Digital transformation is something that more and more businesses are starting to see as a necessity. This process is projected to account for $2 trillion in commercial spending in 2019, indicating that it is an area of a strong interest in the business community.
It’s becoming clearer every year that this trend is not slowing down.
As popular as it is to move toward the digital side of things, though, not every company is doing so just yet.
Only 34% of companies say that they have completed this vital move – and even more shockingly, 35% say that they have no intentions of even trying to do so.
Why are so many companies hesitating to do something that is clearly beneficial and is becoming an expected part of the business culture? 🤔
As you’ll know if your business is one of the ones that has yet to adapt, there’s no simple answer to that question. That’s no reason not to investigate all the same.
Coming to some sort of conclusion about what is holding your business back is necessary so that you can address the problem and start to harness the power of digital methods for yourself.
The Four Factors Behind the Hold-up
Research has revealed that there are four main barriers stopping some companies from modernizing like they need to.
These are not mutually exclusive reasons; many companies will experience several of these problems at once, making the situation look even more insurmountable.
Employees don’t have the necessary skills (24%) – Many organizations would like to transition to digital methods, but do not feel that their current workforce is skilled enough to bridge that change or to work effectively with the new systems when they are in place.
They don’t fully understand the concept (22%) – The idea of going digital is very new and not all companies are equally well-informed about it. Plenty of them are still confused about what it means to do this and who can help them with it.
There are no clear incentives in place to do so (21%) – Digital transformation will almost always yield excellent financial results, but that may not be immediately apparent to some organizations. In the absence of a clear financial payoff, they stick with the status quo.
There’s too much cultural resistance (21%) – Not everyone is open to the benefits that technology can bring. Digital transformation is risky and different, and that alone is enough for many people to oppose it.
These concerns make it clear that digital transformation is just as much about implementing new processes and mindsets as it about bringing in new technology.
Regardless of which of these issues is standing in your company’s way, you should know that none of them are insurmountable. With the right approach, you can overcome any of these things and come out with a functioning digital organization at the end.
Getting Your Digital Transformation in Gear
Once you’ve decided not to let your fears hold you back from embracing what digital transformation can do, you’ll still need to act on that decision and get your digital transformation going.
This list should give you some good places to start breaking down the problems that are opposing you.
Decide What ‘Digital’ Means For Your Company
Digital transformation is not a goal on its own, but a means to an end.
Every company that undergoes has different things that they want to get out of the experience – for instance, 40% of business leaders feel that improving operational efficiency is one of the major benefits to adopting digital methods, while 5% are excited about reducing the costs of complying with industry regulations.
Every organization has unique needs that they can address with digital means.
Once you know what kind of developments you would like to see in your newly-digitized organization, you can direct your efforts accordingly.
Do you need to concentrate on rolling out some website additions to improve your customer interface, or should you focus on tweaking your back-end processes to improve efficiency? 🧐
Don’t forget that there’s nothing stopping you from eventually trying to perfect your performance in every possible area; all you’re doing right now is trying to sort out your priorities to account for the fact that you cannot do everything all at once.
Once you’ve achieved the things that are most important to you, your priorities will shift and you will be able to get to the things you had to set aside before.
Estimate How Much Value You’re Losing
When you refuse to undergo a digital transformation as an organization, you are always leaving money on the table.
Now that you’ve decided to make a change, it makes sense to run the appropriate calculations and find out how much you had been giving up by deciding to stick with traditional means.
Being able to quote an actual dollar amount rather than just speaking of hypothetical losses helps to give you the context you need to be sure of your decisions and also gives you an idea of what a realistic goal for improvement would look like.
Coming up with exact figures will be tricky, but a rough estimate should be no trouble.
There are plenty of statistics available regarding the usual improvements that companies see when they go digital.
For instance, an average company can expect to increase revenue by 23% with digital methods to back them up, and start-ups can do even better with a 34% boost.
Share With Your Stakeholders
Digital transformation is a big change for your organization that will completely revolutionize the way you operate.
Like all big changes that might have rippling effects, your stakeholders deserve to know about it.
This includes your customers, suppliers, vendors, and any other institutions you might work with regularly.
