What Is Digital Transformation? – An Ultimate Guide
The ensured success of any business is quite impossible due to increasing competition. To gain a competitive edge, companies have to go the extra mile by thinking of varied ways.
Digital Transformation is one of the widely adopted approaches in today’s business world due to the constantly growing significance of digital technologies and platforms. Startups to large-scale organizations need to consider digital transformation more or less to stay relevant.
Many enterprises underestimate the increasing essence of digital transformation and changing market needs in this digital space. Sticking to the conventional ways of doing business, they have to deal with business failure.
If you are one of the enterprises that are still not conceived for adopting digital transformation, this post is specifically for you. It provides you detailed insights into every aspect of digital transformation.
In case you are half-convinced to consider Digital Transformation, I ensure this post convinces you.
Core Values, Derived from Digital Transformation
Digital Transformation is about integrating advanced and emerging digital technologies in all business areas. It changes the way you operate various business processes and delivers value to the customers. It also empowers the cultural change in your organization that continually challenges the experiment and the status quo and makes you comfortable with fear of change.
In simple words, digital transformation allows companies to rethink their old operating models and experience new ones. It drives agility in your business and empowers your ability to respond to your rivals and customers.
Well, this is just an overview of Digital Transformation. Further, in this blog post, we will unveil almost all the essential aspects of the term.
Table of Content
- What is Digital Transformation?
- How Digital Transformation is Different from Digitization and Digitalization?
- Different Types of Digital Transformation
- 6 Stages of a Successful Digital Transformation for an Organization
- What Are The Key Drivers of Digital Transformation?
- Benefits of Digital Transformation
- Digital Transformation Trends that Every Business Should Considers in 2021
- 3 Digital Transformation Success Stories
- How to Ensure Successful Digital Transformation? [Tips to Consider]
- When You Need to Consider Adopting Digital Transformation
- What are the Most Common Challenges of Digital Transformation?
Let’s get started!
What is Digital Transformation?
According to Wikipedia, “Digital Transformation is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology.”
If explained more easily, digital transformation is the process of creating new or modifying the existing business processes, customer experience, and culture to meet frequently changing market demands and address different business challenges by embracing modern digital technologies.
Thus, digital transformation is related to anything from IT modernization or digital optimization.
The core objective of digital transformation is about improving the experience of your customers and internal users. It transcends the way your different teams operate, such as marketing, sales, customer services, and more.
Businesses shifted from paper to spreadsheets to smart applications to manage the business more effectively. This process is called digital transformation. It allows you to reimagine how to improve customer engagement and conversion and simplify the business processes using advanced digital technologies.
Well, it is not a one-time process. Companies need to consider continual adaptation to a constantly changing environment.
How Is Digital Transformation Different from Digitization and Digitalization?
Usually, people get confused between digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation. These terms seem similar until you are not aware of the difference between them. Though they are entirely different, they are connected. They are part of a digital process where a business transforms from these three stages.
Here you go to understand all of them in detail.
Digitalization is a technical process of converting analog information into digital form.
Earlier, businesses used to manage all the records, including ledgers, documents, and other critical data on papers, in an analog form.
When the information is stored on paper, data sharing becomes a headache. For data gathering and sharing, companies have to deal with physical documents such as papers, photocopies, faxes, binders, and so on.
Since computers went mainstream, businesses have started converting analog information into digital ones. Computers allowed them to store the data either in the local folders on computers or in cloud storage.
When the information is available in digital form, it becomes easier to store, manage, search and share it. As we all know, it is proven that digital information is exponentially more efficient than analog data.
Digitalization is a business process or an organizational process that allows businesses to simplify their business processes using digital data.
By transforming analog and paper-based data into digital form, it becomes easier for companies to utilize the data whenever required. It helps you to define established ways to work more efficiently.
Be clear that digitalization is not about creating a new type of business or changing the way you operate your business. It is about performing the operations faster and better as the data is easily accessible.
Let’s take an example of the customer service department in a retail firm. Digitalization of customer data makes it simpler for your team to retrieve your customer data from the computer. Here, digitalization doesn’t affect your basic methodology of customer service. But, It simplifies varied processes of looking up the relevant data, responding to an inquiry, and providing a resolution becomes more efficient.
