Small and large companies alike are embracing digital transformation to gain a competitive edge. Here are three best practices to help your organization avoid common pitfalls.
For many enterprises, digital transformation has become somewhat of a nebulous term. A CIO might refer to company-wide cloud migration as a form of digital transformation, whereas a designer may consider a website rebrand a form of digital transformation.
While these actions might encapsulate certain components of the phrase, they don’t fully encompass the true spirit of what it means for an enterprise to embrace digital solutions and adapt to the future.
Digital transformation refers to a complete rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people, and processes. By reconsidering the implementation of digital initiatives into core business practices, large and small companies alike can improve the methods with which they solve traditional business problems. This can include optimizing customer support systems, enhancing supply chain management, or even improving how a retail team moves around a sales floor.
In order to undergo a successful digital transformation, IT teams must do more than just update old equipment or change a few processes. Instead, they must lead an overarching cultural change that challenges the status quo of daily operations.
So far, 34 percent of companies, both large and small, have already undergone some form of digital transformation. For the most part, these efforts have been successful — Garter reports that 56 percent of CEOs believe digital improvements have led to significant revenue growth. What’s more, IDC estimates that 40 percent of all technology spending will go toward digital transformations, with enterprises spending over $2 trillion by the end of 2019.
It’s advisable for your IT teams to make the effort to keep up with these digital trends. But before you invest your time, money, and resources into new initiatives, it’s important to be aware of some best practices to help you avoid common pitfalls of digital transformation.
1. Put the Customer First
One of the unique aspects of digital transformation is that it is in many ways being driven by customers. Consumers these days are “always-connected”, which means that your business must embrace technology to meet a customer’s needs and offer them an excellent customer experience.
According to research from IDC, two-thirds of organizations are shifting their focus from traditional offline strategies to modern digital strategies to improve their customer experience practices by the end of this year. Of those companies, 34 percent believe they’ll undergo a full digital transformation within 12 months or less.
When adopting these new strategies, every IT decision should be made with your customer in mind. It’s important to ask how any changes might affect the way customers interact with your company. How are pre-existing digital channels faring? What isn’t working on your company website? Are there opportunities to reach new audiences with digital tools? Laying out this groundwork before beginning any sort of outward-facing transformation will significantly improve the success rate of your digital initiatives.
2. Support Your Employees’ Growth
Employees often struggle to learn and adapt to new technologies, but their attitude towards embracing digital change will be paramount to the success of your digital transformation. It falls to CIOs and company leaders to develop the digital talent and skills needed to ensure a smooth transition into new digital processes.
To do so, it’s important to make clear to employees how specific roles fit into the overarching transformation taking place at your company. By setting clear guidelines in redefining an employee’s role and responsibilities, you can empower them to do their job better and also make them feel good about their contributions to the larger team. In fact, a McKinsey survey reports that enterprises are 1.5 times more likely to undergo a successful digital transformation when their employees feel supported by leadership.
To best support your employees, CIOs should offer company-wide programs to develop skills for coaching others in new ways of problem-solving. It’s also a good idea for IT leaders to do some internal surveying to gauge the gaps between current skills and necessary skills so they can better delegate and assign new digital workloads. Perhaps most importantly, CIOs should offer individual learning courses so non-tech savvy workers can develop key technical skills that will help them learn new programs.
For organizations to digitally transform, they must be sure their workers are given the right digital toolkits for success. This doesn’t just mean updating a computer from time-to-time — enterprises should equip their employees with the appropriate emerging technologies to better streamline new digital processes.
This means it’s important that CIOs modify their standard operating procedures to include new technologies. This might mean implementing new wearables on the retail floor to help a sales associate communicate with a floor manager, or perhaps giving a department leader better presentation technology to share updates with their team.
It doesn’t matter what industry your company is in, or how small or large your staff is: IT leaders will all face the responsibility of carrying out a digital transformation sooner or later. This shift is simply the way of the future in order for your business to remain competitive in its market.
Although it may seem daunting at first, CIOs and IT teams do not need to brave this territory alone — Turn-Key Technologies, Inc. (TTI) is happy to help usher your enterprise into a new era of technology.
With nearly three decades of experience in enterprise IT support, TTI is dedicated to helping businesses deploy, manage, and secure large-scale enterprise networks. With a wide array of managed services, we can help your enterprise transition legacy systems into state-of-the-art networks, no matter the scale.
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