There is a lot digital transformation taking place in many companies across Australia caused from the COVID pandemic and continued city lockdowns which has forced many business changes.
There are valuable aspects businesses can benefit from when undertaking digital transformation, as well as misconceptions that can waste time and money.
In my experience working with enterprise digital transformation, there can be unrealistic expectations of what such an initiative can and should achieve. Often transformation should be preceded, accompanied or followed by other work that can complement it, such as strategic goal-setting, culture change initiatives and organizational design.
There are both opportunities and some overhyped aspects of digital transformation, here are three common trends;
How Digital Transformation Affects Existing Processes
A common hurdle I run into working with organizations on digital transformation initiatives is the sheer amount of systems and processes that need to be modified in order to enable success. Add to that the fact that many people are creatures of habit, and it’s no wonder that such a high percentage of transformation initiatives are deemed failures.
A great digital transformation is designed with a deep understanding of the current processes, why (for better or worse) they exist and the problems that they solve. Only by having a good understanding of the current state of things can we design something better.
An error I have also seen is allowing current processes and the “status quo” to cloud our ability to think of brand new ideas. As long as you make sure that doesn’t happen, you will be in good shape if you understand why the current state exists and allow you and your team freedom to create a new solution.
This is not a substitute for implementing organization-wide process improvement initiatives or business process optimization, such as the adoption of agile, lean or combinations of any of the time-tested methodologies.
How Digital Transformation Affects Existing Company Culture
While successful organizations have understood this for a while, any company undergoing a digital transformation initiative will soon learn that company culture and openness to change is at least as important as the technology strategy used.
Before you begin the intense work of transforming your organization, you need to get buy-in at all levels. If leadership is not on board with your change initiative, nor are the front-line employees implementing the tactical approach (and anyone in between), there are going to be unnecessary hurdles along the way.
One way to help with this is to educate and involve your entire organization in parts of the process from the very beginning to make them understand the role they play and to give them frequent updates on both successes and challenges. Make sure you celebrate wins along the way and clearly articulate the metrics of success.
This is not a substitute for intentionally creating a great company culture. Culture change requires its own set of steps and metrics, but a healthy organizational culture will enable your digital transformation initiative to achieve greater success.
How Digital Transformation Affects Existing Customer Experiences
The most visible and arguably the most important aspect of digital transformation is how it changes and ideally improves the customer experience. After all, if you can’t improve the interactions your customers have with your organization, your long-term investment in digital transformation is arguably not worth it. Customers who buy more may buy more often and refer others — this is critical to company growth.
This is not a substitute for meaningfully understanding and measuring customer experience (CX) in the first place. After all, if you don’t understand what success should look like, how do you expect to reach it?
Instead, make sure that your digital transformation has clear customer experience goals in mind. While operational efficiencies and cost-cutting might also be key performance indicators (KPIs) of your transformation initiative, if you can’t meaningfully improve the performance of your customer experience, you are missing a key component.
It is important to understand what digital transformation can do in order to be realistic about the outcomes you can achieve. In my experience advising enterprise organizations on digital transformation initiatives, I’ve found that knowing what you can and cannot expect will help you create better plans and achieve better results.