The 5 most important steps to a successful digital transformation
Updated: Dec 29, 2021
A Lot of companies today are looking to digitally transform, but it can be scary because, on one hand, you know that your company will be a victim of digital Darwinism unless you are on the cutting edge.
On the other hand, you are stepping into a process that you haven't done before and that’s naturally something that can make even the most hardened leader have butterflies in their stomach. On top of that, there are costs involved.
But there are things you can do to minimize the risk AND cost as well as increase your chances of a successful digital transformation. And these are the things that we will cover in this guide.
You're going to get insight into what digital transformation is, definitions of the term, ways it can add benefit to your business, 5 steps to take to give your business ultimate success for the long term, and considerations for your businesses next steps.
This is part of a series we've put together for you to learn from for free and will be mentioning a number of resources available throughout. You can get a deeper insight into specific areas such as making Digital Evolution a success, how to achieve operational excellence, and why having humans in the loop is important for your digital transformation strategy.
If at any point in this guide you want to find out specifically how investing in digitally evolving your business can add tremendous value, please contact the Digital Evolution Forum team today!
What is digital transformation?
The saying 'digital transformation' is being increasingly used in industries, businesses, and teams of all shapes and sizes. Statista highlighted in August 2021 that the expected global spend on digital transformation projects by 2024 is going to be $2.4 trillion. Gartner found in November 2020 that 91% of businesses are engaged in some form of a digital transformation initiative.
Clearly, businesses across the world are seeing the value of digitally evolving their processes, operations, teams, and overall business.
It wouldn't be fair to give you a guide to the steps you can take to digitally transform without giving context on what the words mean. Let's start by looking at a number of definitions to give you a picture in your head to make the steps below clearer and actionable.
Toptal gives the definition that digital transformation is the holistic process by which an organization redefines and betters itself using the digital technologies which convert business and society at large.
Salesforce gave the definition that 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.
And the third definition for good measure is from CIO magazine which they explain as a rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people, and processes in pursuit of new business models and new revenue streams, driven by changes in customer expectations around products and services.
Your step by step guide for ultimate success
It's clear that there are benefits to digitally evolving your business and we want to show you the steps to do this.
At the Digital Evolution Forum, we're helping businesses of all shapes and sizes achieve better results using the exact steps we’re going through together below.
Step 1: Clear vision and roadmap for your business and your team
Before you even start your digital transformation or digital evolution journey, it's important to consider where you want to go.
A ship leaving the harbour without a destination and captain will most likely end up as a shipwreck. This is the exact same regarding digital transformation - know your preferred destination and who will be leading you to it.
Once you have got a clear vision with a starting strategy, it's time for you to move on to step 2.
Step 2: Digitally evolve your businesses culture, team and mindset
After spending time on step one, you will know the direction your business, team, and the department is moving towards.
It's now time to get the right culture and mindset for the digital evolution you're embarking on - short, small, medium, long, or large - and to get every person that belongs to the team behind the shift.
This includes having the right people in place. Whether it's upskilling current team members, onboarding a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) or Chief Information Officer (CIO), or having the right hiring process, these are foundational to being able to implement the upcoming changes successfully and to scale as the business progresses.
For ideas on how to get this right with frameworks, your business can use, please read the 3 ways you can transform your business's success: culture, people, and vision.
Step 3: Knowing what technology to implement
There's a range of different technologies a business can use when going through a digital transformation.
McKinsey found in its 2018 survey that businesses that have witnessed successful transformations deploy more technologies than others do.
There's a big choice of technologies to choose from which is why it's important to understand what your business's vision is from the start.
Whether it's a combination of technologies such as mobile internet technologies and cloud-based services or a focus on a specific technology such as robotic process automation, some sort of technology or combination of technologies are needed to drive these changes. That's why you need to know what technological changes are required to match your vision.
Then it's important to communicate these changes and why to your team, which brings us nicely onto step 4.
Step 4: Consistent communication with the right people
Your business's people drive change, not your technology. Trust us, we've done projects with globally recognised brands to startups experiencing rapid maintainable growth, and the tools and technologies we can help you implement will be worthless without the right leadership and skillsets in your business.
As we looked at in step 2, having the right people in place with the right mindset is vital. Make sure your teams are communicating effectively to ensure all the change happening across the business and the impact it's having on clients, partners, local communities, and any other parties involved is understood.
Make sure you're asking yourself questions that keep you and your team engaged. If your business is going through a digital evolution then your people cannot operate in individual silos with a limited understanding of the changes and the impact those changes are having on every part of your business.
We’ve seen how companies can realise results of £2.31m of ROI in the first year, get 99.3% of service requests actioned automatically within one minute, and have adaptive orchestration and process automation of 13,000 devices if teams communicate and work together effectively. All of this requires brilliant consistent communication and change management to ensure a smooth transformation happens.
Step 5: Measure what matters to your business and team vision
You can measure a million and one different aspects of a business thanks to the availability of ever-increasing volumes of data. As great as this can be, it's important for you and the team to focus on measuring what matters.
There is little or no point in measuring a selection of data or data in a specific process flow if the results are not relevant to the vision and roadmap you set out in step 1.
An agriculture business producing and selling crops is likely going to have various different processes compared to a retail business selling clothes or insurance business selling policies. Sure, they likely all want to increase revenue, customers, and team efficiency. But what each of the companies' leadership vision, roadmap, and strategy looks like to get there is going to vary. Therefore, measure what matters most to you.
Once you have all the steps above in place you can start to measure, improve, evolve, and understand what matters. And no problem if you don't get it right the first time. Don't be afraid to start over again. This time you are not starting from scratch you are starting from experience. You'll be able to measure the strategy and again improve to match your business and team vision.
What's your business's next step forward?
Together, we've gone through the 5 steps that can make your business ready for its digital evolution.
However, what we haven't gone through together is how your business can specifically benefit from investing in a digital transformation initiative.
You can book a discovery call with an experienced member of the Digital Evolution Forum team to see how your business can take the best next steps forward.