Digital transformation, what a fancy term! Isn’t it? However, digital transformation is imperative for all businesses, from the smallest to the biggest company. It’s a message that starts to pop up in every keynote, article, studies, podcast and discussion related to how businesses can remain competitive in today’s digital world. But what does it mean concretely?
Do you ask yourself questions such as: ‘What are the specific steps to take?’ ‘Do I need to hire a digital expert or a consulting service?’ ‘Where do I stand vs the competition?’ ‘What digital strategy should I adopt?’ ‘Is it really worth it?’ This article aims to help you answer some of these questions and to clearly explain what digital transformation is about.
First things first, we need to clarify the different meanings of the word ‘digital’.
- Digitization is the move from analog to digital, basically going from a paper document to a Word document.
- Digitalization is using digital data and tools to simplify your work. It is about having instant and permanent data that you can analyze and interpret.
What is 'digital transformation'?
The buzz word 'digital transformation' looks like a single track to follow, but in reality, it’s different for every company. Generally speaking, it represents the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, resulting in fundamental changes to how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers. Digital transformation is basically reimagining how you tackle your business in the digital world.
Digital transformation begins and ends with how you think about and engage with customers. Moving from paper to spreadsheets, from working in the office to working from home, from physical to virtual meetings… Digital technology can help us to rethink the way we work and the way we engage our customers. In order to achieve a successful digital transformation, we need to think, plan and build a digital set to become agile and flexible.
Before starting the digital transformation process, you should begin with a problem statement, a clear opportunity, or an aspirational goal. It’s about finding the "why" of your organization's digital transformation. For example, improving customer experience, reducing friction, increasing productivity, or elevating profitability.
Digital transformation will vary according to an organization's specific challenges and demands. However, there are a few general aspects that all business and technology leaders should consider as they embark on digital transformation.
Digital transformation is all about customer experience! If you remember the definition of digital transformation, it entails the processes aimed at improving touchpoints along the entire customer journey and creating a global and cross-department CX-strategy instead of a fragmented one. By having a team that is customer-oriented with the required tech-knowledge, you'll easily keep up with customer behavior, preferences and purchases. A customer journey map will reveal opportunities to digitally transform and optimize every step of the way.
When it comes to creating and editing digital assets, speed and agility are crucial in the competitive landscape. Agility is measured by the speed of the processes and the capability of employees to communicate and collaborate across departments. In turn, it builds the foundation for a joint RACI model.
Governance and leadership
To succeed in the digital transformation of your company, it needs to be driven by one vision. A person that is involved in the digital transformation, the roles different employees pick up and the responsibilities and accountabilities they carry. Clear leadership should drive the need for change, define the overall vision and keep everyone on track. Our ideas on how to structure your organizational design to accomplish growth can be found here.
How does your company invest in digital talent? Is the digital workforce already present, or will you need to hire new talent? During a digital transition, success is more likely to be achieved when organizations scale up their workforce and invest in talent development. In order to do so:
- Digital responsibilities and processes need to be clearly defined
- Continuous digital learning of the in-house workforce should be put in place
Success requires both digital-savvy leaders and a workforce with the capabilities to make a digital transformation happen.
Implementing technologies is another vital component in achieving your business goals, improving processes and delivering a holistic customer experience. These new technologies need to support the strategy and daily work, but they also introduce new opportunities to test and learn. Marketing and digital teams should have the freedom to explore new platforms, channels, and tools for digital program management and measurement. This allows new omni-channel tools to replace multiple platforms and they can be linked to a CRM software to create a single data source for analysis and collaboration. New tech can improve the way employees communicate with each other.
Finally, the importance of tracking data, measuring initiatives, extracting insights, and introducing them into the organization is the final part of our framework to measure digital maturity. Analytics transcends its reporting function as the insights it provides can be used for your digital strategy. All decision-making should become data driven.
Curious to know more? We are glad to show you more about digital transformation, and how it can impact your business customers' experience. Start with discovering your level of digital transformation with our Digital Transformation Audit!