Digital Transformation: Benefits and Steps to Success

Most enterprises make use of technology to some degree, but a transformational wave is changing the way businesses operate at a very fundamental level. Technology is integrating deeply into every area of business and only the companies that rapidly adopt technological change will stay ahead of competitors.

But what is digital transformation and what are the benefits? Keep reading to understand how harnessing the latest wave of digitization can have real benefits for your enterprise.

A Digital Transformation Primer

Simply put, digital transformation involves using digital technology to create or modify business processes in order to improve product and service delivery, boost customer experience and to reduce costs and improve profitability. Digital transformation is not just about technological change, digital transformation involves deep changes to processes too.

Indeed, technology has impacted enterprises in several waves, starting with the mainframes of old and moving on to e-mail and the emergence of the internet. However, the latest wave is arguably the most fundamental in terms of the degree of change it brings about.

This capacity for change stems from several factors. The ubiquity of the internet, the pervasiveness of mobile connectivity and the proliferation of IoT devices are all contributing to opportunities for digital transformation that would previously have been unimaginable.

The enormous scope for impact and change inherent to the latest wave of technology is the driving force behind the digital transformation projects that enterprises around the world are engaging in.

What Can Digital Transformation Do for Your Company?

Every aspect of an enterprise is affected by digital transformation, from buildings and facilities through to internal processes and reporting. Here are just some of the ways in which digital transformation can be a game-changer for your company:

Data-driven insight. Big data is driving improvements throughout service delivery and operations. Enterprises can take previously unstructured data and rapidly distil this into actionable insights that can be interpreted by mid-level managers and senior staff.

Customer experience. Digital customer journeys are more customisable, and more responsive. No customer is the same and a digital enterprise can deliver products and services that more closely align with the needs and desires of its customers.

Reduced costs. Enterprises can optimise operations around digital technology, driving lower overheads and lower transaction costs. Technology has the capacity to streamline workflows and eliminates unnecessary overhead.

Agility and innovation. Reduce the dependency on manual processes and legacy IT and a business becomes more agile, ready to respond to internal and external innovation. A digital enterprise is more responsive to its markets and the business environment.

The Recipe for Successful Digital Transformation

As with any business opportunity, the payoff depends on the implementation. How can your organisation get the most out of digital transformation? Consider these factors:

Focus on culture. Change be difficult and successful digital transformation depends on co-operation from all staff, from the front-line to the C-level. Leadership from the top can establish the right vision, institute and execute transformation plans and motivate staff to drive change. A consistent message ensures that staff are on board with a digital transformation programme.

Don’t forget about data. Digital means data and your enterprise must harness it. Ensure that your operations collect whatever data is available to it, making it internally accessible so that staff and management can draw maximum insight. Importantly, data security should be high on the agenda for any data-reliant enterprise.

The old and the new. You cannot progress a digital transformation plan without considering the impact on legacy applications, some of which you may be forced to keep due to their mission-critical nature. Nonetheless, past technology investments should not be a hurdle in ongoing digital transformation but rather a stepping stone.

Strategy first. Getting the newest, shiniest technology is not the purpose of digital transformation. Instead, focus on your business strategy. Document the business end state of your digital transformation programme, and pursue that, rather than technological advances alone. This will help your enterprise engage with the fundamental and cultural changes that will allow it to make the best of digital transformation.

A Final Note about Disruption

The phrase digital transformation implies change. To truly take advantage of the way technology is reshaping businesses you need to be willing to significantly disrupt your own business. Customer interaction, internal operations, and management styles must all be up for negotiation. In fact, your entire operating model and product or service may change. Embracing this change is key to successful digital transformation.

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