Imagine the scenario when you need to search the required data from the paper-based ledger. Instead, you manage the ledger on the computer, it becomes simpler to find the required data just by inserting required keywords.
With the emergence of new technologies, companies start generating ideas on how to utilize them to add value to the business, not just to perform old operations faster. Here’s the digital transformation that begins to take shape. New technologies open up new things and new ways of performing varied business operations.
Digital Transformation is described as the total societal effect of digitalization.
It transforms the way business gets done. Sometimes, it allows companies to create new classes of business.
In the process of digital transformation, companies take a step back and analyze every aspect of the business starting from customer interactions to internal systems both offline and online.
After this analysis, organizations need to ask a question: do we want to optimize our processes consistently to empower us with game-changing efficiency, create a better customer experience with effective personalization, and accurate decision-making.
Today, we are living in a digital world where advanced digital technologies and platforms disrupt the conventional ways industries operate.
Digital transformation is all about taking the benefits of existing technologies to inform you how your organization runs.
Now that you know what digital transformation is, it’s time to know what types of digital transformations are available.
Different Types of Digital Transformation
Adoption of digital transformation becomes imperative for organizations as the advanced digital technologies enable companies with modern ways to alter competitive landscapes, deliver value to customers, and change the underlying economics of the market.
Though digital transformation is trending these days, many enterprises underestimate its power. Here’re a few insights from them.
It won’t change your organization inside out. Various types of digital transformation impact your varied business areas. So you can pick a set of functions you want to transform.
- It is multi-dimensional in nature, so its execution required cooperation from different departments of the company.
- Many companies believe that digital transformation must start with organizational or cultural change. It’s not true. Organizational or cultural change is one part of digital transformation. The enterprises do not need to begin with them.
- It’s time to understand what types of digital transformations are there and how they help transform your specific business areas.
Business Process Transformation
Many activities and operations are involved to attain one specific business goal. Here the business process management, business process automation, and business process optimization come into the picture.
When it comes to transformation, companies give the first preference to business processes.
Levering advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation, Big Data, Machine Learning, Analytics, etc., brands are constantly embracing new ways to reinvent the existing business processes.
Adopting modern technologies, they want to attain various goals such as reduced cycle time, increased quality, lowering costs, and more.
Let’s understand process automation through the example of Domino’s. The brand has completely changed the food ordering process.
Using the Dominos AnyWare platform, customers can book orders from any device. Due to this innovative initiative, the brand has increased customer convenience tremendously. Later on, they experienced a boost in sales and revenue. It helps Domino’s to overtake Pizza Hut in sales.
Many organizations have started streamlining their several back-office processes by adopting cutting-edge technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Process transformation delivers significant value to your overall business and diverse areas of your business.
Business Model Transformation
Many times, companies adopt digital transformation to transcend the conventional business models.
Process transformation mainly focuses on optimizing the process of different business areas. On the other hand, business model transformation allows companies to drive a drastic change in the fundamental building blocks of how value is delivered in the industry.
Examples of popular reinvention that occur as a result of Business Model Transformation are
- Apple’s music delivery model
- Netflix’s video distribution model
- Uber’s cab-hailing model in the taxi domain
Another good example of Business Model Transformation is from the insurance industry.
Insurance companies like Metromile and Allstate have started utilizing analytics and data to charge customers by the mile and unbundle insurance contracts. This approach has introduced a change to the business model of the auto insurance industry.
Business model transformation is strategic and complex in nature. Thus, they need the involvement of leaders from different business units. These initiatives are usually launched separately while continuing to operate the traditional business.
As we discussed previously, Business Model Transformation changes fundamental building blocks of value so that companies can drive various new opportunities for growth.
In the domain transformation, companies focus on a niche market that contains enormous opportunities. Leveraging modern technologies, corporations can remove industry barriers, redefine products and services, and create new and non-traditional rivals.
When you implement highly advanced technologies, it opens up great opportunities that traditional businesses can’t even think of. It expands the boundaries of your business and allows you to reach an entirely distinct level to unlock new business opportunities.
Domain transformation helps you stay ahead in the competition by allowing you to serve beyond the current market. It also helps create new value for your business.
Amazon Web Services is the best example of Domain Transformation.
Amazon has started its business as an online retailer. They expanded their business by launching a new business in a new domain that is Amazon Web Services. Now, the brand is the largest cloud computing and infrastructure service provider across the globe. This domain was formerly ruled by IBM, Microsoft, and other technology companies.
