Demystifying Digital Transformation. A Comprehensive Digital Strategy Guide
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is the process of adapting and evolving business processes and customer experience by using digital technologies.
It can also be defined as a cultural shift that requires organizations to effectively integrate digital technology into all areas of a business.
By 2022, the worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies will reach $1.97 trillion. (IDG)
Digital transformation is helping businesses respond to fast-changing customer expectations in today’s dynamic business environment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What is digital transformation?
What is the meaning of digital transformation?
Digital transformation is the reimagining of business processes, organizational culture, and customer experience by effectively adopting and implementing digital technologies.
What is digital transformation in simple words?
Digital transformation can be defined as the process of assessing and transforming various aspects of a business – from internal systems to customer interactions, using digital technologies.
What is a digital transformation strategy?
A digital transformation strategy is the blueprint for an organization’s digital transformation journey. It answers critical questions and builds bridges between current state and desired state. It also identifies the barriers to transformation and the means to overcome them.
What are some examples of digital transformation?
Some examples of digital transformation include:
- The transition from printed marketing material to digital material.
- The transition from print mail campaigns to automated email campaigns.
- Ecommerce stores replacing traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
- ATMs replacing bank tellers.
- Chatbots replacing call center agents.
- Transaction screenshots replacing bank receipts.
What is the goal of digital transformation?
The goal of digital transformation is to help organizations develop the agility to rapidly respond to fast-changing business landscapes. A digital transformation program helps organizations achieve this goal by:
1. Increasing efficiency
Digital transformation is focused on optimizing processes and making workflows faster and more efficient. This enables teams to save hours spent in processing paperwork and create digital workflows which increase efficiency.
2. Enhancing service
The primary objective of any digital transformation program is to meet customers’ needs more effectively. As you set out to achieve that goal, your organization might also achieve increased revenue and profit margins.
70 percent of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one. (ZDNet)
3. Improving collaboration
One of the key objectives of digital transformation program is to resolve organizational silos and improve better communication across functions. In fact, a digital transformation program is truly effective when all departments are aligned and are able to collaborate with each other.
4. Optimizing processes
Digital transformation is the intensive change of business and organizational activities, processes and competencies and models to improve the way we conduct business. The main objective is process optimization. Nevertheless, considering how fast digital technology disrupts industries, it’s important to be constantly prepared to change and adapt.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What is the goal of digital transformation?
Why do businesses need digital transformation?
There are six key reasons why businesses need digital transformation
- Expedite the speed to market
- Boost revenue and profits
- Gain a competitive advantage
- Increase employee productivity
- Enhance customer experience
- Improve customer retention and acquisition
What are the challenges of digital transformation?
The five key challenges of digital transformation are:
- Organizational bureaucracy
- Budget constraints
- Employee resistance
- Legacy IT infrastructure
- Lack of expertise
Only 7% of companies have fully implemented a digital first approach. (IDG)
What are the benefits of digital transformation?
A large number of organizations are implementing digital transformation initiatives. Despite its challenges, why are enterprises prioritizing digital transformation and making sizeable investments? The answer lies in its benefits. Here are the five key benefits your enterprise can expect from digital transformation:
1. Improved operational efficiency
By eliminating the dependence on slow, legacy IT systems, digital transformation makes businesses nimbler and more responsive to current market trends. Manual processes are replaced with electronic versions and a quicker process flow is put into place, thereby improving the overall organization efficiency.
2. Better customer experience
Digital transformation is focused on improving brand-customer engagement across all touchpoints. By implementing a customer-centric focus, it enables enterprises to respond to dynamic customer expectations and adapt to the competitive industry landscape. It also delivers a unified experience by connecting enterprise-wide systems and technologies.
3. Robust decision making
Digital transformation gives companies the ability to combine data from all customer interactions into an actionable format. This helps businesses optimize insights and enable data-driven decision making. With accurate data and sound insights, businesses can make sound decisions and achieve business goals in a shorter time.
4. Reduced costs and enhanced profitability
Optimizing business technology and operations means reduced cost-per-transaction and increased sales. A recent study revealed that business digitization reduces operating costs up to 20%. It also enables efficient cost management thus resulting in a more effective control of production and sale processes. Digitization also allows companies to create new business models and revenue sources.
5. Reduced risks
An agile approach to digital transformation eliminates bottlenecks and prepares businesses to be future-ready. By automating daily updates, communications, workflows, processes, and collaborative feedback at the end of each sprint, businesses can ensure nothing is missed and every issue is answered.
85% of enterprise decision makers believe that lagging behind on digital transformation will directly hit their bottom line. (Clickz)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What are the benefits of digital transformation?
