When the term “digital transformation” is thrown around, many of us feel like this is more of a corporate buzzword rather than a concept to aspire to. Sure, we all know that leveraging progressive platforms to transform traditional processes to digital is a smart idea and is essential to the future of many businesses and institutions. But we also know that saying you are committed to digital transformation and actually doing it are very different things. If the process of digital transformation is top of mind, explore tips for how to get there.
Look around at your competition
If your business or institution doesn’t feel that a top-down commitment for digital transformation is important, just look around. Every single industry has evolved, some in big ways, some in little ways, and some faster than others. And, the COVID-19 pandemic has added fuel to the fire – prompting even the most resistant of businesses, and consumers, to adopt new practices. With these new needs, customers expect exceptional digital experiences and may form negative perceptions about companies that don’t meet these expectations. No matter what industry you are in, it’s essential to evaluate your existing business processes, corporate culture and customer experiences to determine what you can do to meet rapidly changing market requirements.
Who is responsible?
Many business initiatives can be assigned to a single team to execute, but this is far from true when it comes to digital transformation. Modernizing your business to meet your audience’s digital needs crosses nearly every department – from sales and marketing to customer service and IT. When defining how your business will convert certain processes, start by engaging all parties early on so that everyone has a chance to weigh in on their subject matter of expertise. This will contribute to a more streamlined transformation of all practices, ensuring that one change supports another and provides for an overall improved consumer journey.
Plan to plan
When you begin to plan what needs to change about your business, it’s important to look at both short and long-term goals. Transforming your digital presence should be approached in phases - not only because it’s more palatable to manage but also because it helps you evaluate what’s working and what isn’t, and adjust your strategy for success. Planning in phases and continuously measuring the impact of each investment allows your company or institution to be more nimble and reactive to market changes and evolutions in technology.
Vendor selection process
With the popularity of digital transformation, it is hard to know which vendors can actually deliver on their promises. There are so many new names in the market and if your business has just jumped on the “transformation bandwagon,” you can easily be wooed by the glitziness of a product demo. As with all business decisions, it’s important to do your homework, check references and make sure that a vendor checks all the boxes before making a commitment. While budget is obviously a consideration, this isn’t a time to go with the cheapest vendor either. You do get what you pay for. Technology is as important investment as ever, so be sure that your full team understands and appreciates how this will benefit your business.
It’s about adding value
In the end, digital transformation for any business or institution needs to add value to a customer’s life. For restaurants, being able to order take-out food online during a pandemic adds a level of comfort, safety and ultimately value to a customer. For financial institutions, being able to easily transfer money to pay back a friend saves a customer time and hassle, and therefore adds value. When determining your business’s digital transformation plan, prioritize based on how you can better fulfill customer needs, simplify complex experiences and offer solutions to problems. By offering value to your audiences, you’re able to differentiate your business and better compete with competitors – which can bring value to your business as well.
Committing to and executing change isn’t easy
Businesses and organizations, like people, generally don’t handle change very well. Those that are successful share some common characteristics: leadership that is committed to and allocates adequate budget for innovation, a risk-tolerant environment and excellent communication between teams. One of the biggest impediments to success is a culture that is satisfied with the present and committed to doing things “the way they’ve always been done.” History has taught us, across so many industries, that this is the death of many businesses. If Blockbuster had the foresight to see how the technology landscape transformed and put them out of business, they might have been where Netflix is now. Similarly, if Sears could have better adapted to technology, it might not have lost its retail dominance to Walmart who simply did it better.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed weaknesses in every business model but also gives every business and institution the opportunity to budget for improvements and make it happen in the remainder of 2020 and 2021. Whatever the new normal will end up being, some of our businesses won’t survive. Committing to digital transformation isn’t a choice – it’s a requirement – for those that don’t want to be left behind. Let's chat about how we can help you transform your digital presence.