To penetrate the new domain, Amazon has a powerful combination of advanced digital capabilities such as built-in storage and computing databases that support its retail business. Through the computing databases, Amazon manages relationships with thousands of young and growing companies that need computing services to grow and expand.
AWS is not a sister brand of Amazon. It is a wholly new business in a completely different market space. Amazon earns 60% of the revenue from AWS.
To ensure a successful domain transformation, you need to pick the right domains where you have less completion and high demand. By introducing the latest digital technologies in your niche, you can easily grab the market and rule over it.
Organizational/cultural transformation is a full and long-term digital transformation that requires redefining organizational processes, talents, mindsets, and capabilities for the digital world. Best brands know that digital transformation requires agile workflows, a greater reliance on business ecosystems, decentralized decision making, and more.
By embracing digital transformation, companies take active steps to bring change to their business.
Experian is the best example to understand how organizational/cultural transformation works.
It is a customer credit agency that has transformed its businesses by embedding agile development and collaboration into its workflows. It also drives a paradigm shift in employees’ focus from equipment to data across the organization.
The primary goal of this brand was not to forge organizational/cultural transformation. Their objective was to create value from digital technologies. For the successful digital transformation, the company pulled digital mindsets, agility, innovation, and skills in the organization. All these concrete initiatives towards the adoption of digital transformation have helped them drive tremendous business growth.
Business Functions/Activities Transformation
In an organization, multiple operations are going on including marketing, human resource, customer services, administration, production, etc.
By harnessing the potential of the latest technologies through a digital transformation, companies can streamline and automate mundane activities or business functions. It helps the businesses to improve overall productivity, focus more on strategic business areas, and boost the ROI.
Business Ecosystem Transformation
Many aspects affect a business such as stakeholders, partners, and more. They impact significantly on economic or regulatory priorities as well as evolution. Companies build and set up new ecosystems with different backgrounds using digital transformation and information. Also, data enable the brands with actionable insights and becomes innovative assets for them.
Partner, Customer, and Employee Approaches
Though digital transformation is driven by technologies, it puts people and strategy on top priority. It focuses on the behavior, needs, and expectations of the stakeholders. To address these requirements, brands need to start considering user experience, new workplace models, customer centricity, changing channel partner dynamics, work empowerment, and more.
In the process of digital transformation, technologies play a vital role but it is not the sole answer to manage all the human-related aspects such as customer experience enhancement, worker satisfaction, and so on.
Always remember people are empowered by other people. Technologies are value-added in the equation of fundamental requirements and choices.
Ecosystem and Partnership Model
The use of advanced technologies helps companies to build a collaborative, cooperative, and co-creating ecosystem. It leads you towards new revenue sources and business models. In the “as-a-service” economy, the ecosystem is the key to ensure the success of the digital transformation.
6 Stages of a Successful Digital Transformation for An Organization
The Digital Transformation of a business has its pros and cons. It is essential to understand the different stages of digital transformation to ensure the successful conversion of your offline business into a digital one. It also helps companies to develop a profound understanding of prioritizing digital transformation initiatives, set up efficient models and processes, and bring all the stakeholders on the same page.
By accelerating your digital transformation, you can give a powerful boost to your marketing initiatives. It helps you gain actionable marketing insights that allow you to design the marketing strategies in a better way.
It also gives a new direction to your business by allowing you to customize your model and attain your specific goals.
There are six stages of Digital Transformation. Let’s have a detailed understanding of each.
Business as Usual
In the first stage of Digital Transformation, instead of experimenting with a new formula, companies prefer to consider a tried and tested one.
Companies are not ready to drive a drastic change in their operations due to their stiff mindset. This stops them from adopting digital transformation.
When you decide to digitally transform your business, you need to change your rigid mindset and adopt a flexible approach. You need to define goals and set perspectives about processes, business models, key performance indicators, and customers.
For example, Netflix and Blockbuster. Netflix adopted an “as-a-service” model and earned tremendous success. On the other hand, Blockbuster refused to adopt this change even after witnessing the increasing popularity of Netflix. Eventually, they pushed the brand into obsolescence.
In today’s highly competitive and dynamic business world, organizations need to build and implement the most advanced digital solutions that can adjust as per the rapidly evolving business needs.
Present and Active
In this stage, you should consider a set of experiments and analyze the results, whether they work out for you or not. If these experiments bring the best for your organization and team as well as help you to move one step nearer to your business objectives, then the experiment will be considered successful and you can spread it throughout your company.
In this phase, your focus should be on improving specific touchpoints and processes to boost the effectiveness of your business.
To gain optimum results through digital transformation, you can manage your digital products on a private server to handle spikes in traffic smartly and deliver a compelling customer experience. A better customer experience impacts positively on customer conversation. Thus, it is convincing for the management of the organizations as they can leverage the remarkable return on investment.
As your business grows, your digital transformation also extends. You need to consider more advanced technologies, buy more servers and create a network of servers across your different units and departments to achieve better results.
One more thing. Experiment with real-world situations so that when you implement it across the company, it delivers you expected results.
As you have started experimenting more and more, at this stage, you become more adventurous with the experimentation. By this time, many organizations have become intentional and habitual with experimentation. It enables you with a great level of confidence and helps you make bold decisions that transform your business.
When experiments become frequent, they become habits. Moreover, more experimentation also boosts confidence and ensures a higher success rate. Eventually, you start getting the results.
The Formalized stage is the one in which businesses start conducting intentional experimentation with the latest technologies. At this stage, companies deal with the roadblocks created by company culture. To move beyond the limitations and gain success, organizations should focus on changing their culture.
In the strategic stage of the digital transformation, different departments of the organization come together, collaborate, and share actionable insights that every unit of the organization can benefit from. This phase enables the firms with many different angles and perspectives.
There are chances that you get multiple solutions for the same problems as different departments see the same issue from different perspectives. Collect and analyze all these perspectives and select the best suitable ones. With the selected potential perspectives, you can create multiple new strategic roadmaps.
Once you have roadmaps in place, it becomes easier for you to define rules, plan the investment, and assign tasks or activities. While designing a digital transformation strategy, make sure you have considered all the factors that could hamper your journey towards success.
Based on the defined varied strategic aspects, you can define a strategy for digital transformation in the Strategic stage.
In the Converged stage, it’s time to form a dedicated team that executes your digital transformation strategy and ensures its success. Make sure that your team focuses on the customer and business-centric objectives and manages the various operations accordingly.
Converged is the phase where your new organizational structure starts to form. You need to define roles, processes, models, expertise, and systems that support your digital transformation. Here, you are ready to digitally transform your business and gain valuable benefits.
Innovative and Adoptive
In the last stage, you start getting the benefits of digital transformation. The top-level management also agrees that this change is significant. They adopt digital transformation as an integral part of the business.
With the new ecosystem, businesses identify market trends and act upon that data with the help of the latest technologies. Initially, the ecosystem is implemented in specific business areas. Later on, it can be implemented across the organization. It helps you to make the right decision at the right time.
What Are The Key Drivers of Digital Transformation?
These days customers can do almost anything and everything with a single click. There are no more geographical boundaries that limit organizations’ growth.
With the emergence of highly advanced technologies, companies can develop and implement various digital platforms that allow them to promote and sell products across the globe. For example, an Asian customer who wants to order some merchandise from North America can place an order.
Earlier, the shipping process used to take months. But, with the improved processes, customers receive the order within one or two weeks.
Online marketplaces such as Amazon enable the customers with the next level of convenience. As a result, if anyone buys a product online, they expect shortened shipping periods due to the high-level standards established by the leading marketplaces.
On the other hand, companies are forced to improve their business processes on a consistent basis by embracing modern digital platforms and delivering the best experience to their customers. Brands can utilize digital solutions not just to promote and sell the products but also to collect valuable feedback and information from the customers.
The essence of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is the most modern technology that has changed the way businesses operate. Thus, it becomes a key driver that pushes brands towards faster digital transformation. The increasing popularity of conversational interfaces such as Alexa and Siri has started contributing to businesses to drive success.
More than self-thinking robots, AI enables you with robust solutions that automate various business processes and operations once governed by humans. Importantly, it ensures for delivering the accurate output while the tasks performed human could be error-prone.
Almost all types of businesses and different industries have started considering AI as a part of their business. They have started focusing on defining the right AI strategy, selecting the right AI tools, and developing and implementing the tailored AI solutions that help them to meet changing market demands and business challenges.
