In today’s modern age of rapid change, the digital ecosystem is transforming at an incredible pace. Companies are looking for technology and software to stay competitive but face some challenges.
Digital Transformation is a vague term that means different things to different organizations. For some, it means using technology to improve and transform their business. For others, it’s optimizing the same technology as they don’t feel updates are necessary.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the process of developing and implementing new strategies to stay ahead of the competition in today’s ever-changing business world. It encompasses a company’s technological development and enhances its capabilities to keep up with evolving customer needs and preferences. These enhancements can also be used to meet employee needs and preferences. To achieve digital transformation across an organization, it’s important to plan stages, processes and to employ the right technology and talent at the right time.
Related Read- Question to ask about Digital Transformation
Digital Transformation leverages digital technologies to create new or modify existing business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. Integrating digital technology into all business areas fundamentally changes how an enterprise operates and delivers value to customers.
The 4 Common Areas of Digital Transformation
- Process Transformation helps automate manual tasks and improve internal operations, improving corporate efficiency and productivity.
- Business Model Transformation leverages technological advances to create new business models and revenue sources.
- Domain Transformation applies technology to specific areas, such as cloud computing and AI-based decision-making.
- Cultural/Organizational Transformation utilizes technology solutions to enact organization-wide changes that foster innovation, collaboration, digital transformation, and modernize structures or processes.
Real-World Examples of Successful Digital Transformation Initiatives
Digital transformation is all around us. Let’s look at some examples of digital transformation.
Digital Transformation Through Implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System:
To address the above challenges, they implemented Oracle (ERP). Therap Services LLC provides documentation and communication software for the disability and healthcare industries. The company experienced many challenges due to its lack of real-time performance insights. This made it difficult for them to make informed decisions and identify improvement areas. Furthermore, their limited cross-departmental communication resulted in inefficient operations due to the creation of data silos.
To address the above challenges, they implemented Oracle (ERP).
As a result of the ERP system, a single platform was able to centralize managing finances, procurement, and supply chain operations. Many manual processes were automated, resulting in reliable and consistent data, improved decision-making, and increased productivity.
Doing so allowed Therap Services to decrease manual errors, boost collaboration and communication between departments, and foster growth for their business. The new system gave the company real-time visibility into its performance, making it easier to identify areas for improvement. Communication and collaboration across departments also improved, leading to increased operational efficiency.
Digital Transformation Through Implementing an IT Service Management (ITSM) System:
To manage its IT infrastructure and services, Deutsche Bank needed help. The consequences of disjointed systems and manual processes were slow response times, high costs, and low customer satisfaction. Deutsche Bank implemented ServiceNow’s ITSM solution to address these challenges, which offers a central platform for managing its IT services, including incident management, change management, and asset management. The ITSM solution automates manual processes, resulting in fewer errors and greater efficiency.
Implementing an ITSM solution helped Deutsche Bank improve its IT operations in many ways. Firstly, it has allowed the bank to streamline its IT operations, resulting in faster response times and improved customer satisfaction. Secondly, the ITSM solution has provided real-time visibility into the bank’s IT infrastructure, allowing for better decision-making and more informed responses to changes in the IT environment.
Integrating Deutsche Bank’s existing systems with ITSM improved the overall customer experience, which led to increased competitiveness and growth for the bank.
Digital Transformation Through Implementing a Human Capital Management (HCM) System:
Unilever, a leading global consumer goods company, faced challenges managing its global workforce from relying on disparate HR systems, leading to inefficiencies, delays, and low employee satisfaction.
It’s no secret that managing a global workforce is a complex and time-consuming endeavor. With employees in dozens of countries, each with its local laws and customs, it’s challenging to keep track of everything. That’s why Unilever decided to implement a Workday HCM solution.
By implementing the Workday HCM solution, Unilever managed its workforce more effectively, resulting in happier and more productive employees. The solution also allowed Unilever to understand its workforce better, leading to more informed decisions about its workforce.
Human capital management (HCM) solutions, such as Workday, eliminate many manual procedures, creating fewer mistakes and accelerating effectiveness. Additionally, it allows instantaneous insights into the organization’s global labor force, aiding in making better decisions and providing more informed answers to differences in the labor surroundings.
The world is becoming increasingly interconnected, and the need for technology adoption has increased tenfold. We’re creating a new digital landscape in which businesses and consumers can seamlessly interact. Digitally mature companies are 26% more profitable than their less mature peers.
A digital transformation can be a multi-year process involving changing how you do business. It is more than just data transformation. It involves changing business processes, culture, and skills. It is a learning process for the people involved. Below you’ll learn the 7 best practices for successful digital transformation.
7 Best Practices for Successful Digital Transformation
1. Understanding the Organization’s Problem
The first step for a successful digital transformation is determining your organization’s business problem. Diagnosing and solving an organizational problem can be difficult. Too often, people try to solve the symptoms instead of the cause.
