In 2021, the post-COVID market forces businesses to undergo digital transformations more than ever before. But these transformations are difficult: less than 30% of companies that go through digital “upgrades” manage to pull it off successfully. By analyzing these companies, we came up with five key strategies that companies must follow to reap the benefits of a successful digital transformation in the post-COVID era.
Successful digital transformation: why is it so difficult?
Digital transformation is, in a nutshell, the integration of digital technologies to streamline the way business operates and potentially benefit the company in many ways. Digitalization’s ultimate goal is to make the business processes more seamless and cost-effective and add more value to the customers.
You can consider a transformation to be successful only when it does two things:
1. Improves your organization’s current results;
2. Equips your organization for sustained, long-term performance.
Even when undergoing traditional transformations, only one-third of companies manage to reach these results. With digital transformations, the situation often looks even less reassuring.
Most companies tend to forget that digital is merely a thing but rather a new way of doing things. This new way should be integrated into all aspects of the business to be successful. And given that in 2021, digital customer service interactions will increase by 40% (Forrester), and remote teams will become the new norm, companies need to make everything possible to foster transformation initiatives.
Businesses should take into account numerous factors, and those factors can be broken down into six key categories:
- Management / leadership
- Employee empowerment
- Modernizing tools and systems
- Outsourcing digital consulting services/experts
- Communication and engagement
The right enhancements made in these sectors are what sets the most successful digital transformations apart. Without further ado, let’s dive into each one of them.
1. Have digital-savvy senior leaders in place
The first thing companies that report successful digitalization have in common is tech-savvy leadership. Those leaders set the tone and direction of transformation for everyone else in the company; hence they have the strongest impact on the business outcomes.
But as your leadership tech-savviness is vital, so is the level of their engagement, dedication, and commitment. The more people in key roles like the senior company managers or those in transformation-specific positions are engaged in a process, the higher the chances of the successful transition. It can also be good practice for organizations to hire a chief digital officer (CDO) to support the transition and help your leaders fill the gaps in their digital expertise if there are such.
2. Motivate employees to work to engage and work in new ways
The people - and people strategies - are the powerplant of your digital transformation strategy. Employees thinking and doing things in new ways, upskilling constantly, adopting new mindsets like taking calculated risks, collaborating, and putting the customer first are the cornerstone of any successful change. And there are two primary ways you can motivate your staff to embrace the new approach.
The first way is to change the formal mechanisms and patterns your workplace operates. A good example of such a change can be implementing continuous learning for your workforce to adopt new hard and soft skills. Human capital is the backbone of every business, so developing new talents and skills is one of the most significant parts of the transformation.
Another way to make employees contribute to the change is to motivate them to speak their minds when it comes to digitalization. Your employees should have a say on what, where, and why technologies should be adopted. By giving them more ownership on this matter, you do two things:
- Collect useful feedback on how you can optimize your workspace and tools;
- Make employees engaged in the process.
After all, when digital technology serves people and not the other way around, you get the most out of it. Digitalization’s end goal is to optimize your processes and products, so engaging people who work with it every day makes the most sense.
Also, it is proven that most of the successfully transitioned companies had the highest level of involvement among their employees across all levels. While there is clear consensus regarding the C-level of transitioning organizations being heavily involved in their company’s changes, things are usually not as bright from the frontline employees and their managers’ perspective.
By inviting all chain levels to cooperate and contribute during the transition, you massively increase your chances of success.
3. Modify the tools and systems
Upgrading your day-to-day tools, systems, and operations goes hand in hand with empowering your employees, but it goes even beyond that. Adopting new technologies does a lot of service to your company on many levels, among which are:
- Streamlines business operations and communication within the company; ● Improves interaction with business partners;
- Improves customer experience;
- Increases data-driven decision-making.
Here is a list of technologies that have been adopted by the companies that report a major success of their digital transformation efforts:
- Digital tools to facilitate the analysis of complex information;
- Rapid prototyping and testing with customers;
- Tools that make information more accessible;
- Robotic process automation;
- Artificial intelligence;
- Digital self-serve tools for workers and business partners;
- A network of cross-functioning teams with end-to-end liability.
The consequences of digitization and automation are proven to be significant for increasing the performance of your workplace, as well as for upskilling your teams.
4. Bring digital transformation consulting services into the game
While investing in your existing workforce helps to successfully further your transition, outsourcing often accelerates this process massively. It introduces new digital ways you can take and provides the lacking tools for your business.
By bringing in an expert team of integrators, digital experts, business analytics, engineers, and other experts, you bridge potential gaps between the business’s traditional and digital parts. This helps to create a viable digital product that brings a positive user experience to the customer and, therefore, has a chance to stand out in a competitive digital market.
For example, at Artkai, we help our clients successfully streamline their business’ digital transformations by using the following principles:
- Digitalization and digital product innovation for SMB & SME. Through workshops and service blueprints, we uncover gaps and insights that can be translated into online services/applications to boost any company's efficiency or create new revenue streams.
- End-to-End PoC/MVP development for Startups. Our approach based on discovery sessions and rapid prototyping allow us to assist clients in the quick launch of any digital product with reduced risks.
- Customer-facing applications for the Banking and FinTech companies. Vast experience in collaborating with traditional and disrupting financial institutions allow us to help our clients concentrate on seamless user experiences, performant front-end, and LTV(lifetime value) of their customers.
- Scaling product engineering teams with the best hand-picked talents. We find, screen, and hire developers to help our clients reduce business operations costs and quickly fill gaps in any tech skill.
This is one of the examples of how in 2021, outsourcing can stimulate your progress, achieve greater financial results, and launch more successful projects when you’re going digital.
5. Set up communication channels across all the organization’s levels
Clear communication is key, and there is a good reason for it also to be the key factor in your organization’s transformation success. Building a strong communication flow across your organization’s levels makes it easier for the core messages and key performance indicators (especially regarding all the changes) to spread across.
Clear and timely communication will help all your employees to be on the same page about the transformation, to understand the reasons behind it, to see its goals and benefits for your company. It will motivate them to be more invested and helpful during the whole process.
By providing your employees with access to the information about the transition and its progress, you drastically decrease your chances of failure while also obtaining strong support from your staff.
If you want to succeed with the digital transformation of your business make sure to empower your employees with new skills, upgrade the tools you use to make them more agile, quick, and user friendly, take care of clear communication and finally outsource the qualified experts that will fill the gaps in your digital strategy, accelerate your digital transition, and maximize your profits. For more information, contact Artkai.
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