Digital transformation refers to the profound transformation of organizational activities, competencies, processes and models to strategically leverage the opportunities of digital technology – keeping present and future business shifts in mind.
Okay, that sounds a bit technical, so let’s make it a little easier to digest: In the scope of this “digital transformation,” we primarily focus on the business element – the development of new “competencies” revolves around the capacities to be more people-oriented, agile, customer-centric, innovative, efficient, streamlined and able to leverage opportunities to change the status quo while tapping into new information and service-driven revenues. Not surprisingly, the periodically hot term “digital transformation” – while hot again – is lost on most people, with many so-called “IT gurus” not even understanding where its real power lies.
The New-Age Digital Transformation
The typical definition of digital transformation that has been used by consultants and vendors for years suggests that one needs to “keep up with new technologies and use them;” the problem is, the technologies have changed over time. In a proverbial nutshell, digital transformation is the application of digital technologies to fundamentally impact all aspects of business and society.
Indeed, if your company has not been applying digital technologies over the last 40 years, we hate to tell you that you don’t exist – the time-share, mainframe, departmental computing, client server, PC, ERP, Internet, cloud and mobile eras are considered “old news” by many in the IT sector. You see, the adoption of these technologies doesn’t necessarily equate to you being “digitally transformed,” even if you are “digitized,” as most of these have been applied to existing processes (i.e. paper forms became electronic forms, cash became bits, paper documents became PDFs and HTML pages, sales transaction logs and invoices became sales-force automation and ERP).
Digital Transformation and the Value Prospect
How can digital transformation bring value to a business? Many companies employ leaders who begin the digital transformation process with nebulous notions of a digitized enterprise but fail to link their planned projects and programs to business value. Unfortunately, when leaders don’t prove how their efforts will ultimately create value, they are giving their CFO, CEO and other stakeholders little to jump up and down about. In other words, the “cool factor” isn’t going to cut it with those people that hold the keys to the budget you so desperately want to access.
The bottom line: When you fail to demonstrate the value of digital business derived from your initiatives, your chances of snagging more funding are dramatically reduced. So how can we change this?
It calls for the capture of the right data and using it to demonstrate business value. The three major digital business value takeaways include:
When you establish clear digital business value, you will keep digital business transformation high on your CEO’s list of strategic priorities.
The Employee Buy-In Factor
A successful digital transformation, perhaps with a sense of pure irony, is less about the tech and more about the people. Getting employees – from top to bottom – to adopt a digital transformation mindset is critical to any plan, and it’s easily the most difficult part. Why? Because it spans an entire organization, strikes at the heart of a company’s culture and requires a lot of people to alter their relationships with technology. Ask any business leader and he or she will tell you the same thing: Getting employees to adjust to these changes is a challenge and a half.
The solution revolves around employee engagement and the buy-in factor, and there are tactics to follow in order to gain employee buy-in and get them to eagerly use your digitally transformed solutions. These include:
Let’s be honest: Leadership is complex during a digital boom. Coupled with rising voluntary attrition rates, it’s essential that today’s leaders understand how to successfully support talent development to retain and engage the leaders of tomorrow. Here are several ways to create employee engagement and keep them active in the process of digital transformation:
Ultimately, the goal here is to teach (and lead) the future leaders of an organization by way of leveraging the digital workplace to help them connect, collaborate and communicate – all with a keen eye on the future so a company sees results that are extraordinary.
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