One of the American national banks–a subsidiary of a large multinational group wanted to upgrade and modernize its planning systems to comply with data integrity regulations. Maintaining up-to-date forecasts, planning, and portfolio projections is essential for banks. It requires reliable data and oversight to make fast, informed decisions.
To ensure quality oversight, smooth enterprise decision-making, and real-time updates, they looked to the digital adoption platform, Apty, for assistance in driving their digital adoption process. With help from an enterprise DAP, the bank achieved its goal of training personnel and maintaining high data standards across its organization.
Having a vision for digital transformation can help people understand what is possible and how they need to change to achieve it. A common mistake is to focus on technology but ignores other areas, such as culture or business processes. A holistic approach to solving an organization’s problem reduces bottlenecks, resistance, and further potential issues during the digital adoption phase of digital transformation.
2. Hiring Experienced Talent
In a digital transformation, it is important to hire experienced talent. This is because there are many unknowns in the digital world, and the best way to solve them is by using their experience.
A veteran employee has a vast history of experience which can help any organization detect issues during your transformation process beforehand. These employees have the capability to eliminate digital barriers. Creating a feedback loop for them to be a part of is key to keeping communication and checkpoints open for them to share their insight. They can also help train other employees, who can guide others and quell initial fears about the unknown. Ensure success by giving these veterans a way to contribute and hold a strong role in the company’s growth. Experienced employees are more self-aware, multi-skilled, and adaptable, deliver more for less, and bring stability and expertise to your organization.
Suppose you don’t have experienced employees specialized in the transformation goal you want to achieve (software, personnel, learning & development, technology). In that case, it’s ok to get help outside your organization: consultants, vendors, partners, or former colleagues are all great resources. This 3rd-party assistance can help you implement a learning management system, especially for complicated software deployed across an entire enterprise.
Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, is a great example of how to successfully introduce new technology into a workplace whilst making use of experienced and talented employees. Under Nadella’s guidance, Microsoft has undergone an impressive digital transformation; cloud computing and AI are at the heart of this. He has enabled his staff to lead the charge with this transformation – allowing them to bring their expertise to build new technologies for the market. For example, their Azure cloud platform, which rivals Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud, has become a key contributor to the business’s success. This is down to the veteran Microsoft personnel who knew their way around the company’s technology and could propel its presence in the cloud computing sector. Ultimately, Nadella’s strategy has seen Microsoft stay at the cutting edge of tech and remain competitive in an ever-evolving digital landscape.
3. Developing Skills for Transformation
Every industry is disrupted by digital transformation, and companies need to adapt or risk being left behind. Enterprises are embracing digital technologies and transforming their businesses to survive and thrive in this new environment.
But this is not an easy task. It requires a different set of skills. Companies need innovative, creative, and agile employees who keep learning and focusing on developing their skills to succeed in the digital age. Sometimes grit and eagerness to learn are better qualities in an employee than already possessing the needed skills the position requires. It’s about their growth potential and, therefore, the company’s growth.
The digital transformation of the workplace demands a set of skills to ensure its successful implementation. Employees should have technical proficiency, which simply refers to utilizing technology to support business objectives. Digital literacy extends this notion and involves proficiency with various digital tools, platforms, and mobile devices. Analytical thinking is also needed to use data effectively; employees must be able to turn insights into decisions. Collaboration is necessary given the cross-functional teaming aspects that accompany such transformations, while adaptability is imperative in high-velocity environments where technology can rapidly evolve. Finally, creativity helps new ideas flourish as solutions to existing challenges come forth.
If your employees are eager to learn, then help them grow. Invest in training, learning, development, and employee efficiencies that can increase productivity, employee engagement, and positive experiences with the newly introduced technology. If their skills are nurtured to grow with the new digital transformation initiative, then they are more likely to have increased buy-in, motivation, and interest in adopting the change.
Effective talent management is at the heart of any successful digital transformation—ensuring that your employees have the right skill set for the new environment that digital transformation brings. In fact, organizations with highly skilled employees are twice as likely to succeed in a digital economy than those who don’t invest in their people’s development.
Tip 1: Utilize a mentoring program. Read more about it in this Forbes article.
Tip 2: Implement an appropriate change management strategy.
4. Handling New Opportunities and Risk
The first step to digital transformation is to understand the risks involved. When a new challenge arises, companies and employees must evaluate the opportunities and risks to make an informed decision.
New technologies are mitigating and evaluating these opportunities and risks for you. For example, digital immunity systems reduce tech downtime by pooling cumulative data from analytics, operations, design, and development to identify, process, and resolve problems. Digital orchestration also allows data to be compiled, analyzed, and used to take action to reduce, mitigate, or prevent risks altogether. Predictive digital adoption platforms are also a wave of the future that can help with human errors during software onboarding, training, and change management processes.
