By: Lauren Dellarocco
We’re living in the age of digital revolution—constant, perpetual, relentless digital revolution. As new digital technologies are innovated and introduced to the market, companies of small and large scales are pressured to stay up-to-date with advancements that serve to solve common problems and gaps in business strategies.
According to IDG, “89% of enterprises are planning to adopt or have already adopted a digital business strategy.”
Why are so many companies undergoing a digital transformation? How does a company determine which technologies to adopt? Why does a company need to maintain a competitive advantage in the market, and how can a successful digital transformation help to secure this market advantage?
What is digital transformation strategy?
Digital transformation is the transition that takes place in a company to integrate new digital technologies into every step of the process: from internal operations to work culture to consumer interactions.
Creating and establishing an effective digital transformation strategy will help to improve the customer experience, and refine business models and business processes to operate with greater efficiency.
Companies must remain fluid in their technologies and digital strategies. To secure a competitive advantage in the market, companies have to adapt to the ever-changing world of technology. This includes preparing for new implementation of technology, avoiding resistance against the natural direction of digital evolution, and formulating a digital strategy to ensure that the company transforms parallel to the digital market.
According to Seagate, two-thirds of global CEOs started focusing on digital strategies to improve customer experience by the end of 2019.
An effective digital transformation strategy will safeguard a company against the inevitable reality of digital disruption.
What is digital disruption?
Digital disruption describes the process by which new technologies emerge, completely disrupt the market, and affect the value of related products and services.
Now, more than ever, as digital technologies are erupting and new business models are on a relentless mission to replace current models, the possibility of digital disruption should remain in the forefront of any company or organization’s digital transformation strategy.
Through the creation of a strong marketing strategy that excites consumers and the constant implementation of advanced technologies that refine processes, a company can successfully disrupt the digital market. When the digital market is disrupted, companies and organizations are left to catch up with these marketing pioneers.
A digital disruption can lessen the market value of products and services as new technologies and advancements can shift consumers’ perceptions, expectations, and behaviors.
Take Uber as an example of a major digital disruption. Uber is a successful taxi company that doesn’t even own any taxis. By staying ahead of the market, and implementing highly-advanced technologies that hadn’t been employed before, Uber technologies disrupted the taxi market. This digital disruption successfully lessened the demand for taxis in the market, and Uber continues to disrupt the market as it implements new strategies and multiplies its service features to improve the customer experience.
Why is it important to create a digital transformation strategy?
It’s no secret that the market is evolving rapidly in today’s digital age. New digital platforms, technologies, software, programs, and similar digital initiatives continue to flood the market, and businesses need to stay ahead of the digital curve.
A successful digital transformation strategy enables a company to anticipate coming transformations in the digital future, as opposed to catching up to digital transformations once they’re already disrupting the market.
By anticipating coming technological advancements and the digital evolution ahead through a digital transformational strategy, companies can:
- Improve the consumer/customer experience
- Refine business processes to fulfill any gaps
- Streamline DevOps processes
- Gain a significant competitive advantage in the market
- Increase profits
- Acquire the best talent pool in the area
How to create a successful digital transformation strategy
The foundation of any digital transformation strategy begins with a clear vision for the future. Leaders of a company must clearly define where they see the company going in the near future. The CIOs of a company are in place to drive these digital transformation initiatives.
Businesses should follow a digital transformation roadmap that ensures buy-in from business leaders, anticipates market trends, fulfills gaps in the business strategy, and cultivates new opportunities on a digital platform to undergo a successful business transformation.
Step 1: Determine business objectives, gaps and needs in the company.
Why is the company considering a business transformation? Does the company’s digital strategy require a more customer-centric approach? Is the company seeking to better optimize the customer experience on mobile devices? (After all, creating an optimal mobile experience is critical in the digital age, as “nearly half of mobile users will switch to a competitor if they have a bad experience with a company’s mobile site.”)
Where are the holes or gaps in the business strategy? Which pieces or processes could be refined for the company to operate with greater efficiency? (A program, such as a core values communication program, can help to facilitate constant communication to effectively disseminate the business’s objectives among team members.)
Identify the gaps that need satisfying and the business objectives that need accomplishing to gain a clearer understanding of which market trends to look out for and which technologies to adopt.
Step 2: Assess the market and the current state of the business.
To determine market trends before they’re implemented by the competition, it’s critical to assess the market and the current state of the company to understand what’s missing in the company and what’s to come in the digital future.
Are programs and software powered by machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things taking precedence in the market? What type of new products are emerging? And where does your company fall in the market spectrum?
Business executives and CIOs need to determine where the company currently is, and which technologies and strategies it can adopt to surpass the market.
Step 3: Identify the talent and skillsets needed to achieve business goals.
Not only does a company need to determine the digital technologies it requires to further a digital transformation, but it needs a clear understanding of the talent pool, skillsets and competencies required to undergo the transformation.
Leaders need to be skilled, competent, and effective in communication to execute a successful technology implementation in all aspects of a company. Employees, managers and leaders who have experience, talent, and decision-making skills that align with the company’s digital future should collaborate and communicate openly to establish the best digital strategy for integrating new technologies. The importance of effective internal communications should not be overlooked during any business transformation.
Step 4: Create a linear roadmap for digital transformation.
A digital transformation roadmap will assist a company in the project management department. Create a clear, linear roadmap that serves to guide the company in navigating a successful digital transformation.
Once a company completes the initial steps of the digital transformation process, the holes, gaps, and missing talents in the company have been identified. This enables leaders to map out necessary steps needed for a successful transformation.
Is there a missing talent? Include a talent recruiting/acquisition milestone to the roadmap. Does the development process have unnecessary, additional steps that need to be discarded for a streamlined process?
Determine the steps, goals, and milestones that need to be met to create an agile software development.
Step 5: Prepare the work culture.
Ensuring that the work culture is prepared for a digital transformation is imperative. Are team members, managers, leaders, and business executives prepared for radical change in technologies?
No company wants to be in a position where its employees aren’t adapting to new technologies, programs, or software. This step could quite literally make or break the entire business transformation. If a company identifies gaps in the process, assesses the current market, and integrates a new technology, employees have to be onboard.
After all, employees will be the ones working closely with these new technologies. A custom communication journey can aid in any digital transformation by inspiring employees to take action, educating employees on strategic initiatives, and reinforcing custom messages to keep employees updated and engaged.
Leaders of a company need to identify whether their work environment will take well to a digital transformation. If the culture isn’t adaptable to new technologies, it might be time to integrate some new talent in the workplace.
Regardless of a company’s industry, market audience, KPIs or current digital business strategy, all companies and organizations should see the indisputable value in implementing a successful digital transformation strategy.
When competing organizations disrupt the market with new strategies, business models and technological advancements, your company needs to anticipate this disruption and have a plan in place to counter the competition and surpass its efforts.
A digital transformation strategy can improve the customer experience, increase the company’s overall profits, and streamline business processes to enable smooth, efficient operations.