Why is digital transformation so important?
Digital transformation is important to modernize processes and implement the latest technologies to streamline business processes, enhance brand-customer interactions, and deliver a delightful customer experience.
Why prioritize digital transformation?
Technology has transformed the way businesses and customers engage. Now more than ever, an organization’s IT strategies are fundamental to their business strategies. Whatever a company’s vision for the future, it must include digital transformation in order to grow and compete effectively. Here are the key reasons why businesses must prioritize digital transformation:
1. Helping employees be more effective
Digital transformation plays a key role in improving employee effectiveness. It provides a valuable opportunity for core business functions (e.g., finance, HR) to abandon manual processes and adopt automation, enabling leaders to focus on the bigger picture. Investment in networking technologies enables remote working, thereby delivering an environment that enables employees to achieve more.
2. Strengthening business partnerships
While customer demands are constantly increasing, the competition within industries is equally fierce. More businesses are working with suppliers, distributors, and sub-contractors with the aim of producing a diverse range of products to interest customers. Managing multiple partners requires document-based communication, a process that can be an obstacle to efficiency. Utilizing a technology such as an eSignature system can enable a streamlined workflow that is timely and transparent. This can save time, improve efficiency, helping employees be more effective, and improve relationships with clients and stakeholders.
3. Ensuring data security
One of the biggest challenges for IT leaders is to keep their data secure. This is a complicated task, requiring rigorous enforcement and compliance. It is imperative that businesses implement a solid security strategy for applications and data, whenever services or service providers are being used. CIOs should work with business and technology partners that understand the broader business objectives and operate with transparency to achieve these goals.
36 percent of enterprise executives reported faster time to market as a result of digital transformation. (PTC)
4. Meeting customer expectations
Customer expectations have changed, and today’s hyperconnected consumers demand a flawless experience at every touchpoint in their engagement journey. Technology is the key enabler in achieving this goal. Whether it’s through a phone app, a website visit or an automated phone call, the customer experience must be seamless, responsive and efficient. If not, your customers will abandon you for your competitor. Each customer interaction is a gold-mining opportunity to glean insights and digitally transformed businesses are best positioned to make the most from every opportunity.
What are the key components of a digital transformation?
The four key components of digital transformation are:
1. Business transformation strategy and roadmap
It is imperative for businesses to have a strategy and roadmap for their development. They need to have the right business architecture, capability identification and mapping, target operating model and the right management to operate.
2. Information management and analytics
Data management and analysis is performed through enterprise data strategy and management, business intelligence, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence.
3. Intelligent automation
This encompasses process management workflow mapping, automated operations and robotic process operations.
4. Program planning and execution
This entails strategic planning, agile development and delivery, portfolio, program and project management and governance. A business is successful in transforming only when it is done for the benefit of the business. All decisions regarding investments should be made by keeping in mind the value creation and benefit realization.
40 percent of enterprise executives achieved improved operational efficiency as a result of digital transformation. (Industry Week)
What is digital transformation strategy?
Digital transformation strategy is commonly misunderstood as a method to procure more technology. In fact, it is about understanding the shift in the behaviors of customers towards digital. It is about embracing digital strategies that will make customer interaction and experience better irrespective of the time and place. Nowadays, digital transformation is a necessity and not an option for businesses.
Digital transformation strategy is defined as a strategy to create an enduring, competitive edge in the digital economy. It can metamorphosize a traditional business into a digital business gradually, which will have a long-term positive effect on the business.
Businesses need to build a digital transformation strategy to connect various aspects like data, information, technologies, process, human resources, and more.
Digital transformation examples
Best Buy an online electronic store, which was once on the verge of shutting down due to heavy competition. However, the store’s declining fortunes were reversed with the help of a successful digital transformation. Today, Best Buy is a digital leader in technology retailing. They not only sell products, but also advise people on which products to purchase. Some key changes that Best Buy made to its strategy are improving the delivery time, introducing special offers, and transitioning from email marketing to a complete digital strategy. They now use data to create customer personas and provide customized assistance and recommendations.
Hasbro, a toy and game company invested in digital transformation and is now one of the most successful toy companies. The key change that Hasbro made to its strategy was targeting the parents instead of the children. Today, they use data to create targeted marking campaigns through multiple channels, especially through social media. The data collected on parents and children helped them understand and recommend relevant products to them, creating a frictionless experience to meet their needs. They have also used social media and video content for digital storytelling, that has enhanced the bond between the customers and them.
