Digital transformation refers to the adoption of digital processes and tools to achieve strategic business goals and automate operational processes. It’s a complex, multifaceted process that represents a massive cultural shift in the workplace and impacts every part of an organisation.
Digital has transformed how we shop, listen to music, read the news, order food, travel and make dentist appointments. It has radically changed the way we communicate and replaced our ability to patiently wait for something with a deep desire for immediate satisfaction.
So to keep up with customer expectations and competitors, businesses need to steadily evolve too. Yet according to technology media company IDG, 89% of companies plan to adopt a digital-first strategy, but only 44% of them have actually done it. If your business is among the 56% stuck on the planning (or pre-planning) phase, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
But what does “digital transformation” mean for your business?
How do you take that big, abstract concept and turn it into actions and strategies that will benefit your employees as well as your customers?
In this Digital Transformation series, we break down the concept into meaningful parts and provide concrete tips for how your business can begin to develop and implement an effective digital transformation strategy that encourages team members to contribute their best work and keeps customers happy.
Fundamentally, digital transformation is about changing how teams work together, not just what tech they’re using to get that work done.
What it means to be a digital business
When it comes to digital transformation, it’s tempting to fixate on the digital part—the platforms and processes—rather than the transformation part. The idea that you could just buy the right software and instantly increase productivity is appealing. But fundamentally, digital transformation is about changing how teams work together, not just what tech they’re using to get that work done. There are three critical parts of your business that have to work together in sync in order to transform the business into a digital first organisation.
While digital transformation looks different in every company, digital businesses share some fundamental characteristics:
Every member of the organisation is meaningfully involved in achieving a shared vision. This means working together at different levels of the organisation and across teams to build trust, promote transparency, and engage employees.
Requires shifting away from traditional business structures and hierarchies and empowering employees to make decisions and contribute ideas.
Cloud-based services are economical and agile, allowing businesses to choose the ones that meet their needs and streamline their IT and infrastructure costs.
Customers expect ease and convenience from businesses, which means they need to be on mobile, where more than half of all web traffic is generated.
Digital businesses are always experimenting and then learning from the outcomes to inform larger changes across the company.
This isn’t a project with a start and end date. Technology will continue to evolve and call for adaptations to current processes, which means you need to keep learning and evolving.
This includes not only collecting and analysing data about your customers but measuring what’s happening inside your company too.
Ultimately, these shifts are all focused on providing a better service and a better experience for your customers.
Notice that none of these is about what your company does; they’re about how you do things. A digital transformation doesn’t change the core values or offerings of your business. Instead, it’s about developing a connected workplace culture and acquiring the tools that will support your strategic goals.
For example, most news apps like News24 uses data on audience engagement to generate internal alerts, letting staffers know when a story is performing well and merits a push notification. But the alerts don’t automate the process entirely; they generate important information that allows staff to communicate with one another about how to share the story with readers. Technology-enabled collaboration, not just data, was key to improving their processes and outcomes.
Part 5 of Digital Transformation will cover the 3 stages of transformation in more detail – PEOPLE, TECHNOLOGY & PROCESSES.
If you are keen to talk to us about transforming your business digitally,
please complete the form below: