Although the notion of digital transformation is certainly nothing new as multiple industries come to terms with disruptive emerging technologies that promise to deliver great potential, the rate in which these advanced tools are growing is forcing more businesses to consider embracing transformative change.
At present, businesses are often forced to face up to thousands of hours wasted on antiquated communications and data entry across many disconnected platforms like email, documents, spreadsheets, and various other systems. These processes can be unreliable and prone to errors that can go undetected indefinitely.
Although digital transformation can bring plenty of positive change to a company, it can also present a series of challenges for businesses when it comes to upgrading existing systems.
(Image: Net Solutions)
As we can see from the chart above, there are many challenges that are presented by digital transformation that it’s essential that businesses take into consideration when updating existing systems.
Many of these challenges relate to the digitization of processes and customer experience models. While embracing advanced technologies can be a great tool for optimizing old processes, decision makers will be intent on avoiding the risk of disruption wherever possible.
With this in mind, let’s explore how it’s possible to integrate digital transformation into your company’s existing systems:
What is Digital Transformation?
Let’s first take a deeper look at digital transformation itself, and what it really means for businesses and their decision makers.
It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what digital transformation is because the transformative technology available to companies can differ greatly. Generally speaking, digital transformation can be defined as the integration of digital technologies throughout a business which causes a fundamental change in how it functions and delivers services to customers.
Digital transformation can also leverage a more cultural change that empowers companies to open the door to more experimentation, and trial new processes that may not have been possible in the past.
There’s little doubting the appeal of digital transformation in this day and age, as Jay Ferro, CIO and CTO at Clario explained: “The “why” of your organization’s digital transformation might be around improving customer experience, reducing friction, increasing productivity, or elevating profitability, for example. Or, if it’s an aspirational statement, it might revolve around becoming the absolute best to do business with, utilizing enabling digital technologies that were unavailable years ago.”
Although digital transformation has the potential to bring positive change on a more comprehensive level, business leaders need to be careful of how they approach conversations surrounding this fundamental alteration of key processes. Be sure to consider the ‘how’ as well as the ‘why’ when discussing digital transformation. For many businesses, justifying such a significant change will need to come with a clear indication of how existing systems can be upgraded, which we can look at now:
How to Deliver Successful Digital Transformation
On a fundamental level, digital transformation successfully removes all notions of barriers between all company stakeholders and the necessary technology that powers the organisation. Instead, we can enjoy an environment where humans and technology can interact to deliver effective processes.
As McKinsey data shows, digital transformation is generally at its most effective when businesses deploy more technologies than their counterparts. This means that more structured interfaces like forms, screens, and web pages can be replaced with more capabilities that provide seamless integration between data and users.
This also means that digital transformation can help to remove existing data silos for IT systems in favour of more enterprise data, with more control afforded to company policies and role-based access.
Integrating Digital Transformation
The matter of successfully integrating digital transformation into existing systems can be a major stumbling block for businesses considering upgrading their processes, but by taking the following considerations, the task can be made more seamless:
1. Focus on Defining a Thorough Strategy
Throughout countless industries, businesses are inundated with emerging technologies and advancements that can disrupt existing processes at a rapid rate. With existing processes changing so quickly, companies must adopt long-term strategies to adapt, compete, and grow in a sustainable fashion–and this must be incorporated into any digital transformation strategy.
To begin considering how to integrate your digital transformation strategy, you’ll need to consider key questions like:
- Where is your business today?
- Where do you expect it to be in the coming years?
- How are you going to scale it to reach your goals?
Your plans must fundamentally tackle these questions or else you risk implementing a digital transformation strategy that’s ultimately directionless.
2. Map Out the Customer Journey
Successful digital transformation isn’t possible without reimagining the customer journey as a priority. According to an HBR survey, 40% of respondents claim that customer experience is their top priority for digital transformation, and it pays to remember this throughout the process.
Your transformation needs to be focused on changing the way you deliver experiences to your customers in order to meet their demands in a digital environment. Each interaction that a customer has with a brand impacts their perception, advocacy, and loyalty–by placing the core of your transformation journey within your customer experience model, you can optimise your processes accordingly.
Furthermore, it’s essential that more personalisation efforts are incorporated into this area of your digital transformation. With customers intent on experiencing a more personalised journey, your efforts can grow to include existing personalised marketing campaigns via email and on-site.
3. Incorporating Cloud Dynamism
Not only is it important for your digital transformation efforts to be customer-facing, it’s also essential for your internal processes to undergo a comprehensive upgrade.
This means implementing more agile systems, and SuperOffice data suggests that 86% of businesses believe that cloud computing is an essential facet of digital transformation.
The beauty of the cloud is that it can empower companies to be more agile, paving the way for businesses to test new projects in a more low-risk and cost-effective manner–helping to cater to new and emerging customer demands.
Through the integration of SaaS applications and customer databases, big data, analytical insights, and both web and mobile applications, it’s possible to gain a holistic view of all touch points between your business and customer. This data can help to pave the way for a more data-driven approach to catering to customer needs that can bring individual old processes together in one fine-tuned model.
4. Multi-Channel Focus
Digital transformation can also combine old processes together that extend beyond the confines of your website. With more customers expectant of swift responses to queries, adopting a multi-channel focus means that you can expand the avenues of communication between yourself and your customers to social networks and even on-site dedicated chatbots.
Again, this type of transformation can drag existing processes and unite them in one slick and comprehensive operating model that can deliver real-time interactions and instant personalisation efforts to make customers feel more welcome and responsive.
Customers are currently engaging in more channels than ever before, with company interactions occurring in-store, on online stores, via mobile devices, and through a multitude of social media platforms. All of these interactions can be tied together to allow companies to build one comprehensive single profile to manage each customer interaction.
Preparing for Tomorrow, Today
The business world may be developing at a faster rate than ever before, and the next generation of technology appears to already be blossoming before our eyes, but it’s advantageous to move fast and adopt scalable digital transformation strategies for your company–rather than waiting for more Web3 tools to emerge, for instance.
Digital transformation, when planned out effectively, can work today and adopt the new technologies of tomorrow without forcing businesses to rip up their blueprints and start from scratch.
This can bring great benefits to the companies that develop digital transformation strategies today. With vast benefits and time-saving measures in reaching customers in a more meaningful way, it’s worth having those important discussions about digital transformation sooner rather than later.