Did you know that some governments have published their plans for digital transformation? It is so completely necessary that they feel the need to assure the public they're keeping up.
Yet many executives have only taken baby steps toward implementing digital changes for business transformation. They keep their websites up to date and like to talk about transformation ideas.
But more needs to be done.
Digital transformation ideas have to be put into practice. And they have to be solid enough to shift business cultures and operations.
Who is leading digital transformation in your company, and are they doing enough? Here's how to make sure your business doesn't get left behind.
Digital transformation means different things to different parties. Fundamental to all definitions though is openness to change.
It is rethinking tried and tested operating models that may not last the next five years. It is becoming agile enough as a business to adapt to rapidly changing world circumstances. And it is an openness to experimentation despite the risk of failure.
But digital transformation is not just a vague attitude shift. In practical terms, it can be divided into two areas: physical and cultural change.
Digital transformation requires action. Some of the most necessary physical changes are making business operations digital.
That involves integrating technology in all areas of the business. Embracing automation and artificial intelligence helps businesses to do so.
Staffing changes can help bring these adjustments about. For example, IT teams may need to become significantly larger or more highly skilled than was previously required.
Is it digital transformation or digital business transformation? Making physical changes to automate your business operations has an added benefit. It makes business more flexible, agile, and adaptable. What does this accomplish?
It means businesses can react faster to changes in the market, supply chains, or other external factors.
For example, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, the businesses that managed to stay afloat were the ones that could adapt fast enough. They could effectively manage supply chain issues. And they communicated clearly enough with consumers that they retained them.
For this to be possible, businesses need to change their internal attitudes. The mindset of teams within the business needs to be as adaptable as their technology.
But this cultural shift starts with executives. If individuals or teams at the top of the chain of command don’t adapt, neither will anyone else.
Because digital transformation requires people to challenge the status quo.
Bold experimentation in unchartered territory often leads to failure. If those at the top aren’t transforming their attitudes accordingly, teams below them will be too cautious to adapt. This can even negatively affect retention.
But if they see executives bravely spearheading experimental new initiatives, they will be willing to do so too.
With all this in mind, how do companies begin their digital transformation? The starting place for individual projects or organization-wide change is always a goal. A business’ goal could be:
Once a goal has been set, executives can start to establish the physical and cultural changes needed to achieve it.
For example, a business may be set on improving its customer experience. Those responsible would then set about deciding and enacting the digital changes needed. That could include overhauling the website and communication procedures, or using more adaptable suppliers.
What about the cultural changes? For the initiative to be a success, the cultural changes need to have already happened.
For teams to innovate and experiment enough that their new projects actually make a difference, they need to get comfortable with failure. Attitudes need to shift to accept that maybe only one in every ten digital transformation ideas will work. And they must truly believe that those above them will support them nonetheless.
What will happen to businesses that don’t get on board with digital changes? What always happens to those who don’t keep up – they fail.
It won’t be the expected but temporary failure that comes with innovation. It is permanent failure. In other words, slowly losing your customer base to competitors until you have none left.
The world is only getting more digital and automated. If your business isn’t willing to make the changes to keep up, it will be left behind. So what can you do?
The burden of responsibility to start this process lies with CIOs, CTOs, and CEOs. As we’ve explained, they need to be setting the example within their organizations.
In future, this role may be moved to tech executive teams responsible for maintaining business transformation. For now though, it is generally up to a few individuals.
Starting from scratch is a daunting task.
Everyone wants better productivity and to know their customers better. So how do you choose a goal? And how do you make it actionable?
At the beginning of the process, it’s best to bring in the experts.
Digital transformation consultants can help you hit the ground running. These firms have already kickstarted digital transformation in countless businesses across several industries.
They have tried and tested models that help businesses of all sizes begin the process. Whatever your goal, they have proven methods to start and maintain the strategies needed to accomplish it.
Who is leading digital transformation? It should be CIOs, CTOs, and CEOs, but they don’t have to do it alone.
Digital transformation firms are here to guide you through the process. And we’ll demonstrate how to continue generating transformation ideas after our collaboration.
We know the digital changes needed for business transformation. Let us work with you to put into practice digital transformation ideas that will work for you long term.