Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new business processes, culture and customer experiences. This fundamentally changes how you operate and provide value to your customers.
On a deeper level, digital transformation also involves a cultural change, requiring businesses to challenge the norm, experiment and become more comfortable with the possibility of failure.
Digital transformation is vital to all businesses, regardless of size. It’s more important than ever to stay competitive and relevant in the digital world.
What isn’t always obvious, however, is what digital transformation actually means. It’s more than just migrating to the cloud; it’s about rethinking old operating models and experimenting in order to become agile in responding to competitors and customers. Because technology plays a vital role in the evolution, the chief information officer is a key factor in digital transformation.
Modern businesses are in different phases of digital transformation, with many looking to overcome initial obstacles and fully transition. Even organisations that are far along in the process encounter obstacles, however, such as acquiring talent, budgeting and fostering a cultural shift in the workplace.
Leaders need to consider what digital transformation means in practice. Digital means a lot of different things to different businesses, but the general concept focuses on customer centricity – automating operations and business models with data analytics, software and technologies that help the customer. Before this can happen, the leadership and employees need to be on board.
While there may be a multitude of reasons for a business to undergo digital transformation, it mostly boils down to survival. Digital transformation can be risky and expensive, so it’s often a necessity for businesses that want to survive and outlast the ones that failed to evolve.
Technology drives the shift in business, and companies that wish to succeed must merge technology with strategy to stay ahead. Data analytics is at the top of the list of priorities, particularly in terms of data visualization and machine learning.
Speed is also an important consideration. Digital initiatives that foster improved speed and agility for the organisation are at the forefront of digital leadership.
These are the operational priorities, but a positive customer experience is the ultimate goal, and is a significant driver for digital transformation. Customer experience can make or break a business, and digital technologies play a vital role in ensuring a positive relationship between businesses and their customers.
With the adoption of new technologies, the role of an IT team has fundamentally shifted. Stakeholders want IT teams to generate revenue for the business by improving business processes and developing new and innovative products. Embracing this change means that the entire business needs to reconsider the impact and role of IT in their daily work.
IT drives digital transformation strategy, but efforts to implement and adapt to changes in the business resulting from digital transformation are a company-wide endeavour. Digital transformation leads to fluid departments, processes and job responsibilities, with soft skills like empathy being in high demand.
A business must be supportive and prepared for transformation efforts to help employees stay motivated and succeed. Your team needs to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, how it fuels success in the future, and how they benefit from the transition.