objectives, teams may find it more difficult to get on board with the new ways of working. Setting out the benefits of the transformation early on will help them to feel motivated about the changes. Highlight the key benefits to all employees and stakeholders with meaningful KPIs and metrics.
Step 5 – Spread the word
For business transformation to be successful, your leaders must be willing to promote the benefits. But they will also need to take responsibility for educating others, including line managers. To ensure a smooth transformation, every employee will need to evaluate their ways of working and be willing to embrace change, both at the start of the transformation and as necessary in the future.
Step 6 – Track progress and communicate results
Progress against the roadmap must be visible to all. When an objective has been met, this should be celebrated. If priorities change, this should be made clear at every level of the hierarchy. If resources allow, set up a dedicated digital experience team to be accountable for the project.
Implementing the changes detailed in your roadmap is only the first step to successful digital transformation. To ensure ongoing success, you must commit to a long-term process of learning and adapting to the needs of your customers. You should commit to revisiting the digital transformation roadmap regularly, making changes and additions as necessary.