- Feb 5, 2019,
While countless companies in countless industries are in the process of completing their digital transformation and a multitude of others have already done so, some business owners have been slow to move forward for various reasons.
From banking and shopping to communication and everything in between, much of the world has either gone digital or is in the process of doing so. However, one of the big problems with this migration is that many businesses aren’t equipped to handle this new reality simply because their current processes, technology, and skills don’t translate to the digital world.
This is where the entire process and even the concept of “digital transformation” comes from. Modern companies must adapt and transform in order to utilize the technology and processes required to function in today’s digital world. However, there are a number of roadblocks that you may encounter and it’s important that you’re not only aware of them, but that you know how to circumvent them and move forward with your company’s own technological evolution.
1. First Step
The sheer size of a digital transformation project is often enough to deter business owners from even approaching the starting point. The unmitigated number of marketing tools alone can be daunting, but ignoring digital transformation only serves to hurt your business and the longer that you wait, the further behind your company falls.
So how do you get past this initial hurdle? Start small – select a process that provides the most value to your business and evaluate the effort required for transformation and attack it first. Starting with a small project that provides value will not only get the ball rolling on your overall digital transformation, it can help bring the rest of leadership onboard when the results are so clearly evident.
2. Fearing Change
Many times, digital transformation requires that employees operate differently in the way that they perform their daily duties. This means that they must learn new technology and of course that means one thing many people hate: change.
Everyone gets comfortable doing things a certain way and when they hear that there are new processes or required skills, many will initially balk at the idea. This is why one of your initial steps has to start with your employees and you must address this fear with education, helping them to understand the reasoning behind these changes and the benefits of doing so.
Often, new technology is implemented without employee input or knowledge, often leading to them ignoring the technology as much as they would out of fear of change simply because they don’t have any idea what it’s for, or how it helps them with their jobs. This happens all too often unfortunately — employees are instructed to utilize new tools, but not provided any explanation behind the reasons for the change.
Because major changes can be unsettling for employees, you have to plan to ensure that staff are included and informed throughout the process. They not only need time to get used to the idea, they need to understand why the change is happening and how it affects them. The difficulty of your digital transformation will often depend on your company’s culture and how much it embraces change.
If your company wants to eliminate this potential roadblock, involve your employees. Ask for their input and educate them on how the new technology will benefit the company and help them in their day-to-day jobs.
3. Integrating Legacy Processes
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, digital transformation will indeed make some legacy processes obsolete. However, in most cases this transformation doesn’t require a complete overhaul and you simply have to evaluate your existing technology and determine what can stay and what should be gotten rid of.
Set yourself up for a successful integration and plan for the unexpected within your budget. Unforeseen problems can and do arise, especially when attempting an amalgamation of your old technology with the new. Often, businesses will set aside a budget for their digital transformation project but when those new processes don’t integrate smoothly with legacy systems and result in additional costs, it’s a roadblock that can force them to scramble to find more for the budget to either have their IT develop custom integrations or upgrade those legacy systems. Be aware of this possibility so you’re prepared ahead of time for unforeseen expenses or resource needs.
4. The Accuracy of Your Data
At its heart, digital transformation is is all about data accessibility — putting data at your fingertips and capitalizing on the increase in your information flow. Unfortunately, your data likely exists in multiple locations and formats and before you can begin your upgrade, you must ensure that your data is not only in the correct format, but that it is accurate as well.
Take the time early on to decipher which data set is used to make impactful business decisions and the data that you should utilize to implement the new processes. In order to make informed business decisions, you need accurate, salient, and parallel data.
5. The Talent Pool
Making the decision to move forward with digital transformation and how to take your first steps, along with the other steps listed above, are all extremely important aspects for this venture.
Oftentimes, digital transformation includes new technologies that require software related skills that range from creating mobile applications to infrastructure automation. Attempting to mobilize distribution of services or products, increase or focus on customer engagement, and automation that can be done at little-to-no extra cost and is scaleable are often the focus of many businesses that take the steps towards digital transformation.
While some organizations attempt to utilize cloud services to fast-track this change, even those services require new processes and knowledge. A big problem that many companies are encountering is that so many organizations are going through the same digital transformation process, it has resulted in a shortage of skilled labor. This means that a lot of companies will likely have to invest more in staff retraining, external consulting, and/or cloud services.
Normally, this is what digital transformation requires: that you acquire new knowledge and a significant number of new skills. However, utilizing systems that integrate more seamlessly and easily with your existing technology and applications can actually bypass these requirements, quickly making them a much more popular choice.
Learn From the Past
The digital age and transformation has resulted in the making of entirely new companies, such as Uber and Airbnb, but it has also been the nail-in-the-coffin for those that failed to adapt to the demands of rapidly advancing technology. Here are just a couple of companies that were once huge, but are now gone simply because they didn’t embrace digital transformation.
Blockbuster — In 2004, Blockbuster boasted a five-billion dollar market value but less than a decade later they were completely gone from all but one or two cities. While they did eventually attempt to go digital, the age of Netflix and other streaming services had already cannibalized their audience and rendered their market share null.
Borders — Once sporting 1,000 stores and 36,000 employees worldwide, by 2007 in an effort to consolidate business at home, the book and music retailer was downsizing its operations abroad. Having not turned a profit since 2006, the bankrupt company was purchased by Barnes & Noble in 2011. Failing to embrace the rise of the eBook, the once multi-million dollar company is no more.
Kodak — While technically not gone in the sense that it is indeed still operating, large portions of the company have been sold off and the once industry giant is less than a mere shadow of its former self. Even though they were one of the first companies to offer digital cameras, the proliferation of cell phones with inherent digital photo capabilities along with near-professional quality photo editing apps proved to be too much for Kodak and by 2012, the company was bankrupt.
There are numerous benefits for beginning your digital transformation today, and at Capriza we can help you no matter where you’re currently at in the process. Visit our website for more information or signup today for a complimentary trial of our ApproveSimple — the tool that will accelerate your corporate decision-making by consolidating all of your approvals into a single, secure and easy-to-use experience.