We’ve mentioned it before and we'll mention it again, ‘it’s no longer about a digital strategy, it’s all about your strategy in a digital world’. It’s been estimated that by 2018, 67% of all global 2000 enterprises will have digital transformation at the centre of their corporate strategy and with 58% of businesses looking to digital, it’s clear to see businesses are ready to face their challenges. However, with only 26% of businesses ready to fully execute a digital transformation - it still has a long way to go.
If you’re ready to digitally transform your business, here are the steps to follow for success.
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation refers to the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of business and it looks to revise how you use digital throughout your business when it comes to your processes, how you communicate both internally and externally as well as your staff and proposition. As customers, digital is transforming us however with so many different channels and so much noise, it’s essential for a business to join the dots between all customer touchpoints. Digital has become a key influencer in our lives and with more and more organisations embarking on digital transformation, it’s time to set your business on the right path.
Assess the market
Firstly, it’s imperative you assess whether digital transformation is right for you. Begin by determining where your audience are and where they tend to engage with you to ensure you are pursuing the right path for your business. The next step is to assess the market and where you sit amongst your competitors. How are they transforming / how have they transformed? Is there anything you can learn from them? Create scenarios of what could happen if you digitally transformed and then consider what could happen if your competitors fully embraced transformation leaving you behind. Look at your business and your new understanding of the marketplace to decide which digital tools can help you achieve your goals.
To begin digital transformation, it’s important to take a top-down approach - you should have leaders with the right mindset and motivation to lead the digital transformation process (often businesses hire third parties to lead on their digital transformation to create a figure of authority). At analysis stage, you need to look at your business from the inside out - consider the tools and systems you use, what works well, what doesn’t and ways these can be improved. Consider how you communicate both internally and externally, the strengths and weaknesses of your staff and if their skills are fit for purpose. Do you need staff with more digital skills and will you need to recruit them throughout the process? Also look at your premises, technology, right through to your proposition to identify the changes you have to make to fully transform. At analysis stage, put yourself in your customer’s shoes to see the type of experience they have with your business across different channels as this will help to uncover weaknesses and opportunities for improvement.
When you have completed this you should be fully aware of which new skills and tools you need, areas you need to improve on and new processes you have to adopt throughout the transformation journey. Then it’s time to set out how you will achieve your goal.
Whether you want to reach your goals in 6 months, 1 year or 2 years, beginning with a realistic goal in mind will not only help you set milestones but will allow you to effectively measure the success at each point through regular monitoring. The planning stage involves setting guidelines, outlining a strategy for digital transformation (and beyond) as well as a roadmap for reaching the end goal.
When the roadmap is created it is time to follow through on your plans. The delivery stage is made up of workshops involving the full company (or key team members), staff training in any areas deemed necessary as well following through on all action points to reach key milestones outlined in the roadmap. Whether it’s creating an agile working environment, transforming the company culture or taking your business online for the first time, real success comes from staff buy-in (through education), great leadership and regular measurement.
Top tips for delivering
- Don’t tackle in all in one go. By breaking into manageable chunks you can review and learn as you go.
- Invest in your team. A motivated team who really believe in the cause will help maintain the buzz and will stay positive. Aim to build an exciting company culture with your team at the centre.
- Regularly measure performance - remember the agile mantra, fail fast, learn fast.
- Get the basics right first - then you can build on it. Think about digital transformation like a cake. Once you get the base right, you can always add those extra layers later to make it that little bit better.
- Appoint an agency to assist or bring in external assistance to oversee the full transformation. Businesses tend to be set in their ways and often need to see things from an outside looking in perspective to really embrace change.
Not sure if digital transformation is right for your business? It’s not only private companies investing - charities, higher education bodies right through to the government have embraced digital transformation in 2015. Thanks to the digital by default service standard introduced last year, the government aims to transform their services to be inherently digital, faster, more accessible and concise and this is only possible through digital transformation.
With 18 years of experience in digital, we’re on hand to help you put digital at the heart of your business. Over the last few years we’ve seen first-hand the benefits of digital transformation having worked with the EDF Energy Group and more recently, Robert Gordon University. If you’re looking to have a chat about our digital transformation services and how we can help you, we’re just a call or email away.