Digital transformation can look vastly different for every organization since it is impossible to create a single solution that fits every need. That’s why, when we refer to Digital Transformation, we define it as:
Integrating digital tools into every aspect of an organization in order to create fundamental changes in how that organization functions internally and delivers value to its constituents.
Beyond this basic definition, digital transformation also mandates that an organization continuously and objectively challenge existing beliefs and biases, constantly experiment, and be comfortable with failure. This can be demonstrated by abandoning legacy business practices in favor of more forward-thinking and modern approaches to both mundane and vital processes.
How Does Digital Transformation Work in Reality?
Bill is the CEO of Tech Solutions, Inc., and they just met their annual revenue forecast. The company has ebbed and flowed through the years and experienced overall growth. Some years they didn’t meet sales goals, and others they have. In down years, Bill usually pinned it on the economy and made assumptions based upon who was in political office.
Although Tech Solutions hit the mark this year, Bill feels like there is something else he is missing. He’s thought about various departments in the company. The numbers aren’t bad at all, but he knows there is more business out there. In fact, he knows there is some repeat business the company is missing out on. Maybe he needs to talk with the sales team and evaluate their performance. Mark, the VP of Sales, has been laissez faire for a while and doesn’t seem engaged. Is it time to let him go and find someone better that can raise the bar because he knows they can be better?
These the type of thoughts keeping Bill up at night. Chances are, similar thoughts are keeping you up, too. Do you think that Bill would sleep better knowing that his entire team functioned like a special operations military unit that knew exactly what their mission was and knew the jobs of everyone else on the team? You bet he would! What about if he knew his customers were 100% happy and there was no reason why they would go anywhere else? He’d sleep like a baby. You would, too.
Like Bill, you may experience those same feelings, but you can’t figure out what to do. That’s normal. Most leaders can’t put their finger on it, because they don’t have the experience and context in transforming a company from a good one to a great one. They’ve not completely embraced digital transformation because they don’t understand exactly what it is.
Digital transformation is more than just remote working and cloud-based technology
When customers come to us to find out more about digital transformation, it is usually not because they want to transfer their company to the cloud and/or have the ability to work remotely. Those are great byproducts of digital transformation, but it is much more than that.
Customers come to us because they can’t sleep at night. The issues keeping Bill up are also what is keeping them up at night. They just don’t know where to begin.
Digital transformation begins with leadership
Ultimately, to make the commitment to change processes, it is up to the leadership. Bill learns that a digital transformation rebuild is going to make him and his company uncomfortable, for a time. His team, including he might ask, “Why are we doing this? Our company is doing okay. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” However, to become extraordinary in regard to processes and customer experience, our motto is, “If it ain’t broke, we break it. Then we rebuild it.” The success of our customers proves our motto works and our customers see it every day in their digitally transformed businesses. Are you ready to commit?
Digital transformation is all about creating experiences
For your customers
When it boils down to it, companies that go through a successful transformation process experience a paradigm shift. They shift from being company-centric to customer-centric. If any of your current processes do not work toward a better customer experience, they are just band-aids for a larger problem.
What is needed is a 360-degree view of your current and potential customers, so you can attract and serve the right people at the right time. In order to do that you must know who your customers are and define the experiences they have during each step of their relationship with your organization. Positive customer-centric experiences directly correlate to loyalty and that requires your sales, marketing, and other internal teams to be seamlessly aligned with efficient processes and tools.
For your employees
Sometimes we sit down with someone like Bill or his sales leader, Mark, and ask, did you know that it takes your sales team 12 clicks to accomplish a process that we can streamline to three? Invariably, the answer is no. Eliminating these extra steps causes the sales team to work much more efficiently and it will also have a positive effect on downstream teams like production, fulfillment, and customer service. The more we pull back the veil on current processes, the more we find ways to streamline. Most of the time, employees embrace the fact they can work more efficiently and have greater satisfaction in what they do.
Organizations take on digital transformation initiatives for various reasons. Like Bill, you may have a sales issue. Other firms have concerns about operations or production. Regardless, the real reason firms take on digital transformation is that they have no other choice if they expect to survive. The post-COVID business environment will demand successful organizations adapt quickly to shifts in employee needs, process efficiencies, and, of course, rapidly changing customer expectations. Are you confident you can succeed in such an environment?