Digital Transformation Strategy: Your 6 Steps for Success

Jul 22, 2019

Digital transformation is all the rage these days, and for good reason. From saving costs and increased productivity to happier customers and higher profitability, digital transformation delivers a number of benefits to organizations of all sizes and in all industries.

Digital Transformation Strategy

It’s one thing to understand the importance of digital transformation. It’s quite another to successfully enact a digital transformation initiative at your company.

Follow these six steps to increase the chances of your digital transformation strategy being implemented without any hitches.

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1. Form a Steering Committee

If you think you’re going to have an easy time getting a group of employees to change their workflows just because you said so, you’re in for a surprise. 

When many employees get comfortable at work, they become stuck in their ways. Ask them to change the way they do things and you’ll be greeted by grumbles. This maxim holds true for all kinds of employees, from marketers to HR to sales reps and everyone in between. As for engineers? Well, we can all guess where they fall on the spectrum. 

So first things first: form a steering committee filled with a diverse set of employees from across the organization. You’ll likely want to include some senior-level executives or even members of the C-suite on this committee. That should be relatively easy to do because these individuals are most assuredly aware of the benefits of digital transformation. 

With one or two of them on board, it’ll be much easier to convince the rest of your team to buy into the idea of becoming a wholly digital-first organization.

2. Identify Your Objectives

You can’t just decide to move forward with digital transformation and think you’re going to experience transformative results. Instead, you need a robust digital transformation strategy that has a specific end goal in mind. 

To do that, you need to determine what you’re trying to accomplish with your digital transformation initiative. This is why it’s crucial to form a steering committee right off the bat. Two minds are better than one, and five or six are even better. Maybe some of your goals include cost savings, increased productivity, stronger security controls, enhanced employee morale, or stronger customer experiences. Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above. 

Whatever the case may be, it’s much easier to achieve your objectives once you identify what they are. Spend some time thinking about what you hope to accomplish and work backward from there. Consider establishing a few overarching objectives that are a must, as well as lower-priority objectives that would be nice to have.

Like anything else, successfully implementing digital transformation at your organization will take some time. Don’t expect to reinvent the wheel overnight because you simply won’t be able to. Instead, set a realistic timeline. Where do you hope to end up at the end of the month, the end of the quarter, and the end of the year? Where do you hope to be five years from now?

Only you know the answers to these questions.

3. Select Key Technologies

So you’ve formed a steering committee and you’ve figured out what you’re trying to accomplish with your digital transformation strategy. Now, it’s time to figure out which key technologies you’ll use to get there.

If, for example, your company is still relying on paper-based processes, you may want to start there. Figure out how to digitize those processes and you should be able to save money, reduce human error, increase productivity, and make your employees’ lives easier.

If you haven’t done so already, an easy place to start your digital transformation is by moving to the cloud. Thanks to cloud technologies, your employees can get more done, accessing their mission-critical work documents and tools from any location.

4. Create New Business Processes

Once you’ve picked the technologies you’re going to use, it’s time to create new business processes that your employees can use as a guide to work more effectively.

Let’s say you’re a marketing agency that’s been creating content in Microsoft Word and sending it to clients via email. Once received, your clients would then edit the documents and send them back to you, suggesting changes and revisions that need to be made. Your team would then download those documents, make the revisions, and send them back. Repeat the process ad infinitum until the client was satisfied.

Yes, Microsoft Word and email are both “digital.” But that doesn’t make this the most efficient process. While digital transformation often entails digitizing paper processes, it can also entail making digital processes much more efficient. In this case, you can do that by moving your workflows to the cloud.

For example, in such a scenario, a simple digital transformation strategy might look like this: Instead of using Microsoft Word, start working in Google Docs. That way, you are able to eliminate the back-and-forth emails and the process of downloading and uploading a zillion iterations of the same Word document (which creates problems on its own when it comes to version control). 

By moving to Google Docs and giving editing permissions to appropriate clients, you can expedite the editing and approval process considerably—even collaborating on the same document in real-time.

Of course, chances are your company isn’t a marketing agency. But the above example should get you thinking in the right direction. 

5. Train Your Team

Across your organization, different employees possess different levels of technical know-how. While some team members might have no problem adapting to a new way of working, other employees might not have as easy a time adjusting.

If you want your digital transformation strategy to work, you need to set your team up for success. Part of that entails providing them with robust training that enables them to become familiar with the new way of working.

In addition to hands-on training exercises, you should also give your team access to a library of helpful resources and tutorials they can reference should they run into a problem or have any questions. 

Remember, you can’t force your team to switch gears overnight. After you’ve trained them extensively, give them a few weeks—or even a few months—before requiring them to start using the new tools and following the new processes.

6. Ask for Feedback

Even if your steering committee is filled with geniuses, you won’t get it right the first time.

Embrace an agile mindset and get ready to iterate. Ask your employees for feedback and put their best ideas into practice.

Chances are this feedback will help you improve your program. Your team works in the trenches, after all. They see things from a different angle than you do.

At the very least, it’s an easy way to encourage your employees to get on board with your digital transformation strategy. It’ll show them that you care about their ideas and their well-being.

Are You Ready to Implement Your Digital Transformation Strategy?

Any company that wishes to survive over the long term needs to embrace digital transformation. It’s really that simple.

The sooner your company does it, the faster you’ll be able to move beyond your slower-moving peers.

To learn more about how your company can successfully implement a digital transformation strategy, check out this webinar hosted by Gary Gruver, president of Gruver Consulting and author of Engineering the Digital Transformation, and Jeff Keyes, director of product marketing at Plutora.

Simply put, moving digital transformation forward at your organization is your ticket to happier employees, happier customers, and a healthier bottom line. What’s not to like?

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