Digital Transformation is a Journey, Not a Destination

In Digital Transformation by Daniel NewmanLeave a Comment

Digital-Transformation-is-a-Journey-Not-a-DestinationSome companies think they can update their websites and in-house applications, buy a few new devices, and then call it a day—but that’s not the way digital transformation works. Instead, think about digital transformation as a moving target that is constantly evolving, and needs steady evaluation and updating to remain viable as a strategy.

Recognizing digital transformation as an evolutionary tactic isn’t enough, though. In fact, digital transformation goes far beyond just technology and tactics, but really it is about so much more. Sure, advances in technology are happening at a rapid rate, and many struggle to keep pace. As soon as the approval, installation, and implementation process finishes and users are comfortable using a solution, inevitably some “new shiny thing” appears on the horizon. But the rapid technology shift is just the beginning. People, culture, leadership and experience focused customer engagements are also core to achieving a complete digital transformation.

With this multi-faceted shift towards a more digital organization, it creates many challenges. Perhaps more than anything else it creates an endless and exhausting cycle of change that can slow down any company not ready to wholeheartedly embrace the potential of technology. In those with traditional legacies, the resistance to change is almost palpable, making digital transformation difficult to embrace and even more difficult to achieve.

If that sounds like your enterprise—or you haven’t even begun making a digital transformation—you may wonder how you’ll ever go from point A to point B, much less travel further through the alphabet. The good news is every company has the potential to maximize the digital transformation journey.

Here’s how to get started:

Get executive level buy-in.

Whether you’ve already taken a few small steps towards digital transformation, or just starting on your journey, you’ll need buy-in from the C-suite. Focus on earning executive management approvals for technological innovation over the long-term before you pitch individual solutions. Present realistic goals to ensure management understands the importance of maintaining momentum over time. Digital transformation is pointless if it doesn’t facilitate strong relationships between employees and a company, and consumers and brands. Leadership is key to making this a reality.

Identify and support your champions.

Every business needs legacy champions. These individuals are well respected in the organization and can help influence the higher-ups when it comes to tech adoption and implementation. Have them continually reinforce the benefits of the changes that are happening, and share their own experiences using the technology. Attitude—even fear—can become a big obstacle in digital transformation. Having trusted support teams in place at all levels of the organization can help improve user adoption rates while reinforcing the idea that technological change is a positive change.

Drive Customer to the Core.

In the era of experiential marketing, customers are not only defined by how they feel about a brand during a transaction, but instead by how they feel about every interaction they have with a brand from the time they first connect. With customers seeking to do more and more of their own research, digital has become the main vehicle for brands to connect and engage customers. This means that the digital and physical engagement from brands needs to not only have a strong digital footprint but consistency in how customers are engaged on a vast array of channels.

Prioritize ease of use.

When you add a new tool to your digital strategy, someone on your team will have to learn how to use it. Make sure any managed service providers you might be dealing with will allow “test runs.” That allows the people who will use the solution to try it out, hands-on, before you have to make a costly commitment. If your people hate the user experience, you could end up wasting money on a costly solution instead of building efficiency and driving ROI.

Encourage innovation throughout the company.

The motivation to adopt new technology and the innovative ideas that take a business to the next level can come from any department in your organization. Instead of relying on a focus group or “your creatives” like marketing to suggest the latest tech or generate ideas, consider opening the floor to the entire enterprise.

Sometimes employees keep their heads down for fear of rocking the boat, or sounding unsatisfied with the status quo. You may find ideas management might have overlooked. As an added benefit, opening up the floor for creativity boosts morale, helps employees feel included, and inspires loyalty.

Go mobile.

Going mobile means investing in cloud storage and application management, and embracing remote work and overall independence from on-premise solutions. Make sure your employees can easily update or install new apps or software to make adoption and use easier than ever. Mobile solutions also help IT personnel troubleshoot, update, or make changes from a remote location.

Broaden your horizon.

A company that only focuses its digital transformation efforts on customer acquisition is two dimensional Remember to build and nurture your relationships with the customers you already have. Use the digital transformation to round out your business. Show consumers your mission-oriented side with community outreach and social campaigns. Strong, mission focused operations often grow their businesses because of their willingness to appear “human” through charity work, or community based “good deeds.”

There’s no shortage of companies that have successfully embraced digital transformation. From startups to legacy firms, each understands the importance of this process to stay current. While every company’s digital transformation journey is unique, there are similarities that all companies must consider when taking on this critical shift. Start by building leadership consensus and a culture that is ripe for change, then begin looking for the tech solutions you need to build a strong bridge between your business, employees and consumers today and into the future. Like a real bridge, just remember you need to bolster the supports occasionally to keep the crossing safe.

Additional Information on this Topic:

What Small Businesses Need to Know About Digital Transformation and Disruption
Digital Transformation: Bridging Business and IT
6 Predictions about the Future of Digital Transformation

This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. For more on these topics, visit Dell’s thought leadership site Power More. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.

photo credit: Tablet use 2 via photopin (license)

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.

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