Digital transformation—one of the many buzzwords that will be floating around in Orlando next week at OPEX, the Business Transformation World Summit. In fact, it's a word that has been floating around quite a bit lately, with some calling 2017 the year of digital transformation.
Digital transformation describes the strategic use of digital technologies to accelerate business activities, processes, competencies, and models. Many are feeling the pressure to embrace the digital space—87% of companies believe that digital transformation will make their businesses more competitive.
And with technology continuing to accelerate, the risk of not investing in digital strategy just keeps getting higher. According to a recent Gartner survey, by 2017, 20% of all market leaders will lose their dominant position to a company founded after the year 2000 due to a lack of digital advantage.
But many of these companies are fighting to maintain their positions. 90% of Fortune 500 enterprises are implementing or looking to implement advanced digital use cases, such as advanced analytics, machine learning, and IoT, and the enterprise digital transformation is expected to be a $136 billion market by 2020.
In case you are among the many making digital transformation a priority, we’ve compiled a list of nine things to consider as you do so.
1. Decide where to focus your technology.
Be careful that you don’t simply jump on any technology that crosses your path. You need to determine which processes are the most important to take digital first. Focus your initial efforts on areas with a more immediate payback. A census-wide poll revealed that customer experience, operations, innovation, and marketing possess the largest potential for early payback in the digital transformation—so you may want to start there.
Take the time to find the platforms, applications, and solutions that fit your culture, existing workflows, and budget. There’s no set roadmap for going digital that will work for everyone—it needs to be an approach personalized for your organization and situation.
2. Make it about the user.
The ultimate goal of digital transformation is user experience. So in order to meet the demands of the digital age, focus on your consumer and the user journey. Map out the entire customer journey, and then determine how going digital can make each touchpoint an improved and more efficient experience.
Transform the user experience into one that is positive, consistent, and available anytime, anywhere. Customers are looking for increased technological capabilities, ease of use, and responsiveness. If the experience doesn’t align with their needs, they’ll be quick to turn elsewhere.
More than 40% of spending on digital transformation today comes from customer targeting and engagement use cases, such as more personalization, targeted promotions, and omnichannel experiences.
Quick sidenote: Lucidchart is the perfect tool for mapping your user journey. We've even got a template to get you started.
3. Develop a culture of adaptability.
When it comes to technology, change is going to be a constant, and there’s nothing we can do about it. What you can do is create a culture within your organization that embraces technology and the changes that come with it. Foster a culture that moves quickly from idea to implementation so you can analyze the impact of new technology and determine its impact on your organization.
Make sure everyone is on board; otherwise, you’ll find your organization lacking the momentum to keep up. From the very beginning, ensure all employees and stakeholders are informed about and involved in the path of transformation. Demonstrate the benefits of going digital to employees, and communicate the challenges and solutions that may arise.
4. Make sure it comes from the top.
Digital transformation needs to be initiated by top management. A research study found that 75% of respondents believe that strategies for digital direction are the responsibility of senior management.
Senior IT managers should take charge and encourage management to explore technologies and hire the talent needed to implement it. A study by Gartner found that, by 2018, businesses will require 500% more employees with digital expertise. Ensuring C-suite buy-in is crucial, as one of the biggest barriers to digital transformation stems from an organization’s not having a perceived need for change.
5. Take advantage of disruption.
Technological advancements produce digital disruption—think smartphones, Uber, wearable technology. These disruptions change the lives of consumers and alter the norm. You have to be able to adapt to these disruptions and use them to your advantage to better meet the needs of consumers and their expectations for a digital experience.
6. Work it into your budget.
Companies are putting big budgets behind digital. Just look at Walmart, who is using $2 billion to overhaul core capabilities for digital engagement. General Electric is devoting $1 billion to becoming a digital business. You are investing in technology, but you are also investing in products, processes, and people.
7. Make it a joint effort.
Digital transformation can’t happen in a silo. Make sure digital transformation leads to positive impacts in all areas of your company. Business and IT teams need to communicate and have a shared vision before going on a technology spending spree, and technology needs to impact more than just the technology-focused areas of the organization.
8. Keep your eye on the technologies that will drive growth.
Technology focused on data analytics, integrated platforms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will be key drivers of growth for businesses. With digital transformation, you can measure nearly everything, so you should back up every decision with data and analytics moving forward. More than 80% of the Fortune 500 enterprises are already implementing machine-learning-related use cases, and artificial intelligence has the potential to become one of the most disruptive forces in the IT world. APIs allow multiple platforms to work together in a flexible ecosystem. Take note of where things are headed, and make sure you don’t get left behind.
9. Realize it’s an ongoing process.
There is a start to digital transformation, but there isn’t an end. It’s a continuous process that needs to adapt to innovation and changing customer behavior. Consider both your short- and long-term goals—because digital transformation is here to stay. Think often about how digital solutions can improve in-house operations or customer interactions. Make it easy to do business—for both your employees and your customers.
It’s a lot to consider, but ignoring the digital transformation is no longer an option for businesses that want to stay in the game. Luckily, you don’t have to brave the transformation alone. Next week at OPEX, industry leaders will discuss how digital transformation can redefine your business and processes. We’ll be there—waiting for you at booth #27—with solutions to help making the move to digital a seamless transition.