Artificial Intelligence enables the business with the below-listed ideas at its core.
Comprehension – AI-based systems discern and analyze the data and transform the data into valuable information.
Sensing – Artificial Intelligence contains the components that collect text, images, voice, and various other forms of inputs from the systems.
Analysis – The AI components have problem-solving capabilities due to the implemented algorithm and a set of rules.
Guidance – The capabilities of components involve request verification, approval, or human assistance.
Action – AI contains the components that act automatically without any human intervention. The best example of this could be submitting reports or paying bills online to a company’s portal.
Increasing Importance of Customer Insights
To respond rapidly to today’s customers, brands need to set up a strong focus on customer insight. Understand the customers deeply and spend your time developing and executing strategy around that understanding. Companies need to study and understand the customers from many aspects instead of relying on some average facts that they find in surveys.
You need to analyze your customers from different levels.
- Understand overall customer base
- Understand the requirements of specific segments
- Understand the needs of the individual customer to deliver the personalized experiences
Getting such a deep level of insights about customers, companies not only develop customer intuition and gather anecdotes but also leverage consistent customer conversion.
Innovation Becomes Necessity
These days, it is not a smart way to keep waiting for something to go wrong and then take the required steps to fix it.
This competitive era requires more advanced steps than the conventional wisdom of “what to fix something that is not broken”. It is so obsolete in today’s business context.
Buyers are looking for exciting and new experiences. Consideration of digital transformation allows you to leverage the innovation and facilitates business to open up to experimentations.
Be Open for Cultural Shift
In today’s tech-savvy business world, it becomes necessary for companies to look at leaner models. These models allow them to adopt a healthy attitude to risk.
According to Gartner, “By 2021, 80 percent of midsize to large enterprises will change their culture as a way to accelerate their digital transformation strategy.”
New Revenue Streams and Working Models
Don’t rely on conventional business models in a volatile market. It is not proactive to stick to them to meet the dynamic market needs. To gain success faster and consistent, businesses have to work hard to
- Reinvent revenue models
- Monetize the product and data faster
- Identify the new income sources
- Generate sustainable value
Improved Customer Experience
To meet the requirements and expectations of tech-savvy customers, businesses need to reinvent themselves in the digital age and need to grab the attention of buyers. Companies need to engage with the customers on a digital level and deliver deep, powerful, and lasting experiences.
Getting There First Fastest
Doing something right is not important in this era. Doing something right at the right time delivers you real value. By meeting customer expectations and making every digital interaction successful, you can boost the customer experience one level up.
Benefits of Digital Transformation
Improved Data Collection
Almost all businesses collect customer data. But, smart utilization of customer data is not considered by them on a serious note. To gain optimum results from the data, you need to keep optimizing the data, analyze the data, and redefine your strategies accordingly.
With the help of data, you understand your customers and provide them with the best products and solutions. Eventually, the brands will leverage increased customer engagement, improved conversions, and boosted ROI.
Digital Transformation enables you with a lot of advanced technologies that help you gather the right data and incorporate it fully to gain business intelligence at a great level.
Using the modern digital platforms, you allow your different business units to translate the raw customer data and get exclusive insights from varied touchpoints.
Many solutions enable you with a single view of all your crucial business data, including operations, sales, marketing, production, customer journeys, business opportunities, finance, and more. It gives you a holistic view of your organization in one go.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Every individual is getting obsessed with the latest technologies, apps, social media, and other platforms to make their life easier than ever before. Users want reliable and valuable digital solutions that address their challenges rapidly.
According to a Gartner report, “Two-thirds of marketers responsible for CX say their companies compete mostly based on CX”.
Thus, customer experience is the core of digital transformation. The primary goal of companies for adopting the latest technologies is to enable the customers with compelling experiences. Design and execute mature digital transformation strategies so that you can enhance the customer experience for sure.
As per McKinsey, in the digital transformation, the success factors of customer experience contains
- Create and digitize the buyer’s journey
- Increase agility and speed of insights
- Understand customers’ digital journeys
- Build agility in providing journey transformation
Companies that consider the digital revolution earn more trust, respect, and authority from the customers.
Considering the right set of digital tools, technologies, software, and solutions, companies can streamline and automate the workflows of different departments and help the employees improve their productivity.
