Digital transformation is an emerging concept, but what’s the truth behind the buzzword?

The technological revolution is real.

Companies must innovate to survive, to keep up with evolving consumer demands.

Without digital transformation it’s difficult to maintain a level of productivity which will keep your business afloat.

Before we look at the type of digital transformation strategies which will benefit your company, a logical starting point for this article is establishing a baseline definition of digital transformation.

So, What is Digital Transformation Exactly?

An important process for keeping organizations up-to-speed with the latest technology.

Constant updates and releases require individuals to be on their toes. Drop the ball for one second and it’s easy to fall behind!

Relatively straightforward? Digital transformation is far from it.

A complex concept which can be daunting at the best of times, but an essential one.

It impacts multiple organizational facets, where every aspect of your business is subject to change based on continuously changing circumstances.

Creating an efficient digital operation requires a measured approach. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but with patience you can achieve a modern organizational haven.

Employees will be asked to step out of their comfort zone, but once you’ve created a culture which embraces change rather than rejecting it digital adoption becomes a real possibility.

What’s great about digital transformation is it opens up new job opportunities, roles which perhaps didn’t exist before technology began to transcend business operations.

As employees cultivate new skill sets they become more equipped to successfully fulfill their job roles. This will directly impact your company’s bottom line.

But digital transformation is about more than technological changes. It’s a way of working, a culture, a mindset which complements new infrastructure, software and tools.

With everyone on board digital technologies can be integrated more smoothly, though it’s difficult to expect anything but a rocky ride.

Adapting to new technologies will help you go a lot further than simply adopting them.

For maximum reward you must challenge the mindsets of staff so they can tackle the challenges new technology brings.

By doing so you’ll reap the rewards of efficiency, greater data and most importantly more business opportunities.

Now let’s take a look at digital transformation strategies which will help you transition in a modern environment:

What Digital Transformation Strategies Work Well?

Here are some great digital transformation strategies which will change the way you work for the better:

Get Input from Customers

If you don’t thoroughly understand your target demographic it’s difficult to cater to their requirements.

And let’s face it the customer is always right, even more so since social media became prominent in our lives.

Your digital strategy must align with customer expectations. If it doesn’t it will simply be an informed guess.

Understanding your audience will reinforce the importance of developing digital strategies

With customer feedback you can devise a digital strategy which meets customers on their terms.

And how exactly should you approach learning about your clientele?

By getting out there and asking them.

Hiring a team of researchers is a great place to start. Online research has gained relevance in recent years, but still nothing beats face-to-face questioning.

This will help you avoid the pitfalls of introducing a generic strategy.

Once you’ve established customer pain points you can build innovative solutions targeting these areas of concern.

You can then focus on creativity, cutting-edge technology and great design.

You’ll find the best way to provide value for customers is by optimizing your business solutions for mobile devices.

This is a cornerstone of digital innovation. 

Use Executive Influence

Capitalizing on the influence of others is a great strategy to speed digital transformation.

Many organizations are building innovation hubs to receive input from the best minds available.

For example Scotiabank launched Digital Factory in 2015, which aimed to identify critical areas of improvement within its company operations.

Tech experts could then evaluate the customer experience to learn about the most pressing pain points and how to address them.

Though these hubs can lack executive leadership they can be used for company benefit.

An organization must use executive influence to get high-level agendas off the ground, otherwise your digital strategy can fall by the wayside.

A combination of stakeholder influence and executive leadership is a great way to lead your company through digital transformation.

Look Past the Competition

In many business contexts fear drives digital transformation.

The fear of competitors beating you to the punch, or perhaps a digital disruptor leaving you in the dust.

Fear can be a great motivator. The fear of losing competitiveness is a motivational factor, something you can leverage to achieve digital adoption.

The average lifespan of most companies is considerably shorter than it once was, with some research even suggesting it’s dropped from 61 years to less than 18.

Businesses were once built on the basis of longevity, where you’d establish a stable business model and stick with it for some time.

In today’s rapidly evolving markets it would appear disruption is the new norm.

Rather than being tied down by your closest competitors it’s better to instigate innovation as opposed to following the lead of your competition.

Being a trendsetter as opposed to following trends is a great way to stand out from the crowd.

However that doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t analyze your competition to gauge your path.

It simply means you should be focusing on much more than that, looking beyond competitors to the bigger picture.

By looking outside of your own industry you can learn from the upstream changes of businesses you aren’t in direct competition with.

There is a wealth of information to be obtained from the way others do business.

Take General Electric (GE) as an example. After seeking inspiration from elsewhere the company was able to learn from innovative tech companies and incorporate these philosophies accordingly.

By expanding your point of view there’s a good chance you can digitally optimize your business initiatives.

Transcend Company Culture

Culture wins over strategy during every battle.

Culture is a battle of the wills, an opportunity to will your company to embrace digital initiatives at the root of business practices.

Without the right culture to sustain a business strategy it will inevitably fail.

This would be like trying to put a USB stick into a mains socket.

Executive support and staying power should be embraced at the heart of business culture. This will ease your transition to incorporating new technology.

A great way to achieve this is by shifting your employee’s focus onto customers rather than thinking about themselves.

It’s difficult to drive empathy into your team, but important to reassure them about the importance of meeting customer expectations.

When cloud-based technologies were first introduced many employees raised the ‘what’s in it for me’ question, but by seeing things from the viewpoint of customers, particularly how they can extract value from new processes, it can convince staff to embrace modern solutions.

With a customer first mentality your staff will understand why they’re being asked to work in new ways. Staff will later realize how new approaches will make their lives easier, a prospect which should be reinforced by executive staff from early on.

To sustain, digital transformation companies must embrace unique challenges to overcome them.

Digital initiatives must be culturally meaningful to retain relevance into the future.

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