Digital Transformation Is a Journey, Not a Destination

Digital Transformation Is a Journey, Not a Destination

By: Dan Newman
February 15, 2016

Digital Transformation is a Journey, Not a DestinationSome companies think they can update their websites and in-house applications, buy a few new devices, and then call it a day—but that’s not the way digital transformation works. Instead, think about digital transformation as a moving target that is constantly evolving, and needs steady evaluation and updating to remain viable as a strategy.

Recognizing digital transformation as an evolutionary tactic isn’t enough, though. Advances in technology are happening at a rapid rate, and many struggle to keep pace. As soon as the approval, installation, and implementation process finishes and users are comfortable using a solution, inevitably some “new shiny thing” appears on the horizon.

It creates an endless and exhausting cycle of change that can slow down any company not ready to wholeheartedly embrace the potential of technology. In those with traditional legacies, the resistance to change is almost palpable, making digital transformation difficult to embrace.

If that sounds like your enterprise—or you haven’t even begun making a digital transformation—you may wonder how you’ll ever go from point A to point B, much less travel further through the alphabet. The good news is every company has the potential to maximize the digital transformation journey.

Here’s how to get started:

Get executive level buy-in. Whether you’ve already taken a few small steps towards digital transformation, or just starting on your journey, you’ll need buy-in from the C-suite. Focus on earning executive management approvals for technological innovation over the long-term before you pitch individual solutions. Present realistic goals to ensure management understands the importance of maintaining momentum over time.

Identify and support your champions. Every business needs legacy champions. These individuals are well respected in the organization and can help the influence the higher-ups when it comes to tech adoption and implementation. Have them continually reinforce the benefits of the changes that are happening, and share their own experiences using the technology. Attitude—even fear—can become a big obstacle in digital transformation. Having trusted support teams in place at all levels of the organization can help improve user adoption rates while reinforcing the idea that technological change is a positive change.

Prioritize ease of use. When you add a new tool to your digital strategy, someone on your team will have to learn how to use it. Make sure any managed service providers you might be dealing with will allow “test runs.” That allows the people who will use the solution to try it out, hands-on, before you have to make a costly commitment. If your people hate the user experience, you could end up wasting money on a costly solution instead of building efficiency and driving ROI.

Encourage innovation throughout the company. The motivation to adopt new technology and the innovative ideas that take a business to the next level can come from any department in your organization. Instead of relying on a focus group or “your creatives” like marketing to suggest the latest tech or generate ideas, consider opening the floor to the entire enterprise.

Sometimes employees keep their heads down for fear of rocking the boat, or sounding unsatisfied with the status quo. You may find ideas management might have overlooked. As an added benefit, opening up the floor for creativity boosts morale, helps employees feel included, and inspires loyalty.

Go mobile. Going mobile means investing in cloud storage and application management, and embracing remote work and overall independence from on-premise solutions. Make sure your employees can easily update or install new apps or software to make adoption and use easier than ever. Mobile solutions also help IT personnel troubleshoot, update, or make changes from a remote location.

Broaden your horizon. A company that only focuses on acquisition is two dimensional. Remember to build and nurture your relationships with the customers you already have. Use the digital transformation to round out your business. Show consumers your mission-oriented side with community outreach and social campaigns.

Digital transformation is pointless if it doesn’t facilitate strong relationships between employees and a company, and consumers and brands. Strong, mission focused operations often grown their businesses because of their willingness to appear “human” through charity work, or community based “good deeds.” There’s no shortage of companies that have successfully embraced digital transformation. From startups to legacy firms, each understands the importance of this process to stay current.

Start looking for the tech solutions you need to build a strong bridge between your business and consumers today. Like a real bridge, just remember you need to bolster the supports occasionally to keep the crossing safe.

Additional Information on this Topic:

What Small Businesses Need to Know About Digital Transformation and Disruption
Digital Transformation: Bridging Business and IT
6 Predictions about the Future of Digital Transformation

This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. For more on these topics, visit Dell’s thought leadership site Power More. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.

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