Have you ever thought of how we moved from record-book keeping to complicated Excel sheets? How did we switch from journal-ledgers to smart accounting applications? Most businesses had no better options than digitizing their process to meet the changing needs and expectations of the customers. A new or even an old company can remain competitive and relevant in the industry only if they adopt digital transformation. The term has been used and abused by the CIO’s and CEO of marketing firms that it has lost its original meaning in the way. We’ve heard people saying ‘digital transformation’ out and loud in the office when they were just moving to the Cloud. If not this, then what is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is the integration of technology in all aspects of business operations to change the way a business delivers value to the customer. It is the reimagining and realigning of business in the digital age to meet the needs of the digitally-enabled consumer. Big or small, every business starting now should future-proof their operations by going through a digital transformation roadmap. They can no longer depend on screen stickies or ledgers for the coming age. Right now is the time to think, analyze, interpret, and integrate to build, grow, and sustain businesses by enabling them digitally.
What does digital transformation do to your business?
Digital transformation doesn’t any way ask ‘how quickly can you do things with technology?’ instead, it reflects on ‘what can be done best given the technological investments already in place?’ Do you see the difference? Think of how Netflix used its OTT platform to pull customers out of the Rent CDs stores and switch to an ever-growing digital library of Netflix.
The traditional CD rentals are nowhere to be seen now because the same content is now available on TVs, computers, iPads, and mobile phones too. Further, Netflix used AI to understand the streaming behaviors of users only to draw out more customer-driven solutions like the mobile-only Netflix subscription package at Rs 149/monthly. Essentially, the customer experience is at the prime focus of all the digital transformation happening around the world.
How to define your digital transformation roadmap?
Every company needs a unique digital transformation roadmap that helps achieve its business goals. Most would agree that digital transformation is not a one-day job. It is a continuous effort to drive change in the organization with coordination, harmony, and excellent management. A classic digital roadmap has to include the following steps to be able to deliver results successfully.
Articulation of the goals
Vague goals never drive fruitful results. A roadmap means nothing without an achievable goal in place. Think about how much digital transformation is needed in your business? What do you wish to achieve with digital transformation? A clear goal-driven plan will attract more participation, cooperation, and buy-ins from the investors and employees that are quintessential to the success of the digital transformation plan. This will boost employee morale, partner’s faith in the program, and align company actions towards the achievement of the goals.
Vision and Strategy to achieve them
A company needs its design thinkers in harmony with the roadmap to foster real innovation. Design thinking is a way to develop a systematic process of thinking in innovative solutions for the current problem at hand. This creates synergies between the IT and design thinkers to build viable solutions for the coming-age. This is the most crucial step in the transformation process, where the planners decide how they want to take forward the plan of action. Do they wish to do in one go or take baby steps, one day at a time?
They must identify the changes that will occur as a result of the actions and how to counterfeit all the initial inhibitions, resistance, and reluctance amongst the team. Having a defined strategy in place ensures that the team has full confidence in the plan and is willing to go the extra mile to formally take up digital transformation.
Identify gaps/roadblocks in the journey
Digital transformation means less human interference and more automation. Humans will go out of work if they do not adapt to the changing nature of their jobs. This fear could steer away from the employees from actively taking up the digital transformation process. This is one example of a digital transformation roadblock that could hinder success.
Organizational restructuring, technological paralysis, changes in investor/supplier ecosystem, or modification to business plans are more of such hiccups that could stop you from achieving your goals. If there are alternative available or scope of better decision making, then it must be a part of your digital transformation roadmap.
Without a roadmap, you will never know if you’re moving closer to your goals or entirely in the wrong direction. What you have on paper will be slightly different from what you experience while implementing the plan. Your roadmap should include milestones, those when achieved should ensure the success of your project. The ultimate goal might be years away, but smaller targets achieved would boost morale and company image as the plan starts showing results. The continuous change should be validated with more modest achievements to ensure smooth movement of the project without any hiccups.