Technology has been disrupting many industries. However, ‘technologies’ are either evolving with time or new disciplines are entering the market every year. So the only constant here is ‘change.’ This is why today’s digital technologies are deemed as accelerators of innovation to enable transformation across all verticals. They can improve efficiency, power new products and services, introduce new business models, and blur the boundaries between industries and lead to enhanced customer services. This resulted in the birth of a new term called digital transformation, which is essentially the strategic adoption of digital technologies. Leveraging this concept helps augment processes and productivity, deliver better customer and employee experiences, manage business risk, and control costs. Besides, every organization has its own unique set of strategies customized to align with its requirements. IDC estimates that worldwide spending on the technologies and services that enable digital transformation will reach almost US$2 trillion in 2022.
Irrespective of the business scale, digital transformation is imperative for every business. Surprisingly, many business leaders are not clear about what digital transformation means. They fail to understand that digital transformation involves integrating digital technology into all areas of a business resulting in fundamental changes to the way businesses operate and deliver value to customers. Sometimes it can also mean bringing a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment often, and get comfortable with failure. The latter is essential since we don’t have a solution that fits all when it comes to achieving digital transformation.
Further, it is also crucial to have a clear idea about this concept as it is the C-suite who empower this change, while IT and HR lead it. Here, IT and HR share the responsibility of planning and rolling out employee experience and digital transformation initiatives. Moreover, since the cultural change will occur at all levels in a business organization, i.e., from C-suite to employees, it requires employee and manager buy-in throughout the process.
Most of the companies looking for this transformation tend to gravitate towards the adoption of technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Augmented Reality, Blockchain, DevOps, Data Analytics, IoT, and 5G. Meanwhile, the key benefits include operational agility, mobility, workforce enablement, improved data security, and enhanced customer experience. Even the COVID-19 pandemic climate forced significant changes that can be considered as a part of the digital transformation. These include furthering the reach of customer support via tools, including chatbots, automation tools for resilience reasons, and a radical housecleaning of redundant or conflicting systems. COVID-19 also boosted the rapid adoption of digital operating models, including integrated cross-functional teams, along with the expansion of public cloud adoption.
For a successful digital transformation, leaders must be ready to face and solve certain challenges in this race. They should remember that strategy is a must. Without a vision, implementing digital technologies can cause failure beyond recovery and economic loss. Next, leaders must be engaged in initiatives that are directly aligned to the business strategy. With leadership buy-in secured, you can avoid any budget challenges that will impact your project. Lastly, they should ensure reaching as many customer touchpoints as possible to provide an integrated experience and quickly offer solutions.