Building Blocks of Digital Transformation

Businesses in every industry today are under tremendous pressure to digitally transform themselves. Every day, new companies are coming up with better technologies and trying to outpace the success of well-established multinational corporations. Technology has turned around the entire business platform. People with limited financial and human capital resources are doing wonders. For example, take WhatsApp, an application used in many countries and very popular in the Indian market, which even today has only 34 employees working for the company. Facebook, launched by Mark Zuckerberg to connect the alumni of Harvard students, is today used by more than 100 million users across the globe. The reason for their success is digital transformation and nothing else.

In this article today, we will be understanding the steps that a company can take for its successful digital transformation, certain barriers that will come in the way of the company and its digital transformation journey, and a few examples of prominent companies doing the same.

The Digital Transformation of Businesses

Businesses today are digitally transforming themselves across all their functions, be it enhancing the customer experience or the operational activity of ordering inventory. Digital transformation helps the business automate menial tasks, use data to do better business, align all the activities of the firm, and enhance the customer experience. Digital transformation means marketing the business on the internet and social media platforms, using cloud technologies to store and share data, using AI to speed up the working process, and using machine learning to develop better products, among other things. For example, today, if a customer has a query on how to use a particular feature or something very simple, instead of waiting in line for the customer support team of the company, they can take help from the AI customer bot of the company. The bot is at the disposal of the consumer 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can provide solutions to simple and common problems easily.

Foundational Elements for Successful Digital Transformation

The business needs to take care of the following points for the implementation of a successful and holistic digital transformation process − Some of them are −

  • Enhancing the customer experience or purchase journey − Today's consumers are literally spoiled with choices. They have innumerable brands at their disposal that offer them similar and identical products. What will set a company apart from the crowd now is the customer experience or customer journey. Companies need to be in the shoes of the consumer and go through the entire consumer journey, which means developing well-built, accessible, and easy-to-use websites. Companies need to make sure that they are helping the consumer by providing them with data on the product, comparing different brands, giving them subtle reminders to repurchase, and others. The most important aspect is that brands must ensure that the consumer's post-purchase experience is delightful. The after-purchase experience will include return policies, re-purchase reminders, assistance in case of defects, servicing, help in accessing features, and others.

  • Cross-functional leadership and operational alignment − For digital transformation to be successful, companies have to ensure that different departments, from top authorities to operational employees, are in sync. Most digital transformations failed because employees were not empowered. For a successful business, we have to ensure that departments like legal, HR, finance, marketing, and production are working in sync. Even when developing a product, these must collaborate because they represent the four Ps of marketing. The leadership has to agree on the transformation, and then only can the different departments and operational workers implement this strategy of digital transformation.

  • Agile planning and investments − Holding meetings once a year and deciding the course of action for the business seems pretty orthodox in the dynamic market that we live in. Companies should promote creativity and innovation in their working culture. For example, a company can fund 600 projects out of 1000 being presented and keep doing that throughout the year, hoping for good results, or ask the project managers to first come up with MPV and the customer experience that the project might create. Decide your funding based on those proposals, and then hold meetings every three months to decide how much money should be flown to each project. This will ensure that the projects that are not doing well are shut off at an early stage and that projects with higher capabilities can expand their work.

  • Value stream mapping − When companies use value stream mapping, they can perform agile methodologies for investment, improve customer experience, and align with different departments and leadership. This value stream mapping supervises all the steps that help the company deliver the product to the consumer successfully. This includes design thinking techniques, policies of the company, governance, strategic decisions, and others.

Certain Tips to Keep in Mind While Doing the Digital Transformation

  • It takes time − Leadership should not force employees or managers to push the timeline of digital transformation in order to save cost and time. The employees have to be aligned with technology, and every department has to be in sync, and it will take time.

  • It will cost you money − The digital transformation will cost you money not only in terms of the technology or the application (the capital investment), but it will also require regular training sessions, and feedback sessions to clear the doubts of the employees, and improvisation sessions in which the transformation is adapted as per the needs of the company.

  • It will be difficult to get approvals − The digital transformation may seem like an avoidable cost for the conservative authority. Hence, buckle up because the fight to get approval is going to be rigorous.

  • Employees' hesitant attitude and revolt − Not all employees will be up for digital transformation. Many will see this as a hassle that they can avoid because they are too comfortable with their current working ways. Companies must launch awareness campaigns to make employees feel safe, and in extreme cases, the troublemaker may be fired.

Digital transformation can be a failure if the above points are not taken into consideration. When digital transformation fails, it might cost the company in terms of delayed orders, loss of revenue, loss of share prices, and initial investments in digital transformation, and some might crumble to dust as well. Many companies, including HP and Hershey, have failed in digital transformation due to a lack of planning and time constraints. Companies can easily transform themselves if they have set their minds to it; all they have to do is be a little cautious about it. Being digital is the future of companies and industries, so tighten up your sock and dive deep into the digital world. The world of opportunities is waiting for you.

Updated on: 10-Mar-2023


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