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The definitive guide to effective digital transformation

by
Jason Curry
December 13, 2021
5
min(s)
As the world of work evolves, new trends are emerging. One such trend is the rise in digital transformation. This new way of working has been changing how companies operate for years now, and it is predicted to continue.

So, what is digital transformation? It is the process of evolving your business in accordance with new technologies that are disrupting industries. The goal is to be at the forefront of innovation and technology so that you can use it to improve efficiency and become agile.

Whether the digital transformation is just hype or not has been debated for a long time now. But it becomes more and more apparent that companies that can manage this change well will have an enormous advantage over their competitors in the future. 

The first step towards successful digital transformation is establishing a strategy with goals and guidelines. An essential aspect of any company's strategy should be to define what success means for them—do they want to increase revenue? Improve customer satisfaction? Increase traffic on their website? Once this goal has been set, the next step is to identify where your organization stands to achieve these goals.

This may sound like common sense, but many organizations don't consider this when they start working on their digital strategy.

As a result, companies are re-evaluating their business models at a molecular level. For the future realization of digital transformation efforts, this is excellent news. Refocusing essential business objective alignment, leadership, and digital culture topples barriers and erects the proper infrastructure for digital transformation.

Essential features for effective digital transformation

Aligning with and committing to a singular business objective

For your digital transformation to succeed, the first step is to determine your business needs and objectives. Once this is finalized, you can start building your digital transformation strategy. 

The best place to start is your firm’s short-term and long-term goals. This allows the senior management to create a much more effective digital transformation roadmap. Furthermore, the firm’s clear business value must be identified as well. 

Here is where KPIs prove to be the difference. There seems to be an unspoken belief in a mythical digital transformation vacuum where digital solutions hit KPIs and give a business new lifeblood without really getting in the mix. Snap back to real life, where digital transformation rests its total weight upon the core pillars of the business. This is where the real work begins.

The following details that you need to focus on are growth or gains. That is the question. There is no best option — it all depends on what path makes the most sense for your long-term business goals. 

A growth plan centers around:

  • KPIs that embody a high-risk, high-reward mentality
  • Employing more investigative tactics
  • Strongly supported and relentless R+D efforts
  • A test-and-learn mentality
  • High levels of awareness of ops margins/expenses and marketing budget
  • Reinvesting and scaling up high opportunity growth avenues
  • Discovery of new business channels and improved sales processes

A gains plan focuses on:

  • Completion and analysis of a full audit of operational systems
  • Finding opportunities to increase ops margins
  • Building new, more efficient internal systems
  • Optimization of (often already existing) products and services
  • Investment in lower-risk cash sources
  • Prioritization of more predictable and established business channels

Ultimately, leadership must have the ability and courage to choose, build toward, and invest in one of these objectives.

Moving the right mountains with the right leadership

Change in any form of organization starts from the top, and digital transformation is no different. For digital transformation to be a resounding success, it is crucial to have a leader focusing on this aspect. 

According to a study conducted by Mckinsey, an estimated 70% of respondents revealed that their organizations saw a leadership shuffle during the stages of digital transformation. This is because organizations bring in leaders who are familiar with digital technologies. Hence, it is critical to have a dedicated leader overseeing the digital transformation process. 

Moreover, while planning the digital transformation efforts of the organization, the senior management needs to answer the following questions:

  • Do we have the right leaders in the right places?
  • Do these leaders have the resources (people and budget) they need?
  • Where do we see the need for third-party involvement?
  • What kind of timeline do we have set for this, and is it reasonable with our structure?

Simply put, each leader must perform their defined role, and only that role, in achieving the objective of effective digital transformation.


Implementing a digital-first culture

Digital transformation strategies can only prove to be successful if cultural and behavioral changes are implemented too. And for both these changes to take effect, the full support of employees is vital. Empowering employees to embrace digital transformation and the aforementioned changes can be implemented using two methods.

First is through the formal route, wherein the senior management reinforces new manners of working as long as it’s in sync with the organizational objectives. Referencing the earlier Mckinsey study, respondents mentioned that digital transformation strategies were more successful when organizations set up new working practices such as open work environments and continuous learning.

The second method is to involve the employees in reinforcing changes across departments. This can be done by allowing employees to learn from their mistakes and rapid prototyping. Such facets will instill confidence in employees’ minds regarding digital transformation, thus encouraging them to be proactive, leading to a successful digital transformation. 


Digital transformation is business transformation

In many cases, the first step is admitting you have a problem. It is the very nature of businesses to be diverse and subjective. But these different perspectives and tactical approaches need to be unified if the company wants to grow or gain.

For example, if you want to launch a new app but your existing code and web framework are broken (even in seemingly small, functional ways), the enhancement will end up further exposing the underlying issues. 

Digital transformation can neither change nor fix a business that does not address directional, leadership, or brand problems. All companies have barriers and challenges, especially heading into uncharted territory. These issues must be addressed as part of the plan, and we can help you pull it off with the help of our brilliant team. So, reach out to us and let us pave the way for your digital transformation roadmap.

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Jason Curry

Jason Curry worked at Mutual Mobile as the Senior Director of Marketing.

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