A recent ITPro article cuts through all the buzz and discusses the real practical benefits - and challenges. The article explains that the definition of digital transformation is the "process of using technology to radically change your business."
Another broad definition of digital transformation that we use at Alpha Software is:
The adoption and integration of digital tools and techniques across all business functions, so as to achieve speed, accuracy, and efficiency.
What does digital transformation mean?
In its simplest form, digital transformation means replacing older and obsolete tools with cutting edge technologies and software applications. It seeks to improve user experiences and increase productivity by transforming manual processes into high-speed digital ones.
Digital transformation does not focus on a single project. Instead, it describes a series of projects that together speed and improve how all aspects of a company operate.
The ITPros article explains that together these efforts "change every facet of an organization, from back-office operations to customer interactions." Companies that execute an effective digital transformation strategy can even achieve the "end goal of making these different processes intrinsically linked."
Although this business transformation can be difficult, the ROI can be enormous. Companies that successfully adopt digital strategies become "more efficient, data-driven and nimble, taking advantage of more business opportunities.”
Digital Transformation Requires a Cultural Shift
Transforming your business processes with digital technology means changing the way that cross-functional teams work. It involves challenging employees’ mindsets about existing processes. It looks to apply technology to better connect the organization and encourage accurate information flow across the business to achieve business goals.
Effective digital transformation involves a complete rethink. It requires a deep-seated change in how businesses function and deliver value to customers.
Every business has a unique value proposition, business model, and work culture. As a result, it’s hard to explain digital transformation or its implications in one formula for every business. Digital transformation cannot be implemented with the exact same approach at every organization. Often, it doesn’t even utilize the same technologies.
When do Digital Transformation Efforts Fail?
Digital transformation initiatives can fail when they don’t have executive support, haven’t been clearly thought out, and don’t have the right kind of commitment from the organization and its stakeholders.
According to Peter Bendor-Samuel, CEO of Everest Group, a management consulting and research firm, 73% of enterprises failed to provide any business value from their digital transformation efforts. In addition, 78% failed to meet their business objectives, meaning that only 22% of projects achieved their desired business results.
These initiatives are not just about technology, they’re about changing how the company thinks about doing business. Digital Transformation requires a different mindset about how to assess and streamline tasks.
Digital transformation projects should assess current workflows and processes with the goal of streamlining that work and the business data associated with it.
Companies shouldn’t just buy new digital technologies and ask employees to use them. Digital transformation projects should assess current workflows and processes with the goal of streamlining that work and the business data associated with it.
Citizen developers need to take a careful look at routine business activities. They should understand how employees do this work, what processes they use, and where they could streamline efforts. They need to understand how business data is used during the process and what data is needed but not available or collected. Only then can they have a clear understanding of what employees need to perform their jobs better.
Once proper examination is done, the team can determine where processes can be engineered with digital technologies. Companies can then take steps to source and assess specific digital tools that can help.
Strategy & Initiatives for ‘Digitally Transforming’ Your Business
Remember that technology can not only automate tasks. It can also enhance information sharing and collaboration between employees, thus minimizing the time for decision making.
Clearly, digital transformation goes much beyond simply replacing outdated technologies or processes with newer ones. It requires a completely new approach. Work together with digital transformation developers to envisage a revolutionary way of optimizing your business operations creating better customer experiences, and streamlining business tasks. Remember that technology can not only automate tasks. It can but also enhance information sharing and collaboration between employees, thus minimizing the time for decision making.
Organizations that respond to the changing times with a change in the cultural mindset shift are clearly the ones that are are the ones that will succeed at digital transformation will be ahead of the game. These companiesThey’re constantly thinking of how they can adopt newer technology to streamline processes, cut costs, increase efficiencies, and even respond faster to customer requests and queries.
Further reading: MIT Sloane report on building digital workplaces.
Why You Should Care About Digital Transformation Initiatives
All this may sound abstract, but these initiatives offer big payoffs for companies who do it right. IDC says that digital transformation projects could add $18 trillion in business value worldwide.
A related Gartner report found that 66 percent of companies in the process of digital transformation expect to generate more revenue, and 48 percent believe additional business will be brought in via digital channels. As for other benefits, 40 percent of respondents to the Gartner survey said new digital tools will empower employees. Thirty-nine percent said it will reduce costs.
Digital Transformation "How-To" Whitepaper:
What Technologies Companies Should Focus On
Companies have many different types of technologies, and they’re not all created equal. Companies should adopt technologies that "help them harness and make sense of the vast quantities of data they are sitting on, as well as preparing for trends like the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile.”
Digital transformation requires technologies that harness and make sense of big data companies collect.
Initiatives should consider mobile, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and IoT.
How to Design the Right Digital Transformation Strategy
The authors of the ITPros article note that key to success is designing the right strategy. A related Deloitte report, “Strategy, not Technology, Drives Digital Transformation,” warns companies not to focus only on technology adoption. He advises companies to use it a means of overall business transformation.
In his report "Take Two Technology Roads to Digital Experience Success,” Forrester analyst Ted Schadler make specific recommendations for first steps. He advice businesses to give first priority to investments that benefit customers and generate business value. After that, companies should embark on two parallel paths: launching quick projects that offer fast payoffs, and a long-term transformation.
The long-term path will ultimately have a bigger payoff. He suggests, "define the digital transformation outcomes you desire and then select and implement a modern platform." According to Schadler, this will deliver long-term agility and capabilities. He makes it clear that companies should leverage cloud technologies: "It's the future of digital experience platforms."
Digital Transformation in the Age of COVID-19
Recently, McKinsey reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically sped up digital transformation: “We have vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of around eight weeks.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently said that in working with businesses, Microsoft has “seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months."
Companies that had a 2 to 3 year digital transformation strategy have had to collapse those plans into month in order to:
- allow remote workers to access all required business systems
- enable social distancing around the office
- service customers that no longer come into their facilities
- utilize the tablets and smartphones employees and customers have at home to conduct business activity.
Digital Transformation Resources
- Digital TransFormation is Tougher than You Think: Here's A List that Can Help
- MIT Sloan School for Management: The Digital Workplace
- Speed Digital Transformation
Digital Technologies to Transform Your Business
Companies have many different types of technologies, and they’re not all created equal. According to ITPros, companies should adopt technologies that:
“Harness and make sense of the vast quantities of data they are sitting on, as well as preparing for trends like the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile.”
The meaning of digital transformation is not just limited to leveraging advanced technologies to streamline processes and drive efficiencies. It also includes harnessing and analyzing data to make sense of the big data that companies collect. Initiatives should consider mobile, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and IoT.
Finding the right mobile app development platform that delivers outstanding customer experiences is critical. Read the questions to ask to accelerate your digital transformation and select the right development platform.