How to prepare your business for digital transformation?

Rapid innovation has become the new normal in the modern world. The most common area where we have been witnessing such transformation is the technological world.

By incorporating revolutionary technologies, companies do not just experience more efficiency and productivity, they also experience an enhanced way of approaching customers and addressing their needs, making stronger and better connections. Embracing such technologies gives a competitive edge to a business.

However, it is a bitter truth that you can never truly stay updated with the ever-changing norms of the industry. The need of the hour is that with the constantly changing demand, businesses need to transform in order to meet such demands. This is where digital transformation comes in.

Understand digital transformation

Digital transformation refers to the adoption of the technologies (latest ones when it makes sense) that transform how a business operates. Essentially, older technologies or non-digital processes are replaced with newer technologies and new ways to operate business, to achieve digital transformation.

But digital transformation is much more than just incorporating the latest technology. It is a holistic framework that influences your business, processes, and people in your organization. There are multiple aspects that are included in a digital transformation such as customer experience, integrations, CRM, digital marketing, analytics, data-oriented solutions, applications and interfaces, cloud, and much more.

At its core, digital transformation means investing in new, advanced technologies to upgrade your business model. But the journey towards reaching that digital transformation is not that simple. It involves re-imagining of the whole business process.

Beyond the scope of technology, digital transformation is subject to the culture and mindset of your organization, the capabilities of the employees towards recalibration, and the value-addition for the customers.

Considering all aspects, mentioned below are the best practices that you should follow that will ensure that the journey of your business towards digital transformation is smooth and efficient

4 considerations to prepare your business for digital transformation

Considering the customers

The end goal of any enhancement and optimization is to provide better services to the customers. Therefore, taking the customer’s perspective into account should be the first step in preparing your business for digital transformation. Any technology that you incorporate as part of this digital transformation should add some value to the customer’s journey, either directly or indirectly.

Considering the business goals

Before you make any investment or preparations, identifying the need for digital transformation should be the first thing to do. New technologies are always going to emerge in the market. What if you invest in a new technology today, offering just a small enhancement to your business, just to encounter a more promising technology a few months down the line.

What can help you make a decision is the consideration of your business goals. If the digital transformation strategy is aligned with your business goals, it will be a blessing and if it just a transformation without any outcome, it will be a waste of your money, time, and effort.

Considering the right technologies

The speed of innovation, in terms of technologies, is at its peak. While an exemplary advancement in technologies is shifting the paradigm towards an unprecedented digital ecosystem, at the same time, it has become extremely difficult to decide which technology will add more value to your business and operations.

AI-as-a-service, 5G data networks, Autonomous Driving, Personalized and predictive medicine, Computer Vision, Extended Reality, Blockchain Technology, etc… Plenty of them, but depending upon the business and its various functionalities, the right technology, not necessary the latest, for your business should be decided by someone who has adequate knowledge of your domain as well as its future possibilities. Someone who really understand Digital Transformation will not necessarily try to adopt the most recent technologies.

There are some technology fields that are often a necessity for most businesses looking to grow in the modern digital world. But depending on your core business activities these could be different.

  1. Cybersecurity — For any business, data is everything and protecting your data should be of the utmost importance. Cybersecurity is the practice which involves protecting your data, software, or hardware against unauthorized access.
  2. Data analysis — Making informed, data-driven decisions has become the core activity defining the extent of a business’ success. Data analysis provides a holistic view of every operation in the business, process outcomes, predictive analysis, and actionable insights.
  3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning — Automating tasks and making the machines smarter so that they can operate on their own is always a demand for organizations. AI and ML offer a plethora of possible enhancements to the businesses looking to reap the benefits of digital transformation.
  4. Electronic Certificates or Signature — COVID-19 has been a real eye-opener, making us realize that we need a secure, trust-based, and efficient way of finalizing deals remotely. Electronic Certificate or Signature has become the salvation for this dilemma.
  5. Cloud — On-demand retrieval of files and access to the complete stack including data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software is what cloud offers to an organization. Providing security, access, ease, and a plethora of other benefits, Cloud has become an integral part of every IT infrastructure.

A key consideration here is that just investing in any latest technology is not going to promise advancement for your business but investing in the right technology is what you should consider along with the possibility of future growth and acceptability.

Considering the employees

It is pointless to have advanced technologies if your team is unable to harness the full potential of those technologies. Therefore, one of the most essential steps in preparing your organization for digital transformation is to train your employees.

Firstly, identify the skills that need to be developed. Secondly, identify the gaps in your current workforce and determine if you need to change your hiring process in the future to get the relevant talent. Thirdly, build an internal training program or provide self-service online training (MOOC or else) for your existing employees so that they get equipped with the necessary resources.

One of the prior steps in the process of digital transformation is improving your employee’s knowledge. In order to train your staff for the purpose to keep new systems secure and effective: Cybersecurity, Personal Data Protection, Electronic Certificates, Electronic Signature, etc… Therefore, enhancing your employee’s skill can boost their own career development as well as company productivity and efficiency.

From executives to interns, from the marketing team to the development team, every employee should be given access to the resources needed to work with the latest technologies. The capabilities of your workforce will determine the success of digital transformation for your business.

Time and patience need to be an essential part of this process as digital transformation will take its fair share of time, but the results will be worth the wait.

Digital transformation is a protracted journey. Therefore, to embark on this journey, you have to ensure that you and your organization are prepared to go all the way. There are going to be some bumps in the road but having the right preparation will make that journey as smooth as possible.

CEO of Ekino Vietnam (Havas CX — Havas Group) and Chairman of the EUROCHAM Digital Sector Committee.