There may be no universally accepted definition of “digital transformation.” However, it is undisputed that the phrase constitutes an approach to doing business that involves new processes and new systems. With startup companies often riding the leading edge of innovation, digital transformation has enabled them to shrug off old restrictions. They now utilize smartphones, tablets, and cloud apps to instantaneously access information, communicate and centralize customer data. Companies with a dying business model are also leveraging technology as a way to bolster their future outcomes.
A Revolution Within a Revolution
Digital transformation is getting significant traction because it is altering the way businesses approach day-to-day operations. A businesses communications, customer relations, logistics, sales, and marketing all changing with an eye toward greater efficiency. The widespread popularity and adoption of mobile devices and apps are placing digital transformation in the office, and many business functions are evolving with the use of automation and digitization in business processes.
There are many reasons why digital transformations fail to take hold in a company. One of the primary ones is the cultural impact on a company and its employees. There can be a natural resistance to change, especially if it’s coming from outside the department or organization. This gets trickier if a new management team, leader or consultants are brought in by the board to create change.
Other reasons for enhancing success include a proper change management framework and the types and depth of training. Users may not effectively perform their duties if they don’t understand the new processes, tools, apps, and methods.
Users will not embrace change for the sake of transformation. If they understand that they will benefit from these improvements, then they will help implement these new methods. But, it can be hard to explain this to stakeholders like investors and customers. They may benefit from the company’s improved services and products the most. However, unless they appreciate the story behind the transformations, they might shy away from patronizing the company as a whole. Convincing them of the opportunities digital transformation can offer is a revolution within a revolution. The customers though are instrumental in the adoption of digital transformation initiatives.
Digital Transformation vs. Tradition, And the Battle Against Gradual Change
Holding physical meetings is proof that there are still people who stick to the traditional ways of doing things. With virtual meetings, no one needs to carry reams of documents, as “soft” digital copies are accessible via the employee’s mobile device. There are also plenty of online meeting tools that allow each participant to annotate the documents during the meeting. The concept is extending further with virtual meetings if there is no need for the participants to be physically present in the same room. Most meetings can easily be conducted through a conference call or a video call.
A close examination of the functions within a company may show that while management commits to digital transformation, many functions are barely digital at all. Digital transformation should start at the top in order to affect all areas of business. While that sounds good in theory, in practice most organizations approach digital transformation only gradually.
When an organization does too much too soon, it might not be able to focus on any single task, leaving them accomplishing nothing. The better approach is to identify an area of inefficiency within the business that will greatly benefit from the digital approach and begin from there. Focusing on one thing at a time will allow the company to go through each transformation faster, while simultaneously affording them the time to assess any learning from the experience, and use that for the next project in moving forward.
Digital Transformation of a Dying Business Model
It is often the case, that a dying business model requires digital transformation to succeed. These companies normally are experiencing tremendous strains on the historical core business. Bringing the company into the digital world is challenging but when it is coupled with financial strains, the transformation is even more complicated.
There is no template for universal success in digital transformation, but embedding digital tools and methods in many parts of the operation will help employees get familiar with digital tools and the new approaches that come with them. That will make it easier to fully embrace automation and innovative digital transformation later on. It will also serve as a potential way for a dying business model to be resurrect itself.