Digital Transformation is a phrase that businesses are all too familiar with but there are many interpretations of what it means. Companies large or small feel this is an opportunity that they cannot afford to miss!
All too often a decision is made at the top when an executive says we must do “more digital” with little understanding of what this involves and how this will affect their daily business operations. Companies are under huge pressure to get onboard with this process, they fear that if they do not, they will be left behind and watch their competitive edge slip away
Traditional organisational change failure rates are already reported to be 60-80 %, when it comes to digital transformation the story is much worse. A Bain survey reported that just 5% of companies involved in digital transformation achieved or exceeded the expectations that they had set themselves. Many of these companies had settled for very little return on investment and mediocre performance.
There are many reasons for such poor outcomes but one of the reasons is that many firms jump on this bandwagon far too early without thinking it through at a higher strategic level. Often the starting point is “we need to go digital”, looking for areas of the business to implement the technology, usually this is a strong pain point that they want to fix. Digital transformation is not about fixing isolated pain points but more about finding ways in which a company can improve their customer journey and provide the best level of service they can. Companies overlook this and go straight ahead putting digital solutions into various parts of the business rather than thinking of this as an enterprise wide initiative.
Another reason for failure is a total lack of investment in areas outside the digital arena. In order to successfully implement any change, there must be a clear reason for doing so. This message must be communicated throughout the organisation from the Board level at the top through to the workers on the frontline. It is here that many companies fail to invest the time and money required, and without the understanding and buy-in of all involved success will very difficult to achieve.
Technology is constantly improving, and companies are keen to be seen as the leaders in their field. There is no doubt for those who are successful in their digital transformation the rewards are immense in terms improved customer service and increased revenue. The problem is that not every company needs or indeed will benefit from digital transformation. Technology is not a one size fits all. Often, companies are so keen to be seen as innovators so they rush into it and buy the “next big thing” without any clear idea how they will use it and what the benefits might be.
Introducing traditional change into an organisation is no easy feat, and digital transformation with all it entails is a far greater challenge.
The operating model is a crucial starting point, what does it look like and how can technology work within this model to give the best results. Many organisations are operating based on models that are out of date with their business goals and not agile enough to keep up with the fast pace of customer expectations and technology change.
All the business departments must work together to confirm the business processes and look at how these processes can benefit from digital intervention.
In the Broadgate office we often talk about people, process and technology and it is the people part here which will ensure that the innovations proposed will benefit what is actually happening in the business on a day to day basis. These are the people who have the understanding to see how a process can be improved and they are the people who can ensure your success. As we said earlier, investing heavily in the planning process and getting the culture and the environment ready for change cannot be underestimated but is often overlooked.
From the boardroom to the post room everyone must understand the business, what your business is trying to achieve so that everyone can understand the benefits of the digital change.
Digital transformation is not a one-time project but an ongoing improvement strategy. Organisations should always be thinking how they can keep improving their business and how they can offer their customers the best experience.
Is your business ready for digital transformation?
- Is your operating model ready?
- Are your business processes ready?
- Is your board ready?
- Are your employees ready?
- Is your company culture ready?
If the answer is yes to all of the above, then you have a great chance of success!