Businesses of all kinds, life cycle stages, and sizes are grappling with digital transformation and the magnitude of its importance in maintaining a competitive edge. That digital transformation is essential is not lost on anyone in the business world, from the small start-up to the enterprise level, and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and global lockdowns have only sent the “digital transformation imperative” into overdrive. Now, more than ever, there is an immediate need to shift and adapt to a digital-driven strategy. But how do we start to move past the buzzword and into deeper meaning, and embrace digital transformation for our organizations in a meaningful way?
Build a better understanding of digital transformation
Digital Transformation: The integration of digital technology into all areas of a business resulting in fundamental changes to how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers.
The implications of digital transformation are so far-reaching and ubiquitous that some argue the term itself has lost clear meaning. It encompasses both the technological and cultural changes necessary for survival in a digital world. But whether or not the term itself may be losing some efficacy, the business mandate behind it is a reality: To remain competitive, businesses must rethink old ways of doing things and embrace the use of new and frequently changing digital technology to solve problems. And while this process will look different for every company, there are a few universal steps that all businesses can take to ensure digital transformation success.
#1 Study Your Company and Make a Plan
Define where you are, where you want to go, and why
According to Raconteour.com, an essential step is clearly articulating the “why” of your digital transformation. When asking for change, transparency can galvanize your team around the underlying reasons and direction, and empower individuals to embrace transformation in a meaningful way.
#2 Convince Senior Management and Secure Investment
Present your ideas including aims, costs, etc.
Securing leadership buy-in is non-negotiable when it comes to creating any kind of lasting organizational change. Digital transformation is no different. It will require wholesale investment from the C-suite that will set and communicate a vision of what needs to be achieved, and why, in order to demonstrate that digital is an unquestionable priority.
#3 Set Ambitious but Clear Targets
Know what you wish to achieve and how you want to achieve it
Investment in digital needs to be linked to clear, ambitious targets that your team understands, feels motivated for, and can easily measure their progress towards. Otherwise, efforts toward change can feel out of reach or can get lost in a sea of ambiguity. One way to set these effective goals is through external benchmarking, that is, looking to what others have been able to achieve and mirroring those achievements as internal goals.
External benchmarking can help in this respect by reinforcing the conviction that cutting the time it takes to, say, process a claims submission from 90 minutes to 20 is not good enough if someone else has reduced it to four. A company can be certain that if it does not match that benchmark soon, others will.
McKinsey & Company: A Roadmap for Digital Transformation
#4 Inventory Any & All Existing Digital Assets
Inventory everything, even seemingly unimportant initiatives
Even for companies at the very beginning of their digital transformation journey, it is unlikely that they have no existing digital footprint or early-stage projects. These may be small initiatives that up to now have been low priority and are not currently measured or evaluated. Use these first forays into digital as a starting point, assess them alongside your future digital strategy, and reallocate resources from uncertain projects to strategically important ones.
#5 Assess Talent & Training Needs
Identify what new skills and knowledge your digital strategy requires
It is likely that as your digital strategy develops, your company’s talent and skills requirements will evolve. Early identification of performance gaps will help to guide digital transformation and prevent future roadblocks. This process can inform new in-house training goals as well as recruitment protocols that will help support digital transformation in the long run.
Digital transformation, in many ways, will mean different things for different businesses. Regardless of how your business navigates its own digital transformation, we hope these five steps help guide you on your journey. If you would like to learn more or speak directly with someone from the HFX Analytics team, contact us today.