Is your reliance on outdated processes and tools holding your business back?
The pace of change is increasing exponentially in the enterprise business, and the delta between the haves and the have-nots gets wider with every passing day. Are you keeping up? It’s time to meet the world of digital transformation—a holistic approach to bringing your business practices in line with the impact the digital revolution has had on the world at large, and on business in particular. And this doesn’t just mean getting rid of your printer and migrating to ‘the cloud,’ or shoehorning some shiny new technology into an outdated, analog-reliant workflow. Digital transformation, at its core, is about optimizing your business functions, processes, tools, interactions, and transactions to align them with the evolving digital world.
Sounds complicated? It doesn’t have to be—and this guide is here to help.
Define Digital Transformation
Digital transformation (DX) is, in essence, the practice of using digital technologies to remake business processes and make them more efficient and effective. But to keep pace with the competition, this goes beyond implementing one-off tech solutions or overhyped ‘innovation’ drivers for the sake of…well, innovating. To truly leverage the disruptive power of digital transformation, your business has to uproot existing processes and, essentially, start from scratch—building digital benefits into your enterprise DNA.
“The adoption of these technologies doesn’t mean you’re digitally transformed, even if you are digitized. Most of these technologies have been applied to existing processes: to digitize or computerize those processes, mainly for efficiency. Paper forms became electronic forms, cash became bits, paper documents became PDFs and HTML pages, sales transaction logs, and invoices became sales-force automation and ERP. The underlying nature, at least to start, was the same, but now digital only.” – Galen Gruman, InfoWorld, 2016
What does digital transformation look like in your industry, your geography and at your operational size, and how can you apply that to your business?
Put the ‘Transform’ in ‘Transformation’
So what does truly transformative change look like? While advancements like the Internet of Things, business intelligence, cloud computing, and A.I. will play a role, it’s important to note they aren’t the be-all-end-all of DX. A commitment to true transformation means reevaluating existing business models and processes, rather than layering new technology onto outdated process or service delivery. Ultimately, the digital transformation should create an improvement over the status quo, whether that be customer experience, employee efficiency, or supply chain.
The first step in a DX initiative is knowing what you want to achieve. Without setting goals and milestones, how will you know whether you’re achieving success? Identifying key performance indicators and business objectives will help you avoid the trap of ‘change for the sake of change’ and allow you to optimize process on the fly.
After you’ve identified your goals, set regular check-ins with a close eye on the KPIs and metrics that support your objectives and ensure you’ve got a solid feedback loop established to evaluate progress at scheduled intervals.
Find Your Champions
Whose responsibility is Digital Transformation? It isn’t just an IT problem—cross-functional buy-in is essential for finding DX success. When it comes to both developing and implementing a DX strategy, remember that the objective is a holistic integration of the digital into your organization’s culture. Having a top-down rollout conceived of and mandated by IT won’t get you any closer to these goals—you need buy-in from every department. According to a survey of enterprise DX initiatives by Forbes, ‘cross-functional teams are not involved enough in the development or implementation strategy (40% and 35%, respectively), with the bulk of this work done by IT (50% and 54%, respectively). Dedicated teams are active at the development stage (51%), but unfortunately, fall off at the implementation stage (29%). This is not a good sign since implementation often calls for business and technology adjustments, some of which may be beyond the scope of IT.’
Identify your DX champions in each business unit, involve them early in the process, and have them provide input on how technology would better help them achieve business goals. Have them share best practices, collaborate on ideas, and assist in ground-level rollouts and implementations. Remember, digital transformation is everyone’s problem (or, rather, everyone’s opportunity), and any and all business functions should reap the benefits if instituted correctly.
Digital Transformation Never Sleeps
Consider the rate of innovation over the past five years. Now consider the five years before that. And again before that. Now, consider that 21 percent of business or technology decision makers believe their digital transformation is already done. Not by a long shot. In fact, digital transformation spending is estimated to top $1 trillion this year alone—and if you aren’t spending some of that, your competitors undoubtedly are. You can’t afford to optimize your business for internal and external customers only every half-decade, and if you’re taking this approach to digital transformation, you’re already losing.
Leverage your internal committee of champions to keep abreast of internal and external pressures, identify further opportunities for transformation, keep an eye on emerging tech trends and always remain vigilant about how they can augment your current business practices. Lastly, remember that true digital transformation will always provide value—both to the business, the employees that work there, the partners that support you, and the customers that purchase your products—and truly effective transformation, when done right, can have a profound impact on all of these.
OnActuate Will Take You Digital
Having digital pieces to your business operations isn’t the same as closing in a true digital business transformation. The time to plan and consider your DX strategy is now because innovation never rests and neither does the competition. Technology is everywhere, and we can help you use it to truly transform your business into a lean, efficient and highly service-oriented operation.