By automating the varied manual activities and integrating different business data across the organization, you empower your team to work effectively and efficiently.
Enhanced Cross-Departmental Collaboration
While adopting digital transformation, many organizations fear organizational and cultural change. They think it drives massive change in the processes and strategies and it impacts the different levels of the workforce starting from leadership executives to entry-level staff.
When you modify the strategies and processes, make sure all the challenges and issues related to the core structure, company, and culture need to be addressed.
Along with the change, the adoption of digital transformation brings unity throughout the company. It strengthens the communication across the different teams and increases transparency. It encourages employees to break down social differences and age gaps to learn together and get engaged in exciting conversations.
Top management of the company can take advantage of this situation to improve the digital intelligence of the employees.
Digital transformation helps you to align your different departments and build a strong culture across the organization and ensures the confident and successful transition of manual processes to digital ones.
Get Data-Driven Customer Insights
To get exclusive insights about your customer preferences, needs, demographics, etc., every brand needs to collect and analyze the customer data. It helps you to design more customer-centric business strategies.
Consider both structured and structured data. Structured data could be the personal information of the customer. Untrusted data could be social media, websites, webshops, emails, etc. This data helps you define strategies that are more personalized, agile and drive immense business success.
Also, by tracking the metrics and analyzing the data, you can empower your digital marketing efforts. It also helps businesses optimize their processes and strategies to generate better results.
For every business, cost and revenue matter the most. You can reduce costs and generate better revenue by integrating data-based insights across your company culture. The data helps you in making accurate and right decision making that eventually contributes to overall business growth.
As we have already discussed earlier, digital transformation is about developing robust digital solutions using advanced technologies. Developing the right digital platform for your internal users, you can streamline and automate various business processes that improve the efficiency of your team dramatically.
By allowing your teams to collect, manage, and share the business data from a single platform and in a continuous flow, you ensure the seamless transition of critical business information. Digital transformation makes your business processes more time-saving, cost-effective, and requires fewer resources.
Increased Scalability and Flexibility
One of the major advantages of adopting digital transformation is to get free from the legacy systems that operate with limitations and implement more modern and scalable solutions.
Businesses that operate with legacy systems that are often based on old technology require manual inputs. When workload increases, manual processes create a bottleneck. Some manual processes won’t scale as a result, you need to engage the considerable workforce to manage such operations as processing claims, responding to service requests, providing quick customer support, and more.
Digital transformation allows you to build and set up new systems that effectively address the biggest change of any organization that is siloing the data by function or department. Modern software not only simplifies the business processes but also allows you to integrate various enterprise systems and third-party applications or software with them.
The modern digital platforms allow you to update, enrich and optimize the data in a single solution and then push the relevant data to the respective systems without human intervention.
Thus, transforming your business operations digitally, you can be more responsive and remain nimble to the latest trends and innovations available in the market.
Consolidation of different processes and operations
Another most important benefit of digital transformation is it helps companies to connect with the people, internal team, and customers. It does not just bring the workforce together but unites your entire architecture, including project management system, social media, analytics, and other such interfaces.
With the consolidated company processes and operations, businesses can connect with customers and address their needs successfully.
For example, Xylem, a leading water technology provider, has integrated all the legacy IT systems and created a single platform to improve customer engagement, business growth, and operational efficiency. They utilized various technology solutions such as IoT, analytics, mobile, social, and more. By considering all these solutions as an integral part of the business, Xylem has generated more than $30 million.
Update Knowledge and Skills of the Employees
As organizations continue to adopt advanced technologies, the team needs to update their skills and knowledge to meet the changing technological environment. There are a few highly buzzing technologies that are changing the industry and business landscape significantly. Some of the technologies that your teams need to consider and enhance the relevant skills are:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Machine Learning
- Big Data
- Cloud Computing
- Augmented Reality
- Data Analytics/Exploration, and more…
These days most of the organization is dealing with the lack of digital talent and experience amid their leadership and workforce. The core reason for the issue is they are fearful of the change. They consider digital transformation as a cost-carrying initiative rather than a smart investment.
By considering this change, you do not only empower your organization but also enrich the knowledge of your employees. As an organization, it helps you gain a competitive edge and leverage sustainable growth.
