We hear a lot about digital transformation and much like the term “big data” there is some confusion as to what the term actually means.
Typically when organisations are asked about their digital transformation goals they revert to listing off a long list of the new digital technologies and devices. But digital transformation is a lot more than simply the implementation of new digital technologies or the development of applications, it is a change in the way companies are required to do business in a digital age.
For this reason true successful digital transformation projects are often less about the technology and more about how willing a company is to adapt to and adopt a new digital lens and company culture. Firstly business will need to define the term “transformation” as not just referring to a change in the technology and infrastructure used by the business, but rather as a more broad term that covers the transformation of the business model to one that functions well at all levels within a digitally driven economy.
The IT department will no doubt be heavily involved in any digital transformation project as the very nature of digital is technical and many, if not all of the devices, platforms or solutions will require a high level of technical knowledge and experience to be implemented correctly. That said the key to a successful digital transformation project does not solely rest with the IT department, nor with those who are engaged in the development of new engagement platforms, mobile applications or other digital solutions.
Successful digital transformation rests more in the ability of business management to adapt to the digital change from the top down and set out a clear path as to the reasons for and the expected outcomes from any digital transformation, while making the company staffing, cultural and educational changes required to reflect a digital transformation right across the business.
Rather than just focusing on the technology or how IT operates, business management also should look at digital transformation as a change to the way they do business and the way both internally and externally all of their staff will engage in the digital economy moving forward.
There is much to cover when it comes to digital trends, innovations and industry disruptors, but the following five tips cover the key considerations when undertaking your next digital transformation project:
1. A Take a holistic view of technology:
When integrating IT, managing big data or developing new mobile applications it will be essential that you take a holistic view of how these technologies and business changes will affect all areas of the organisation, including resource efficiencies all the way to improved consumer brand awareness or satisfaction.
2. Set a platform that allows for innovation:
The digital landscape is still in its infancy and as much as we would like to think that what we do today will still be suitable for tomorrow, it is often not the case. So ensure that your transformation project is set up with change and continual development in mind and plan for the removal of those changes that did not work or are no longer relevant.
3. Learn to lead from the front:
Given that digital transformation will affect all areas of business growth and future success, it is only right that company leadership and management set the strategic direction clearly and lead from the front when it comes to cultivating a digital ready culture based on innovation and change.
4. Build yourself a digital savvy workforce:
Digital transformation covers all areas of your business from consumer engagement to internal communications. This will require that when you hire a next-generation workforce it should be one that is already savvy with an ability to adapt to constant change.
5. Look for others who can carry the load:
Traditional business models have in many cases demanded that an organization look to own or develop their own custom technical solutions due to security concerns or a belief that their solutions will provide them with a competitive edge. It is time to rethink the way we utilise those SaaS platforms and existing solutions to optimise your business, creating solid relationships with technical and digital solutions providers who can help carry to the development load.