Digital transformation is key to pushing a business forward. When done correctly it’s invaluable in helping companies achieve growth and stay competitive.
Recent research indicates that 87% of companiesbelieve digital transformation gives them a competitive edge in the marketplace - an edge that can be even greater for SMEs.
Companies that don’t transform digitally - or fail to do so successfully or quickly enough - will inevitably get left behind.
For that reason, the importance of developing a clear digital transformation strategy can’t be overstressed.
But what exactly do we mean by a digital transformation strategy?
A digital transformation strategy can be defined as:
“A plan of action describing how a company must strategically reposition itself in the digital economy”. (ionology.com)
Like most things in life, this isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. And, with technologies evolving at an ever more rapid pace, it can be difficult to know where to start.
In this post, we’ll break down the process of creating a digital transformation strategy into some basic steps - to ensure your business is going in the right direction.
1. Have a clear vision
Before jumping into digital transformation, consider exactly what you’re trying to achieve. Start with general questions such as:
Do I have strategic gaps I need to fill?
Which technologies could better support my employees?
What are the chief challenges my teams are facing when engaging in daily business processes?
Once you’ve defined the issues you want to address, you can set concrete goals to lead you to your digital transformation objectives.
2. your Digital transformation strategy should drive customer experience
You need to consider how digital transformation will impact your customers. Ask yourself:
What kind of experience do we want our customers to have?
How can our initiatives help to meet their needs and expectations?
Using digital transformation to improve customer experience processes can have a real impact on your bottom line. When it comes to brand differentiation, a superior customer experience (CX) is just as important, if not more so, than price and product.
New technology should be a key driver to helping you engage with your customers, helping you to offer them a seamless user experience.
3. Pinpoint specific areas of need
Digital transformation only succeeds if you integrate digitization into identifiable daily operations and workflows. For example, ask yourself which repetitive tasks can be automated so you can enable staff to focus on high value-adding activities?
When you’re defining what your organisation needs, don't only think about the technology involved but the processes, policies, procedures and people you’ll need to fulfil the criteria of your action plan.
And, don’t try to replace all your processes at once. Be selective and identify the use cases you want to tackle first. If all goes well, roll out further technology across the company on a case by case basis.
4. Establish costs and timelines
Before embarking on your digital transformation journey, you'll need a clear idea of your required budget. Only then can you ensure your project will bring in sufficient returns to justify your expenditure.
Establishing a team to oversee your digital transformation is also important. Make sure your deadlines are realistic and take into account that some tasks are interdependent while others will need to be actioned simultaneously.
5. Find a strategic partner
Creating a digital transformation strategy from scratch is hard, especially if you’re not totally up to speed with the latest advances in technology or best practices. The time spent researching all your options can be excessively time-consuming - and too much for many organisations.
This is where a partner to help you develop your digital transformation strategy can be vital. They can provide crucial insights and support to enact the right changes at the right times, leaving you free to focus on ongoing value-adding business activities.
The benefits of digital transformation go way beyond a positive impact on your bottom line and include:
Improvements to the quality of your products or services
Happier and more productive employees
Superior levels of customer satisfaction
To reap the benefits of digital transformation, however, you need to do more than just ‘implement new technologies’.
Robust digital transformation requires a sound strategic approach, as well as the active coordination and integration of technology-based assets across the entire organisation.