You don’t necessarily need to have an in-depth strategy meeting with each entity, but making the effort to keep them informed about what’s going on with your digital journey – even if it’s just through a newsletter or email – will be appreciated.
Some of the more prominent ones might even have suggestions about what you should do next based on what they have seen work in the past.
Remember, you’re ultimately all in this together, so they have every reason to want to see you succeed in your efforts.
As we mentioned previously, you shouldn’t try to digitize every aspect of your operations at once.
Focus on a few key areas first and make them as good as they can possibly be before you start moving on to other parts of your organization.
That’s not the only type of prioritizing you need to do, though.
A single improvement area usually incorporates many separate tasks that all feed into the final results. They all need to get done, but they don’t all need to be done at once.
For instance, if you’re building a website to promote your company and drive digital sales, you may want to put more emphasis on completing the mechanics of the storefront and checkout systems before you worry about what the colour scheme and typography will look like. In the long run, both are important, but one is critical to allowing you to capture revenue at all while the other is just another facet of optimization for sales.
Consider Your Team’s Abilities
Going digital will not be nearly as effective as it could be if you don’t have capable staff to work with your new systems.
Only 29% of global respondents feel that their skills are sharp enough to handle what will be required of them in the digital-heavy role they will be expected to take on in the future.
That’s not to say that some of the remaining 71% can’t brush up on their skills, but they may not be effective digital workers right away.
You’ll want to have a fairly large concentration of existing tech experts around to ensure that your business can always handle at least the basic tasks that going digital requires – consider getting outside help if you need it.
For the rest of your staff, you may want to consider investing in some additional training to teach them how best to handle your new technology. Formal courses can teach them everything they need to know, right down to things like proper security practices and data privacy obligations; not only will they acquire the skills they need to be of further use to the company, but you can also reduce the chances of any major liability issues.
Take an End-to-End View
Digital transformation is not a true goal on its own; it’s a means to achieve greater goals. You must be sure to never lose sight of this fact as you prepare to undergo a digital transformation.
Customer satisfaction should almost always be your top priority, but there is plenty you can do to help your employees thrive as well.
Start off with a problem that your customers or employees are facing, then organize a digital solution to that problem.
Every digital improvement you make should be guided in this way.
This kind of thinking leads to changes that have a tangible impact and a clear financial reward – some companies who have used this method to organize their digital forays have achieved things like a 60% boost in overall profits.
Prepare Your Workforce For the Transformation
We’ve already discussed the fact that many workers are not confident in their digital abilities and that you could help them to change that.
Beyond that, though, it’s also important to make sure that your workers have the right attitudes about this change and what it will mean for them. Because digital processes usually make things much less labour-intensive, many employees worry that the businesses they serve will no longer have a use for them once their digital initiatives are complete.
While it’s true that there will likely be less routine work for everyone to do, most organizations recognize the value of reassigning employees rather than just getting rid of them.
Up to 64% of workers are prepared to embrace AI (one of the digital technologies that is most likely to take over some of their duties) if it is used to automate time-consuming internal processes or help them balance their workload.
Make sure that your workers know your intentions and you're sure to see better attitudes toward your transformation.
Drive With Data
There’s no denying that data is critical to pulling off a digital transformation successfully. 90% of companies cite analytics as being a key part of digital transformation, and none of those would be possible without plenty of data to feed into them.
In order for your company to go fully digital, you will have to come up with a defined data strategy to handle this precious asset properly.
There should be strict procedures regarding how data is recorded, where it goes, and how it is safeguarded, among other things.
You should also plan out a consistent regimen for contact data quality management to ensure that all of it stays useful to you over time. Otherwise, it may degrade and lead you to the wrong conclusions when it is analyzed.
Related : Why does contact data quality matter?
There’s No Need to Fear Your Digital Future
Radically changing the way you do things as an organization is indeed a massive shift, but you know that digital transformation is not something you want to put off for much longer.
Facing the challenge head-on using the starting points we’ve just laid out is the best way to push through your apprehension and start getting your company ready to make this essential transition.
Once you’ve gotten the process started, you’ll have a much easier time going forward, and you can rest confidently knowing that you’ve done your best to secure your organization’s future.
There’s always more to talk about when it comes to data, and we’ll be back next time with more helpful coverage about how to best use yours.
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