Key Strategies for Digital Transformation

In today’s modern commercial environment, your digital ecosystem influences the whole of your business. From sales and marketing to human resources and business growth, the importance of digital transformation to sustained commercial growth cannot be overstated.

The possibilities of digital technology, combined with mounting competitive pressure can create a sense of urgency, almost forcing businesses to adopt wholesale digital transformation without first laying a solid foundation from which to build from.   

Successful businesses know how to leverage digital innovation and integrate transformation with brand vision, get stakeholder buy-in and cultivate a digital culture that employees understand, adopt and, hopefully, champion.

Keep reading to discover the key strategies of digital transformation that your business must adopt. Be sure to pay attention to the last section – it will make any transition much easier.

The Story of Your Digital Strategy

Before rolling out any new processes and platforms, you need to define what you want your strategy to achieve. Do you want to improve customer service? Increase conversions? Engage existing and potential customers more?

Any digital marketing consultant will tell you that you need to connect digital transformation to meaning. The cloud is a good example of this. These days people toss around the cloud in conversation like everyone knows exactly what it is and how it works. You might be surprised to learn that many people do not.

Before you achieve business buy-in, employees must understand how the technology works and why it is beneficial to them. This is the only way to achieve wholesale adoption.

How can you do this? Tell a compelling story. Highlight the benefits. Impress to colleagues that their day-to-day lives will be much easier if they utilise all the features a digital ecosystem promotes. Highlight the challenges and show how they are met. Give employees context, something they can identify with and then tie this to a winning strategy.

This may sound complicated, even daunting to some businesses, but it is necessary to ease any transition from an analogue mindset to a digital one.

Commercial Alignment with Business Goals

Business leaders agree that aligning digital transformation with business goals is imperative. Any decisions taken need to be supported from the top down. CEO’s and boards must communicate that any digital transformation is the right strategy for departments and teams.

Any communication should include outlining goals and how digital transformation will meet them, mitigating any concerns, assuring employees that they will receive full training and clearly explaining new processes.

Remember that it is impossible for digital transformation to be driven by IT departments alone; any adoption must be aligned with your business’ mission, heritage, and future planning. Get full departmental buy-in and you will have a strong foundation from which to prosper, even deliver scalable solutions.

Invest Time in Running Tests

Any form of digital transformation nearly always requires many internal stakeholders to learn to do things in a different way. This will probably include revamping processes that have been in place for years. They may even change the way that stakeholders interact with clients and their day-to-day roles.

It is critical to find ways of getting everyone on board. You will need to cultivate understanding with any group that is sceptical of any digital innovation. The best way to do this is by running tests, answering any questions, and allaying any fears prior to rollout.

Take the time to run proofs-of-concept and pilots before moving forward with build execution. This is especially important when introducing any new technological deployment into the business. Why? It is always difficult to anticipate how things will work.

Be upfront and realistic, building checkpoints into any strategy. This will demonstrate that you have helped to ensure that the business is prepared for the digital transformation and that teams and partners can seamlessly evolve processes with minimal impact on customer relations.

Identify the People You Need to Make It Work

The next stage is to evaluate the team and determine if you need to employ professionals who have the skills you’re lacking. This could be an IT manager/director, risk mitigation manager, project manager or head of digital strategies.

Hiring people who do not just demonstrate capabilities, but competencies are vital. UX experience professionals, data scientists and full-stack developers who, although qualified, only have a year or two experience working in a commercial role will not be as effective as highly experienced managers or team leaders. Identify the people you need to make the digital transformation as successful and as easy as possible.

Additionally, something that is particularly important, make sure that any human resources augment existing employee skill sets, and that they are competent in the digital transformation that your business is aiming towards.

So, in other words, if you have decided to focus your business on eCommerce sales, you will probably need a digital marketing director, social media manager, copywriter and SEO professional. You will not necessarily need a data scientist.

Make Sure You’ve Got the Risk Management Down Cold

As beneficial as digital transformation is to ongoing commercial prosperity in the long run, initially it can be quite disruptive to businesses. Digital transformation is all about developing and scaling new, better technologies and challenging the status quo whilst changing ingrained operational mindsets.

For many businesses, this is counter to what they have been used to for years and years. However, digital transformation must implement diligent risk management and controls. This allows businesses to anticipate and mitigate any potential issues.

CIO’s who understand this and know how to minimize disruption whilst managing risks. From creating processes to support the integration of new digital platforms to making sure that employees fully understand their commitments, there is much to consider when thinking about risk management.

Get everything down cold prior to wholescale roll out and you will be able to benefit immediately from well-organised streamlined processes.

Prepare for the Inevitable Culture Change

The last, and arguably, the most important step in any digital transformation strategy is to prepare your business for the culture change. Successful strategies are only achieved through the careful orchestration of organizational capabilities that meet any vision for transformation.

There are many elements to this. From balancing incremental and radical objectives to ensuring that the transition is completed seamlessly, preparing for the inevitable digital transformation culture change is essential to its success.

However, if there is one aspect of this change that businesses need to focus their efforts on, it is the consideration they need to devote to the cultural aspects of the change. The more employee advocates you have, the better. However, anticipating resistance and putting measures in place to help those employees who are deterred by digital transformation will help ease the transition process no-end.

Business is all about people. If your employees do not embrace digital transformation wholeheartedly, your chances of experiencing seamless digital transformation are slim.

Nailing Your Digital Transformation

Digital transformation may seem daunting but in 2020, it is inevitable. For any business to provide the level of service that their customers expect whilst remote working, some degree of commercial digitisation is paramount.

Right now, businesses in Australia should be honing the service that they offer their customers. By undertaking digital transformation, this is exactly what they can do.

Author Bio

Nathan Elly is the branch manager at Digital Next, a full-service search marketing agency based in South Melbourne specialising in SEO, PPC and social media marketing. He’s a passionate digital marketer dedicated to business development and long-term strategy, with experience from a multitude of SEO disciplines combined into a role which supports and progresses online businesses.