71 percent of enterprise executives believe workforce is the key element in supporting their digital transformation strategy. (Industry Week)
Once just a hardware store, Home Depot has digitally transformed with its IT and data management strategies. Their main goal is to provide the best products and services to customers and create a seamless experience across all channels. Home Depot started its digital transformation by making use of data to understand its customers in a better way. They also added voice and visual search to their app. Now customers can easily find products they are looking for and get any sort of help when required. Currently, Home Depot is investing on merging their brick and mortar store with online shopping experience.
General Electric (GE)
GE collaborated with the tech industry to gain more inspiration and insights. They hired people from outside their industry, who had experience developing advanced solutions. They also teamed up with various labs to gain experience. They expanded their point of view by going beyond their industry and launched the Predix platform that allows industrial machines to be optimized and monitored digitally. They analyzed the trends of their competitors and are now one of the leading businesses in their industry.
Saudi Telecom Company (STC)
Saudi Telecom Company launched new digital initiatives, as they sensed that the target audience had changed. They hired a team of researchers to study the lifestyle and habits of the millennials. They wanted to understand the pain points of their consumers. To address these pain points, they had to be creative, have a great design with cutting edge technology and a good digital strategy. They also promoted offers that would be beneficial to the millennials. Their main aim was to understand the pain points of their targeted customers and design digital solutions for it.
Top 10 Digital Transformation Books
- Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction – Thomas M. Siebel
- The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age – David Rogers
- The Technology Fallacy: How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation – Gerald C. Kane
- IT Strategy: A 3-Dimensional Framework to Plan Your Digital Transformation and Deliver Value to Your Enterprise – Jim Maholic
- 77 Building Blocks of Digital Transformation: The Digital Capability Model – Jace An
- No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends – Richard Dobbs, Dr. James Manyika and Dr. Jonathan Woetzel
- Make Disruption Work: a CEO handbook for digital transformation – Alexandra Jankovich and Tom Voskes
- Why Digital Transformations Fail: The Surprising Disciplines of How to Take Off and Stay Ahead – Tony Saldanha
- Digital or Death: Digital Transformation – The Only Choice for Business to Survive, Smash, and Conquer – Dominic M Mazzone
- Innovation Lab Excellence: Digital Transformation from Within – Richard Turrin
Executive summary: What CIOs should do next
Establishing a digital transformation strategy is a daunting prospect for business leaders. The good news is that many organizations already have the technology to get started. Here are five steps CIOs must take as they embark on their digital transformation journey:
1. Assess the current state
Organizations embarking on a digital transformation must start with an assessment of their current state. A digital capabilities assessment provides a comprehensive understanding of where they stand against the backdrop of the current technology landscape. A detailed current state analysis will help in clearly defining future goals and charting out the roadmap to achieve them.
2. Get executive-level buy-in
Getting the support of your executive team is the backbone of your digital transformation program. This is because you will need to account for the resources to implement, such as buying equipment or cloud storage, and many other activities needed to support digital innovation. But simply getting a buy-in is not enough. Once you have the commitment from your c-level leaders, it’s crucial to identify milestones and build momentum with small wins. If you can demonstrate your project milestones at regular intervals, your executive team will become true supporters of your initiative.
3. Construct a talent pool
No digital transformation program can succeed without a skilled workforce. New technology implementation requires strong IT expertise and the capability to implement innovative technologies. You can also choose to outsource the enablement work to a specialized technology services provider and save the recruitment and training expenses. However, you will still need an in-house team to communicate changes and implement them within the organization.
68 percent enterprise executives believe the future of business will involve people and AI working collaboratively. (Fujitsu)
4. Identify the key technologies
Most organizations make the mistake of underestimating this critical step. CIOs often get overwhelmed with modern technologies and try to implement all of them in their current business processes. However, the focus should be on finding the technologies that fit your business objectives and implement them effectively. In simple words, the choice of technology depends upon the process you are trying to optimize.
5. Build an implementation roadmap
Once you know what you need to do, it is time to define the roadmap for execution. The entire implementation should be executed in phases. This is the ideal approach as it gives you the chance to test your plan as a pilot program before going all out with your execution.
Digital transformation is a powerful business enabler that is compelling business leaders to change their technology ecosystems fundamentally. Due to its widespread impact on many parts of the business, it is soon becoming top-of-mind in C-suites and boardrooms. CIOs have the opportunity to turn their enterprises into emblems of digital transformation. All they need is the right approach and strong execution of the fundamentals.
Table of Contents
- What is digital transformation?
- What is the goal of digital transformation?
- What are the benefits of digital transformation?
- Why prioritize digital transformation?
- What are the key components of a digital transformation?
- What is digital transformation strategy?
- Digital transformation examples
- Top 10 Digital Transformation Books
- Executive summary: What CIOs should do next