We live in a digital world, a world where new technologies transcend everyday life.

This has changed the business world as we know it, forcing companies to embrace new initiatives or risk losing relevance.

It is an ever-evolving business landscape where companies must always innovate.

Being digitally literate is more important than ever before, one of the biggest reasons why digital transformation is essential to business survival.

But what exactly is digital transformation?

Let’s begin with a digital transformation 101 to bring awareness to the process:

Digital Transformation 101

Digital transformation involves leveraging existing and newly emerging digital technologies to remold processes so they’re more effective and efficient.

It’s centered on aligning your business operations with modern technology.

Rather than simply replicating existing services, the process looks at how you can transform current processes into services which are excellent.

Some of the newest digital transformation technologies of today include the Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence.

But digital transformation isn’t all about technology.

It’s about revolutionizing business processes and shifting corporate culture in the right direction.

Companies often place significant emphasis on technology, failing to account for the human element.

It is people who are at the heart of change. They must be advocates of change for it to have a successful impact.

There are many emerging companies built on modern principles, a huge incentive for bigger companies to keep up-to-speed with new digital rivals.

This can mean changing business roles across multiple departments, with the ultimate goal of adding value at the consumer end.

Digital transformation 101 starts with a customer-centric focus, an approach which will reduce organizational resistance by reminding stakeholders of the ultimate goal: meeting evolving customer expectations.

Reimagining your business means leveraging new technologies to your advantage, utilizing digital technology to reach customers at various touchpoints.

It means changing the way you interact with digital consumers, embarking on a 21st century business journey.

Digital transformation promotes necessary changes to company culture, those which help companies retain competitiveness in today’s business landscape.

Digital Transformation 101: Why is it Important?

Before we look at how you can instigate a successful digital transformation strategy, let’s begin by looking at why it’s important to do so:

Meeting Evolving Consumer Expectations

The modern consumer has high expectations when they interact with businesses.

Smartphone culture has transcended the world operate within, where people increasingly look to mobile solutions to common issues.

Consumers expect companies to deliver solutions which align with behavioral norms, i.e. via technological devices where people spend most of their time.

Businesses must maintain agile IT services to meet evolving consumer demands. With greater networking capability it becomes much easier to offer a positive, modern user experience.

Delivering on consumer expectations is challenging, but a critical aspect of business transformation.

In order for staff to operate in a modern world they must be competent, capable of utilizing modern applications. Training is often required to bring staff up-to-speed, consolidated by experience with the IT team and tools involved.

Productivity

Digital transformation is critical for helping staff be more effective within their roles.

Workforce engagement is a hot topic. Staff are naturally more engaged when technology is integrated with their core competencies.

Technological solutions have created faster and better ways of doing things, creating a pivotal role in helping employees offer maximum value for customers.

Utilizing modern technology helps employees be more productive in the workplace, enabling them to more effectively fulfill their primary roles.

Core business functions like finance and HR can transition from a manual to automated approach. This is crucial because it frees time for leaders to focus on wider business opportunities, those which will ultimately translate to greater value.

With a network, remote working is a real possibility, removing some of the geographical restrictions which have often held companies back.

With elevated access to technology and other services on demand, companies can innovate and support employee development in a digital realm.

Delivering an elite consumer experience can require on demand technological services, however meeting these requirements will elevate productivity dramatically.

This can put a strain on the IT department in the early stages, but will certainly pay dividends with a view to the long term.

Security

Transformative efforts are necessary in order to keep data secure, especially when it’s placed at the edge of business networks.

There are innovative methods for protecting information, but these often requires rigorous enforcement around data compliance, access and shielding from attacks.

Keeping data secure is a huge initiative in modern business, one which can be met with the requisite security strategies. This is aided with the presence of the right technological solutions.

Stringent security measures aren’t always enough, especially when underperforming networks force staff to go elsewhere for greater speeds and flexibility. 

As a progressive business your security strategy must be present across all applications, networks and data, regardless of the service providers you’re leveraging.

Digital transformation can be truly transformative when broader business objectives are considered. Staff should work together to achieve modern goals, while being aware of security and safety implications.

Digital Transformation 101: 6 Steps to a Successful Strategy

For a successful digital transformation there is one crucial factor: consistency.

If you’re to create a solid digital transformation plan, each and every step must be calculated in advance:

Assess the Digital Landscape

A great starting point is assessing your current business processes and looking at whether you’re meeting current demands. 

From here you can evaluate areas of improvement, and how digital technologies can be leveraged to help you meet long-term business goals.

Define Objectives

Once you’ve addressed the main pain points, you should come to terms with what you want to achieve with your digital transformation.

Each transformative initiative should serve a specific purpose, identifying the needs of customers and streamlining business processes accordingly.

Digital Transformation Roadmap

Building a strategy is the most important aspect of all.

This should prioritize customer needs, while taking a systematic approach to improvements.

Look at how you can improve business operations and keep track of your progress to minimize the scope for failure.

Choose the Right Tools/Technologies

There are certain means which will help you achieve your business goals.

These are usually technology or software orientated. Key technologies will enable change, working as the key transformation drivers.

Things like the cloud, IoT and others are cutting edge considerations.

Leadership

Digital transformation requires a dedicated team and clear leadership.

Without leadership it’s difficult to establish a clear direction. Though various stakeholders will be responsible for enabling change to take effect, someone will need to be at the helm to assign responsibilities.

If you’re sourcing talent from elsewhere you should consider hiring a transformation partner who understands and supports your business objectives.

By doing so you can more successfully deliver upon expectations.

Budget Correctly

A reasonable effort will be required, however it’s important you stick within budget.

With realistic strategic funding you can address the major factors on route to a successful digital transformation.

The amount of resources you’ll need is largely dependent on your strategic goals.

Cost efficient solutions will help you remain within your budget, including things like hiring offshore developers for example.

Empower Your Team

Your staff must be empowered and educated sufficiently to embrace change.

Your corporate culture must align with transformative efforts, while you teach staff to capitalize on new tools and technologies in ways which ultimately benefit them.

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