The world is moving from the Flintstones era to the Jetsons era at a pace like never before, and this time, it is digital transformation fueling this shift. Every organization, big and small, private and public, or online and offline, is struggling to figure out what it means for its business and how it can ride the wave of digital before their competitors sweep them off the market. The Ubers and the Airbnbs of the world are creating new benchmarks of how technology can be used to disrupt long established and proven business models. And this is just the beginning.
With the growing penetration of the Internet and mobile technologies, the phenomenon of digital transformation is only going to multiply across every industry. While some companies have successfully decoded the art of transforming their businesses digitally, many are still struggling to understand what it truly means.
In simple terms, digital transformation, also referred to as business transformation, is the adoption of processes and technologies to help organizations compete effectively in an increasingly digital world. The entire philosophy stands on three pillars –
- Driving better customer experience – This involves driving digital disruption with the application of analytics and artificial intelligence. This will help in understanding your customers better with real-time mobile or social media engagement and improving your top-line by cross-selling or upselling the right products.
- Improving organizational processes to drive operational efficiency – This involves the application of virtual tools to ensure better collaboration and performance monitoring. It also involves the use of artificial intelligence to automate monotonous tasks and create an ecosystem of data-driven decision making.
- Transforming business models with the help of digital technologies – This involves the use of cloud, GIS systems, and IoT technologies to innovate existing business models and transform them into a cohesive digital system.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Digital transformation is not just about a technological shift. It is also about a shift in an organization’s deep-rooted mindset and culture, which is very difficult to achieve. However, like any change management initiative, it begins with small steps and starts with the top management buy-in.
Here are a few steps to culturally align your organization to make it a truly digital business –
- Unlearn current beliefs and create awareness: Leaders must first themselves believe that digital disruption is required to stay relevant in the market and then communicate the same to their employees by providing illustrative facts and compelling stories. This will create a sense of urgency in the organization and help employees understand the need for the change without attracting a lot of resistance.
- Create a vision: Leaders must jointly create a digital transformation vision with their employees. This will reduce anxiety within the organization and earn supporters for the change. Creating a strong vision will also provide a clear direction to everyone in the company of what is expected from them and signal the outer world that your organization is serious about it.
- Fine tune organizational performance management: The organization must then revise its KPIs and performance metrics to align them with the overall vision. This will ensure that the new values get percolated down to every level in the organization. It will also help in winning the support of a large part of the organization by giving them more clarity in terms of what they need to do.
- Start small and scale up: Leaders must start implementing the new values by altering the most crucial processes and then expanding them to the wider organization. Following a big bang approach may collapse the entire system.
- Create an effective feedback mechanism: The organization must establish a robust feedback mechanism to capture the views of their employees. Without the employees actually practicing the digital approach, the transformation cannot become real.
- Reinforce and celebrate success: Recognize the milestones achieved and reward the individuals and teams involved. This will further reinforce the adoption of the digital approach and motivate others in the organization.
In conclusion, digital transformation is not an overnight exercise. It requires dedication and constant efforts from everyone in the organization. But now is the time to start and embark on this journey!
On that note, read how big data and innovation contribute to business transformation.