The notion of staging a digital transformation has weighed heavily on a lot of businesses' collective minds lately and with good reason. The move to digital operations brings with it a lot of great potential in everything from cost savings, to access, to new potential sources of revenue. Since there are also risks that come with that potential, however, some have reconsidered taking the leap. That secondary consideration will be a good plan, and knowing a few important things before staging a digital transformation will be vital to getting the most out of it.
1. Where will digital transformation do the most good?
Determining where digital transformation will provide the most value is vital to success here, and the first thing a business must do is determine just what a successful outcome looks like. If you're looking to digital transformation in marketing, success might include things like more customers using web chat or social media contact points. If you're looking for a broader-scale digital transformation, try including factors like employee engagement. Regardless of what factors are used, it's vital to know just what success looks like before digital transformation even starts.
2. What impact will digital transformation have on the budget?
Digital transformation has a substantial impact on the budget, but what many don't consider is the impact in both directions: revenue and expense. A digital transformation might call for significant expense at first, especially as new monthly bills come online for cloud-based services that weren't there before. Sometimes, some new endpoints may be needed, like mobile devices or even new desktops, to take full advantage of the new services. Yet at the same time, what value do these new services have? How much can sales be increased because of new analytics tools to examine customer habits? How much can travel budgets be reduced with videoconferencing instead of flights and hotel bills? Savings, new revenue and expenses all factor in.
3. What do we want digital transformation to do for the business?
Sometimes, some are ready to go into digital transformation with a clear head. Some know that they want access to the newest in unified communications tools. Some want a small-scale digital transformation to get them away from the public-switched telephone network (PSTN) they're on in favor of cloud voice service that opens up a slew of new tools that the PSTN never conceived of. Questions of processes come up here as well; digital transformation needs to hit the whole business, but it doesn't have to happen all at once. Businesses can therefore start with areas of low risk and high likelihood of success to see what kind of impact digital transformation can have across an entire business. This might sound like a restating of the first question, but in this case, it's more of an operational question rather than a larger-scale strategic question like the first.
4. Is our staff ready for a digital transformation?
This is more important than some might think. Some top-down, authoritarian leaders might brush this aside and say “they're ready for whatever I tell them they're ready for.” That's all fine and well, but how far will that stance get the business? Will employees actually put these tools to work, or will they work around them citing a lack of usefulness? Employees who can make the most of a digital transformation—they have the right skills and mindset—will be vital to making the most of a digital transformation. So don't just plan to order your employees to change and expect that change to happen. If your employees aren't currently ready, can you get them there with more training, or maybe a focus on digital success in new hiring policies?
5. Are our leaders ready for a digital transformation?
Even as we examine the role digital transformations have on our staff, we have to consider how our leaders are set for such a move. For instance, to truly get the most out of digital transformation, we must have leaders who are change-agile. Change-agile leaders are forward-thinkers, ready to adapt to changes in the market and take the best advantage of them. If your leaders are still thinking that remote working is an open invitation to shirk, you may not have change-agile leaders. Are your leaders prepared to accept feedback from employees who are finding problems on hand with a digital transformation? Can those leaders accept that feedback from customers who find the new contact methods cumbersome or faulty? Answering this question may determine whether or not a digital transformation is truly called for.
6. Is your culture ready for digital transformation?
Even a business' corporate culture contributes to the impact of a digital transformation. A Forrester report provides shocking evidence: 43% of firms with “a mature digital strategy” have one major barrier to an effective digital transformation: competing departments who want to “own digital.” A competitive corporate culture, where departments silo data and guard it like a dragon guards gold, is not going to be open to a digital transformation where data is made available to all departments to get the most out of it. Even the culture must be properly attuned to cooperation before a digital transformation can have full value.
What to Do After You've Answered the Biggest Digital Transformation Questions
If you've answered all the big questions, and you're ready to go forward with digital transformation, the best place to start is with us at UTG. Our range of managed IT services and network functions—both engineering and infrastructure—can give you a leg up on getting your digital transformation accomplished.