With the emergence of advanced technologies, customers’ buying patterns have changed significantly. They want things faster than before. They perform detailed research before considering any product or service, check out the reviews shared by other buyers, and analyze which brands can deliver the product or service faster.
Digital transformation allows companies to meet the requirements of the customers through advanced digital solutions.
Set Up a Digital Culture
Establishing a digital business environment, brands help their teams to improve their productivity. Beyond that, employees become flexible to adopt this technological change in the organization. Digital transformation automates various mundane activities and saves a lot of time for the staff. Your team can utilize this time to increase their creativity and design customer-centric business strategies.
It makes your teams adaptable and flexible in nature. Eventually, it helps organizations to build a stronger digital workplace. It also helps your workforce to be a part of transformation without feeling disconnected from the process.
When you work with more efficiency, make a better decision, improve customer perception, and increase agility, it directly impacts your business bottom line. Thus, Digital Transformation helps you boost the profit margin.
If you earn a good profit, it motivates your employees and builds the feeling of trust and reliability across your customers. Once you have a good cash inflow in the business, you can focus more on improving business efficiency and process rather than just thinking of the way to make money to make your business profitable. Eventually, you will end up delivering an improved customer experience.
Digital Transformation Trends that Every Business Should Consider in 2021
Robotic Process Automation
Automation of different business processes is much needed to stay highly productive and effective in today’s cutthroat competition. Surprisingly, digital transformation and automation tend to co-exist. Automation of certain processes impacts others too.
When a company adopts more and more automation in the processes, they are increasing the pace of digitalization across the organization. Automation is the process that enables you with digital transformation as a result.
Now, you might be thinking of how to achieve automation.
These days Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology is getting immense buzz across the world for the automation of various business functions. It drives a paradigm shift in the way your employees work and spend the time performing different tasks.
The technology allows you to configure the robot into a digital system. These robots interact with the applications and gather the data just like humans by emulating human actions. More importantly, it boosts the performance of various activities with zero error. The robots do not need a break like a human does while performing multiple activities at a time.
Implementation of Robotic Process Automation technology enables you with:
- The reduced labor cost associated with low-value work
- Manual data entry is always error-prone. RPA eliminates the human errors
- Process the data seamlessly between multiple systems
Robots help organizations automate mundane and time-consuming functions. Implementation of RPA requires less investment and provides more benefits in terms of improving employees’ productivity, efficiency, and job satisfaction at the same time.
The explosion of Customer Data Platform
The whole world is experiencing a radical change as billions of data are proceeding at a different scale. Knowing customers is the key crux for business success these days. Thus, brands need to keep analyzing customer interactions with the company, their buying journey, and their products and service preferences.
By collecting and analyzing all these data, companies can get exclusive insights about the customers. This applies to all sizes of organizations. Based on customer data analysis, you can define the personalization strategy for the target groups.
For small-scale companies that are having limited offerings and a restricted customer base, it is easy to understand and analyze the data. However, for large-scale organizations that offer thousands of products, handle a variety of marketing channels, and manage a huge bunch of customers, it becomes difficult to get insights out of such a large pool of data.
Here, you can consider a Customer Data Platform (CDP) that manages your customer information in a single system. You can utilize CDP to create and run more relevant and personalized marketing campaigns to attract and engage the target audience.
Along with marketing, CDP helps different departments of the organizations such as Information Technology, Finance, etc. It helps the companies to make quick and effective decisions about products, services, and other business functions.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is also one of the highly admired technologies. It allows companies to collect, manage, analyze and recall the data on demand. This helps companies to make effective strategic business decisions and informed sales decisions faster.
Unlike RPA, AI-powered assistants take care of data-driven and repetitive work and save a lot of time for employees. But, AI has more power than RPA. It’s the future of the tech world. The technology is designed in such a way that it collects data like sales numbers and customer habits. It recalls the information instantly.
AI-based tools identify and analyze the patterns, learn, make decisions, predict, and improve. These days most companies, regardless of startups to large-scale organizations are tech-savvy. Every enterprise tries and integrates AI-based tools and platforms in its existing processes and systems.
There are so many vendors such as AWS, Google, Microsoft, and more that offer a wide range of AI solutions. With the help of modern AI platforms, enterprises can begin their AI journey and achieve immense success.
Usually, AI platforms are a bit expensive, thus organizations need to work on them to make the solutions cost-effective.