But these new platforms do not negate the manual evaluation process needed when confronting a new digital transformation initiative. For example, when implementing an ERP like Workday or Oracle across an entire enterprise as a part of a business transformation initiative, you must weigh the opportunities and risks of this software rollout. Risks could include a failed digital transformation process due to unsuccessful software adoption. By weighing and addressing potential reasons for failed software adoption beforehand, you could mitigate these risks making them null and void. Failed software adoption could result from employee resistance, negative culture, lack of communication, or insufficient training in how to use the new software.
The opportunities of any implementation should outweigh the risks. Successful Workday implementation could result in:
- Connected communications
- Better leadership oversight
- Real-time analytics for informed decisions
- Better employee experiences
- Increased employee productivity.
It’s also important not to get too fixated on “a deadline,” as this can cause companies to lose sight of their goals and forget why they’re working towards them in the first place. Mishandling new opportunities and risks can lead to financial loss, missed opportunities, and even employee turnover, so taking the time to assess the situation and make plans is crucial.
5. Investing in the Right Technology
In a Thomson Reuters survey, 70 percent of surveyed organizations said a top priority for them to cut costs is “using tech to simplify workflows and manual processes.” Investing in the right technology is crucial to achieving successful digital transformation. Technology investments can make or break a company’s ability to compete effectively in today’s fast-changing environment.
- Choosing the right technology to meet your current and future needs
- Ensuring compatibility with other systems before implementation. With API integrations come security risks.
- Calculating software return on investment (ROI).
Digital transformation is not just a technology but also a change in business strategy. In today’s digital world, companies need to be able to adapt quickly and effectively to changes in their industry. A successful digital transformation depends on how well you invest in technology.
6. Nurturing Culture for Change
Digital transformation depends highly on an organization’s culture: the workforce’s ability to understand and adapt to your digital transformation and any collateral changes.
Evaluating the current culture that your organization follows and redefining it to be open to change helps achieve digital transformation goals.
- Identify new opportunities to engage leadership and employee.
- Invest time and energy into understanding your employees’ needs.
- Understand the weaknesses in your company culture.
- Do you have appropriate communication channels for feedback?
- Do you have a culture that allows for open and honest communications?
- Do your employees feel they make a difference and will be incorporated into or a large part of the change?
- This is crucial for developing buy-in and motivation to invest and achieve the company’s goals.
- Are your employees’ goals and pain points addressed in this change?
- If so, make it known to them. If not, make sure you address these concerns.
Open Security Culture ensures security awareness and knowledge sharing by making security practices and information accessible. It involves revealing policies, guidelines, best practices, and tools that foster collaboration and idea exchanges. Everyone benefits from Open Security Culture – individuals, organizations, and society as security posture results can improve through collective expertise and collaboration.
The challenge with culture change is that it’s not something that happens overnight. Changing company culture requires rethinking and even reorganizing initiatives, goals, and processes to achieve greater agility and responsiveness. With a company culture that is open, agile, flexible, and inspired by change, you can transform business processes, increase digital transformation, improve employee productivity, and in turn, grow your revenue.
7. Communication is Key
An organization’s digital transformation is only as good as its communication. The ability to communicate the vision and purpose of the transformation is key to success. Everyone in the organization should know where to focus and how to work together toward a common goal. As leaders, we must set these parameters and communicate them clearly and concisely to inspire and motivate.
Clear and open communication helps build trust and relationships within an organization, which are essential to successful digital transformation. Talking about the digital transformation strategy and conducting employee training sessions helps them prepare for any such changes.
One example of positive communication is Steve Jobs, renowned for his passionate and captivating talks, in which he conveyed Apple’s vision and values to the world. His distinct style of using uncomplicated language and personal stories left a lasting mark. Jobs also utilized technology, such as slideshows and live demonstrations, to emphasize his points and make them simpler to comprehend. With each of his talks, Jobs effectively articulated Apple’s brand image and laid out an encouraging base for the organization’s future success.
An example of a failed communication is of Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, who has been no stranger to controversy due to his tweets and public statements. In 2018, a tweet sparked speculation about taking Tesla private without consulting the board or legal advisors; this caused significant financial and legal repercussions. Corporate leaders need to ensure their communication practices are discussed and reviewed with relevant personnel before disseminating information to prevent uncoordinated communications from causing expensive consequences.
Additional Resource: Diving Deep into Communication Skills — Elon Musk vs Steve Jobs
Today’s business leaders are looking for ways to make their organizations agile and more responsive to emerging opportunities and disruptions. The rapid pace of technological change is making it imperative that they develop a strong, clear understanding of where they are today and where they want to be in the future. Read more about some digital transformation examples that can help you understand how digitally mature enterprises have prioritized and successfully achieved digital transformation.
As technology continues to advance at a record pace, organizations are finding it difficult to keep up. Organizations must find ways to improve their services through digital transformation to stay competitive.
Digital transformation relies on a successful change management & digital adoption strategy.