Digital transformation is seemingly at the top of every organization’s agenda. From marketing to manufacturing to finance, business departments of all types are quickly awakening to the many benefits offered by today’s digital tools.
Digital transformation describes the strategic use of digital technologies to accelerate business activities, processes, competencies, and models. According to technology media company IDG, 89% of companies plan to adopt a digital-first strategy, but only 44% of them have done it. If your business is among the 56% stuck in the planning (or pre-planning) phase, you’re not alone.
When it comes to digital transformation, it’s tempting to focus on the digital component—the platforms and processes—rather than the transformation part. Although the idea that you could buy the right software and instantly increase productivity is appealing, how you get there often poses a more significant challenge.
If you’re among the many making digital transformation a priority for your organization, here are four things to consider as you do so:
1. Create a Digital Roadmap and Vision
Digital transformation isn’t about merely adopting new technologies, then calling it a day. On the other hand, it’s a holistic endeavour that requires a specific vision for how these digital tools will be leveraged as well as a detailed plan for execution across the organization.
Before kickstarting your digital transformation, it’s vital to assess your organizational goals for the digital transformation. Are you hoping to improve your workforce’s productivity levels? Provide a better customer experience? By considering short-term (one year), mid-term (three to five years), and long-term (10-20 years) goals, stakeholders involved in your digital transformation can ensure the overall vision makes sense with your digital strategy.
During this phase, it’s also critical to develop a digital transformation budget. How much you’re willing to spend on a quarterly or annual basis will determine which technologies you’re able to implement when, and it will also force you to prioritize which projects come first.
Once you have a digital roadmap in place, be sure to communicate your plans and goals effectively with your workforce. Keeping them in the loop will help your digital transformation run smoothly and ensures your employees have a strong sense of your future plans.
2. Find Ways to Digitize Day-to-Day Activities
When you first begin your digital transformation journey, it’s often beneficial to first implement small changes that can also have a substantial impact on the day-to-day. Incorporating digital tools into your employees’ everyday responsibilities can be an effective way to begin the digital transformation process, while also positively impacting productivity, efficiency, and even employee satisfaction.
A Pew Research Center report found that 46% of today’s professionals find that even the most simple of today’s technologies, like email, internet, and cell phones help them to be more productive—imagine the value that new technologies might add.
For example, implementing a productivity software solution can help you streamline your processes, increase productivity, and encourage collaboration across all departments. When you invest in productivity software, you’re taking the first step toward implementing solutions that make tasks easier for every person involved in a project—from the clients and frontline staff to the IT team working behind the scenes to ensure everything is running smoothly.
3. Invest in Research and Development
As you begin investing in new technologies for your organization, it’s critical to partner with vendors that place a priority on continuous research and development in their products. This ensures your organization is not the only current on technology when you first implement it but continues to stay up to date on emerging technologies in the future too.
Working with a vendor that consistently updates its products with the latest features, capabilities, and best practices offer you a better return on investment and lower the risk of technology obsolescence.
Before selecting your technology partners, be sure to inquire about their research and development (R&D) spending. Not all vendors put forth the same investment into R&D; for example, Infor Lawson dedicates just $489 million annually, whereas other leaders in the space spend up to $6 billion. Opting into technologies with a priority on R&D is sure to benefit your business’ digital transformation in the long run, as it will allow you to stay current on digital capabilities long after you make an initial investment.
4. Consistently Evaluate and Adjust
No matter how good a digital transformation strategy may be, there is always room to grow. As both your company and industry needs evolve, these changes will become even more crucial. Having consistent and ongoing evaluations is essential to long-term success.
Be sure to check in on the status of your short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. Are you on pace to achieve these milestones in your digital transformation? Be sure to collect data along the way that can indicate whether or not your digital transformation has been successful thus far. How have these digital technologies impacted your workforce, your products, and your overall output? Be ready to pivot your strategy if you haven’t experienced the results you expected.
There’s a lot to consider when deploying a digital transformation strategy, but ignoring the digital transformation is no longer an option for businesses that want to remain competitive in today’s marketplace. Be sure to use these tips to your benefit to enact a strategy that runs smoothly and efficiently.
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Director of Marketing & Inbound Business Development