A practical approach to successful digital transformation
Here’s something you know already. Using technology within a digital transformation framework is an enabler for efficiency, improved customer experience, competitive differentiation, higher productivity and effective use of data for consumer insight. It gives your company the tools to remain agile and adapt to changes in the market and customer demand. In short, it’s an engine that powers your organisation’s growth.
But there’s a crucial challenge that goes hand in hand with that well-established fact. With so many tools, systems and devices offering you the potential to boost your business performance, it’s increasingly difficult to decide which ones to invest in and when.
To get to grips with what lies ahead, see our summarised overview below:
- Achieve ROI from technology
- What is a digital transformation?
- Why do you need digital transformation?
- Top reasons to adopt digital transformation: positive & negative drivers
- Where to start with your digital transformation framework
- Infographic: Your Digital Transformation Framework: 5 steps to success
- A practical first step: assess your current position
- Benefits of defining your digital transformation framework
An organisation-wide plan is a must to achieve ROI from technology investment
Many organisations make these decisions in a reactive way – replacing technology when it is completely out of date, hastily adding new capabilities to match something that a competitor is already doing successfully or bolting on as a kneejerk response to support a new area of business or internal service. But this piecemeal approach can create or compound inefficiencies and reduce the value of your technology investment.
It’s much safer and more effective to have a proactive plan. That’s where a digital transformation framework will be of value.
What is a digital transformation?
Digital transformation means using technology to optimise your total business performance. It means assessing every area of your business to discover how you can gain advantage from digital capabilities and tools including mobile devices, cloud computing, social media, digital marketing, data and analytics, as well as established systems for financial, sales or customer management. It means selecting and using the best technologies in a collaborative way that works across the whole organisation, sharing data and platforms and embedding processes that work seamlessly across functions, connecting both your staff and customers.
But there’s more to digital transformation than smart and cost-effective deployment of technology. The approach demands cultural change and top-down leadership because digital transformation can challenge the ways teams are accustomed to working. It can fundamentally improve established business processes, including breaking down departmental boundaries, resulting in a more agile and collaborative approach.
Why do you need digital transformation?
There are two kinds of drivers for digital transformation – positive and negative. Most organisations are motivated to act by a combination of these factors. Positive drivers reveal opportunities for innovation, agility and cost reduction that your business could grasp if you had a digitally transformed organisation.
Negative drivers describe risks to your business that could constrain sales and performance if you don’t act to mitigate them with the use of appropriate technology.
Negative drivers often galvanise organisations to embark on a technology upgrade project. When users are frustrated with legacy systems, communications break down between departments or data for critical decisions isn’t available, the need for change becomes urgent. But with this reactive approach, you can end up duplicating systems, failing to realise benefits across the organisation, embedding departmental silos, deploying incompatible systems or adopting tools and devices that can only meet a short-term need.
Employing a digital transformation framework enables businesses to look at all their organisational needs from the top down, identifying the technology that will best support. Consulting an experienced guide through this process is valuable. Selecting one that has trodden the path many times, equips you with the benefit of foresight. Upcoming obstacles will be familiar, minimising risk and improving chances of greater ROI.
Top reasons to adopt digital transformation
This list includes the most common reasons our clients have shared with us for committing to build a digital transformation framework. How many of them resonate with you for your business and future ambitions?
Positive drivers for digital transformation:
- We want to improve user experience and customer service by making one version of our data available from any device and for every team resulting in ease of access and improved usability and increased adoption
- We’d like to engage more effectively with clients using a range of channels that suit their needs and preferences
- We’re looking for ways to increase revenue by delivering more services to more customers, targeting them effectively with relevant propositions
- We want to deliver more rapidly and efficiently by streamlining our processes
- We’d like to understand how to better use business intelligence derived from organisation-wide data, with real-time performance reports and predictive analysis
- We want to connect all our technologies and streamline processes. To respond faster to market and customer needs, our business needs the tools to be responsive.
Negative drivers for digital transformation:
- Our legacy systems are no longer fit for purpose. Features and functionality are restrictive and we’re paying for some that we don’t need
- Maintenance, upgrade and data storage costs are out of control
- Reporting is slow and inaccurate. Uninformed operational decisions fail to anticipate customer needs, resulting in poor customer experience.
- Our basic office applications aren’t compatible. It’s complicated and slow for teams to carry out simple tasks, share information and maintain document control
- We’re worried about a lack of resilience against security and data breaches, both from external hacking and from poor data protection compliance
Where to start with your digital transformation framework
Today’s technology may be complex and sophisticated, but a simple and systematic approach to digital transformation planning is most effective. Design your digital transformation framework so it directly supports your current and future business goals. As with any commercial investment, you need to be clear about the objectives, within a robust business case.
Digital transformation is a strategic activity, not an IT-led project. It is important to actively involve stakeholders from every business function, right from the start. One way to align everyone’s thinking is to bring the team together for a workshop discussion. This way, everybody can understand the opportunities and challenges that may lay ahead.
A practical first step: assess your current position
A good starting point is to review your current business situation – what technology do you already have? Some parts of your business may be more advanced than others. Gather stakeholders from every function to work with you to define a clear, shared vision, so everyone understands why you need to digitally transform. From there you can set the team to work on specific goals and begin to build a coherent plan.
If the process is daunting or you don’t know enough about the potential of technology to enhance and streamline your business, a digital transformation consultant from Xpedition could help you to build your knowledge and explore your market and sector to identify relevant developments and emerging needs and opportunities.
Benefits of defining your digital transformation framework
More and more businesses are recognising the value of a digital transformation framework. According to Microsoft’s EVP Jean-Philippe Courtois, “Every company, irrespective of what the industry is, or will soon be, thinking and operating like a digital company. That means every part of an organization will need to transform and re-engineer operations to support the new speed of business.”
A clear strategy helps you make swift and confident investment decisions and drive maximum value from technology across your organisation.
Digital transformation offers great potential for positive change, reducing costs, increasing revenue and optimising business performance. Embedding a coherent, collaborative, organisation-wide approach will streamline processes, embed efficiency and reveal opportunities to outperform, grow and ready your business for what the future may hold.
Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more about a proactive approach to building your digital transformation framework, from Xpedition consultants who’ve worked with organisations like yours to support them in successful planning and implementation.