Technology is a fundamental part of our lives in the 21st century, and it has completely revolutionized the way we do business. “Digital transformation” (DT) is one of the terms that is commonly used to explain our shift toward using more technology in every facet of business, but why is it so important?
We can answer this question by examining what DT means, why it is important in today’s business environment, and how you can enable your business to make the most of it.
What is digital transformation?
Most definitions of DT are quite similar, but here’s one from Salesforce that encapsulates everything well:
“Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. This reimagining of business in the digital age is digital transformation.”
While this definition seems straightforward enough, a common mistake that people make when trying to learn more about DT is expecting it to be the solution to their business problems. It is not a solution or even a tool, but rather a shift in thinking that an organization undertakes to improve their business. In essence, digital transformation is less about technology and more about the possibilities that technology can bring.
In other words, it’s not just about what tech you adopt, but more about how you adapt to a landscape that is becoming more and more high-tech. Your organization needs to have a clear plan, employees who are eager to implement new technologies into their workflow, and customers that want this transformation to occur.
Why is it important for today’s businesses?
While every business can justify their own methods, the reality is that customers are the reason why businesses need to change. Today’s customers live both online and offline, and they expect to have the same level of service and quality in each of these places.
Customers can shop in physical grocery stores, or they can shop online and either pick up their purchases in store or have them delivered to their doorstep. However customers choose to shop, they will likely choose businesses that are able to keep up with their preferences.
Adopting digital transformation successfully into your business
According to Forbes, approximately 70% of DT initiatives in the United States failed and this has resulted in over $900 billion in wasted investment. While these figures are alarming, history holds lessons to be learned and a clear path to success. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when undertaking digital transformation:
1. Aim for realistic objectives
Instead of looking at vague possibilities like “make our workflow more efficient,” you need to choose specific parts of your business that need to be upgraded or transformed using tech. It could be something as specific as “add a chatbot to our customer support channel to reduce customer wait times by 30%”.
2. Design and implement changes to technology around your customer experience
Changing the way you do business and expect your customers to follow along is a recipe for disaster and it is one of the biggest flaws in implementing new technology. If your customers are not pushing for change or do not get clear tangible benefits by even the smallest shift, they are much more likely to take their business elsewhere. Any changes need to be made with the customer experience in mind.
3. Get your employees onboard
Employees are stakeholders who are crucial to the success of your digital transformation. Therefore, they need to be consulted before making any decisions. They need to see value in changing how they do their work every day, and that any new technology needs to help them substantially. If they do not see results, they might abandon the new solutions and go back to older methods that served them well enough, if not better.
4. Change your IT culture from within
From the IT department to your last employee, everyone needs to move away from looking at technology as something they must blindly accept. You need to help your employees understand that DT is for their benefit and they have a say in how it works. Listen to feedback and make changes when necessary because your employees are trusting you with these decisions. Business IT should help employees collaborate across the company and make everyone’s jobs easier. Once everyone sees the possibilities, you’ll have an organization that is able to continue evolving digitally.
Discover what tech will be the most beneficial to your business. Contact our IT specialists at NetQuest today to learn more.