Year after year, discussions about digital transformation strategy have increased, especially when it comes to the growth of your business.
To some, digital transformation is an obvious need that should be addressed and implemented within an organization. To others, the digital world isn’t at the top of their priority list and aren’t sure how it can positively impact their business.
Many small businesses might understand that change is needed, but don’t know the best steps to successfully implement a strong and robust digital transformation strategy within their company’s initiatives.
So what is a digital transformation, anyway? And, which strategies are best to use? Stick around as we dive into a concept that could significantly benefit and support the overall growth and success of your organization.
AIS started our digital transformation journey over 6 years ago and here is what we have learned along the way.
What is Digital Transformation?
An article published by SalesForce says, “Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. This reimagining of business in the digital age is digital transformation.”
If you or your CEO feels that digital business transformation is a big pill to swallow, it’s probably because of how this concept is continually presented. Over-complicating the meaning and strategy behind digital transformation have sadly scared off companies from wanting to learn more.
To simplify it, a successful digital transformation strategy begins by rethinking how you use your current or legacy technology while also planning how to use newer and better technology in the future.
As a side note, it’s essential to know that when we talk about technology, we don’t solely mean tangible devices, such as computers or phone systems. Your business could also transform digitally by utilizing a technology roadmap.
A technology roadmap creates valuable and strategic plans so that you can efficiently organize and prioritize your ideas, goals, and specifications. Using a roadmap also makes it simpler for you and your employees to communicate your plans in detail throughout your company.
A few examples of an IT roadmap could include:
Migrating different software systems
Rolling out software updates
Creation of new technology instead of employing existing technology
Indicating certain initiatives for a specific team member and the status of where they are on completing those projects
Digital transformation requires collaboration between all departments so that there are shared objectives in place company-wide. Unfortunately, without the implementation of a robust digital transformation strategy, your company can quickly be left behind.
As you know, our technology world is evolving at such a fast pace. If you can’t keep up with the technological needs of your customers, your competitors will.
Even though change can be scary (especially when it comes to new technology measures), it can be extremely beneficial to your business and employees.
This article also supports the point we made earlier on customer needs, saying, “Customer expectations are far exceeding what you can really do…that means a fundamental rethinking about what we do with technology in organizations."
Digital Transformation Creation: Where Do I Start?
So now that you know what digital transformation is, how do you create it within your organization? What’s the best first step to take? How can you make sure your business is transforming to your specific industry and customers?
To start, you have to decide the desired outcomes or company evolution you wish to achieve. The more time you spend planning, the easier time you’ll have when applying your digital transformation strategies.
Here are a few things to consider when doing so:
Understand how you want customers to interact with your business, products, and employees.
How do you want your employees to communicate with management and business leaders?
How does your current technology (or desired technology) align with your core values, goals, mission statement, or vision?
Are the processes you currently have in place effectively moving your organization forward?
Once you’ve compiled some of these answers, you now need to know if they match up to the outcomes you first brainstormed. This is when you should ask yourself,
“Does my technology help or hinder our capabilities to deliver on the
important needs of our customers and employees?”
Don’t forget to give yourself a little credit. Knowing some of the answers to any of these questions means you’re further ahead than most, just by being enlightened and aware of the potential changes you need to make.
It’s also important to determine what technology or processes need to change to reach the goals you have in place. You have all the information required, and now it’s time to formulate how to get there.
To accomplish a digital strategy transformation, follow these steps:
Prioritize your initiatives
Set realistic time frames to all future changes or modifications
Identify the stakeholders (employees) within your organization responsible for completing tasks to help you achieve the overall digital strategy
Engage any vendors needed to assist each transformation
Set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) against your goals and task
Even with a list of attainable initiatives in place and clear strategies to follow, you might be wondering about other ways to successfully transform your business.
Take a look at some of the tips below that we consider helpful and efficient digital tools:
Always Practice Accountability. As your list of initiatives continues to grow, it’s imperative to organize each task and delegate appropriate projects to a specific team member or department. Each employee should have a clear idea of their specific tasks and the steps they need to take to achieve the most measurable results. In the instance, such as digital transformation, over-explaining (especially in the beginning) is always key!
Support All Objectives. Speaking of delegating projects, make sure all team members involved in your business strategy agree and support the presented initiatives. Whether you’re transforming an existing business model or starting from scratch, your employees must agree on the best paths to pursue.
Embrace an Ongoing Process. One of the most overlooked parts of a digital transformation strategy that we haven’t mentioned yet is the continued growth of new processes. In the past, you may have experienced specific processes or initiatives that only required a brief implementation and no further maintenance. However, this isn’t the case for a prosperous digital transformation.
Technology will never stop progressing, so why should your business? Even the most substantial transformations require constant maintenance, monitoring, and re-strategizing. Embracing an ongoing process means you should always focus on tweaking and improving your strategies, based on measurable KPIs and customer satisfaction. Whether you want to or not, technology is forcing us to adapt and change our methods all the time!
Stop Holding Back. There’s a famous quote spoken from the golden mouth of Steve Jobs that comes to mind. Jobs said, “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.” It’s a powerful quote that typically only resonates with people or businesses who aren’t scared to take risks.
Earlier, we mentioned how digital transformation could be scary and unfamiliar that steers you away from accepting it’s a real thing your business should be practicing.
However, take a minute and think back to all the years you’ve been in business. We can confidently say that there’s no way your business is as successful as it is because you didn’t take any risks.
Sometimes, uncertainty is a good thing. Embracing change is one of the most significant ways you can break the mold and get ahead of your competition or your entire industry. You never know what new initiatives might unfold simply by making changes outside of your comfort zone.
There are a lot more tips we could share with you, but we don’t want to overwhelm you in the beginning stages of your transformation. But, if we could stress one major tip, we’d say take small, but relevant steps.
It might take you a while to accomplish some of your goals. However, the planning, strategy, and overall approach are what will get you to where you want to be.
Ok, we get it. You may still be a little shy about jumping in head-first into the digital transformation pool, and that’s ok! Make sure to understand that a process like this takes time, patience, and a whole lot of effort.
You’ve made the first step just by reading this article. You’re showing interest in getting on a successful digital transformation path so that your business gains growth through technology.
At AIS, we’re dedicated to informing you of some of the best ways we’ve transformed our company and processes over the years. We believe that the more useful and relevant information you have, the better decisions you’ll make for the long-term success of your company. To learn more about digital transformation strategy, or any of the products and services we sell, reach out to one of our business technology consultants. We’re here to give you peace of mind to help you win more business.
Dave Clark is our VP of Strategic Sales, based out of our headquarters in Las Vegas, NV. He's had an illustrious 28-year career in business technology and continues to expand his knowledge on new and emerging office technology solutions. Dave is also the face of many of our videos we shoot and produce for our YouTube channel, The Copier Channel. Outside of work, you can find him hanging out with his two daughters and best friend Jak, his Jack Russell Terrier.