A guide to digital transformation
Digital transformation is on the agenda for businesses of all sizes, in all sectors. But how many companies are paying the topic lip service, rather than embedding it into their strategy to take their business into the digital age?
We’ve already seen a number of major business sectors decimated by digital challenger brands and new technologies. Music and television have been changed forever by online streaming, for example.
It’s clear that organisations that fail to embrace digital will fall behind and potentially fail. So what are the steps companies need to take in order to successfully embrace digital technology into their model?
1. Understand the trends
The first step is to assess the digital landscape and how the direction of change can benefit your business. Major buzzwords today are AI, Blockchain, data science and automation – but you can’t make snap decisions about whether these areas will benefit your organisation.
Many companies today have teams of people analysing the latest developments and working through the potential future benefits. Selecting the appropriate course of action can take many months or even years.
Vital to this research is to look outwards. Appoint experts, whether it’s through the major consulting firms or experienced external consultants that have driven transformation in other contexts.
2. Stay true to your DNA
Your focus should be on evolution, not revolution. Embracing new technology should enhance what you offer, not replace it.
Remember that you will need to take your employees with you in any new direction, so the change needs to sit comfortably with your existing culture and vision.
3. Assess the potential gains
Digital transformation can be complex and costly. Before embarking on any change you need to have fully modelled the costs, gains, risks and opportunities. Discard high cost, high risk strategies in favour of achievable goals with good prospects.
This is an essential step in gaining the support of your stakeholders.
4. Create a roadmap
Like any journey, transformation needs careful planning. Often there is key groundwork to complete before the new strategy can be embedded. You need to create a realistic, step-by-step plan with agreed timeframes – both to deliver the digital change and educate and inspire your people in adopting the new strategy.
There will be many parallel workstreams, from the technical and financial elements through to human resources, communications and project management.
5. Dedicate resource
Any major change programme needs to be given the tools to succeed. That means clear leadership, board-level support, and a dedicated project management team. Many organisations bring in external expertise to drive digital transformation, and there are growing numbers of experienced change leaders in this area.
Its essential to be clear at the outset of digital transformation about what your expectations are. You need to have set clear milestones and goals against which to measure your progress. Listen to your team – there will always be setbacks and challenges along the way. Taking each of these seriously and mitigating their impact will be essential to success.
WIL Group has a strong talent pool of senior and experienced transformation leaders in market sectors and locations worldwide. To explore how we can help support your digital ambitions, contact your local office today.