did you know that most digital transformations fail?
According to various studies, the percentage of unsuccessful digital transformations ranges from 70% to 95%, with an average of 87.5%. Nevertheless, this process has remained high on the agenda of companies over the last decade, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Digital transformation is, at its core, a management task. It is not about technology trends to be followed blindly simply because everyone is talking about them. So how can you master this digital transformation process? The best thing to do is to take it one step at a time.
Today we bring you a complete guide on how to successfully implement a digital transformation project in your business.
what is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing the way it operates and delivers value to its customers.
At the most basic level, digital transformation involves the use of digital technologies to change a business process and make it more efficient. The idea is to use technology not just to replicate an existing service digitally, but to transform that service into something significantly better.
It is a fundamental change in the way an organisation operates, communicates and engages with its customers. It is about altering the 'traditional' way of operating to make it more digital and efficient. It is also about cultivating a digital culture and empowering the people in the business, as a team is needed to carry out the transformation.
In this sense, digital transformation is not just about incorporating technology into an organisation, but about reinventing a company's business model and processes.
Phases of a digital transformation project
Step 1: Identify your objectives
A digital transformation strategy should provide a clear understanding of what our goals are and what steps are needed to achieve them.
Because digital transformation is different for every organisation, it is important to bear in mind that everyone's objectives will be different. But there are a number of core objectives that every business needs to consider:
- how can we improve the customer experience?
- can we create more efficient and profitable operations by adopting new technologies and processes?
- how can we become an accounting firm that can adapt and embrace change?
- do we have processes in place to gather analytical information to help us move quickly?
By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to identify the areas of your plan that require special attention or which components of your strategy need to be addressed first.
Step 2: Focus on customer needs
Digital transformation is about leveraging digital tools to increase customer value, so for digital transformation to be successful, everything you plan must take into account customer needs.
For example, to offer more channels of communication, try combining customer management and communication in one place. Recording all emails and details of previously held conversations will allow you to better manage and nurture your customer relationships.
If your customers are looking for these digital interactions, you need to make the necessary transformations internally, focusing on the processes and technologies that make digital change possible.
Step 3: Implement new processes
Your traditional approaches may not align with your digital transformation initiative, so creating and adopting new processes can help your organisation succeed.
For some companies, digital transformation will require a complete overhaul of processes. To organise this change, it is essential to bring employees together to ensure that everyone understands the updates, who is responsible for what and what systems are in place to support the team.
Step 4: Choose the right technologies
You don't need all existing technologies for a successful digital transformation. Instead, select the technologies that will support the processes you are optimising.
Decide what is most important to your organisation and find the technology that meets your needs.
For example, you want to:
- standardise common processes and workflows?
- collaborate with customers and integrate them into your workflow?
- estimate time and budget to make better informed decisions?
- share customer data and enable workflows?
Ultimately, the technology you choose must align with your goals and help your organisation achieve them.
Step 5: Restructure to adapt to change
Restructuring is an intimidating word, but it is the only way to become a "digitally adapted" organisation.
Fewer and fewer organisations today operate with highly hierarchical models, where decisions are made in a traditional top-down way.
Instead, organisations have started to adopt "loose hierarchies", which means that employees are given the opportunity to meet objectives without the traditional top-down control.
This type of model is project-oriented and tends to be more agile, allowing employees to work with a great deal of operational autonomy. And, as a result, they feel more committed to their organisation.
Step 6: Execute your plan
You've done all the groundwork and now it's time to put the plan into action. But chances are your plan will have many moving parts. Instead of trying to incorporate all the changes at once, take your time and act in iterations.
An iterative plan translates into a flexible plan, where each stage of the process can vary in time - from a week to a month. At the beginning of each week, convene your team and break down the plan into tangible requests. Discuss the progress of tasks, make sure you are working within the planned scope, and assess any issues that have arisen that may require adjustments to the plan.
By executing a plan in digestible chunks, you will be able to make continuous and meaningful improvements on a regular basis without introducing sporadic and overwhelming changes.
Most importantly, an iterative approach will ensure that resources are focused on the areas where they will have the greatest impact.
Step 7: Leave room for flexibility
We mentioned earlier in this post that a large percentage of companies fail to implement successful digital transformations. But we shouldn't let this scare us; on the contrary, consider it a reminder of the importance of planning well and being agile.
With proper planning, observation and adaptation after implementation, long-term sustainability is possible. As your plan gets underway, track and analyse your team's performance.
- is your team adopting the process changes?
- are you meeting your objectives?
- is there scope for greater impact on change?
As you track the process, you may spot problems or opportunities for change to achieve greater success. With each adjustment to your plan, take time to reflect on lessons learned so that you can approach future adjustments with a deeper understanding of your new process.