Headless technologies are getting popular day by day. With the help of such a kind of software architecture, brands can separate their front-end from the back-end.
Front-end: User interface where the user interacts and can find on the website or app.
Back-end: App and website for internal processes. It’s also known as server-side.
Headless technologies help organizations design extremely personalized shopping experiences for targeted customers. This technology also helps increase customer acquisition too.
The new customer acquisition increases the cash flow in the organization. This ultimately increases the ROI. Now, the companies can focus on designing strategies to retain engaged customers and their loyalty.
With the right digital transformation strategy, companies can deliver compelling shopping experiences that help you to gain competitive advantages over your competitors.
A few years back, the digital transformation started as an innovative approach to improve products and processes. To support the improved time-to-market, companies have started considering advanced initiatives like DevOps. While performing all the advanced initiatives, they do not pay enough attention to the security aspects.
Avoidance of security aspects results in a major service failure while managing the digital risks.
Large-scale organizations have their IT teams who take care of the security aspects of all the digital solutions. They ensure to set the security practices within the company to match the speed of digital transformation.
When said this, it does not mean they should just focus on how to make processes faster. They need to take care of how to make the processes faster safely.
To meet the expectations of customers and the changing market scenario of the industry, brands need to adopt more and more digital platforms. For each digital solution, cybersecurity is the prime requirement. Thus, it is the most popular digital transformation trend in 2021.
It is also essential to train your internal team about the new technologies and their security aspects. It’s a highly competitive era, where companies are constantly embracing and integrating advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), multi-cloud, Machine Learning (ML) into the security solutions that are used within an organization.
The key aspect of digital transformation is the latest technologies that help them to collect and analyze the data to get meaningful insights out of it. In today’s time, data works as fuel for any business. They need to sort, process, and analyze them to gain value out of them.
Consider and implement smart data analytics platforms that process the raw data and extract valuable information out of it. With effective data analytics, companies enhance organizational productivity and foster better decision-making.
Data and analysis of the data help companies to accelerate a company’s transformation and digitization efforts.
According to Gartner, “By 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency”.
Different types of data analytics solutions available in the market to address the varied requirements and challenges of your different departments.
Descriptive analytics helps companies analyze what happened. On the other hand, diagnostic analytics help in defining why it happened. Using the results of the data analytics, different departments of an organization can address the complex processes.
Harnessing the fullest potential of data analytics, brands can streamline supply chain processes, predict customer behavior, optimize sales pipelines, and more.
5G has become one of the highly popular technologies in the last couple of years. In the upcoming time, this trend will go mainstream. Adoption of the 5G will accelerate digital transformation.
It is also expected that 5G also empowers the organizations and helps them redefine their business models and functional processes. This indirectly improves their customer services. The new technology brings lower latency, faster speed, and most importantly higher density than 4G networks.
To leverage the benefits of 5G technologies, companies need to invest more in cloud infrastructure and tie up with reliable Cloud Service Providers.
The Cloud Service Provider works out the best approach to deliver the best services using 5G. It helps companies to pave the path of success using the software-defined technology that can support both current 4G and 5G.
In the upcoming time, contactless solutions such as digital payments and contactless dining are the key to digital transformation.
As an impact of COVID-19, contactless solutions are highly in demand. People are following the social distancing to staying safe during this pandemic time. Thus, restaurants, cafes, and other businesses started implementing contactless digital platforms to take customers’ orders and provide better services to them.
Along with these, they have started using platforms that provide an online mode of delivering food, takeout services, in-seat ordering, and more.
For example; in the case of in-seat ordering, some solutions allow customers to place orders using QR codes and mobile apps by sitting in their chairs. If we talk about other scenarios, they do not need to stand in a queue in the convention center and miss the show in the theater.
QR code is one of the extremely popular and widely accepted solutions as it facilitates people and companies to perform various jobs.
3 Digital Transformation Success Stories
McDermott is an American multinational engineering, construction, procurement, and installation company. They operate in various countries of the Pacific Rim, America, the Caspian Sea, and the Middle East.
They have utilized a digital twin technology. It is a computer model of oil and gas platform facilities it delivers to the client.
Digital Twin connects the physical and digital world. It allows integrating the smart components into physical objects. These components contain sensors to gather data regarding working conditions, real-time status, or position.
Moreover, these components are connected with cloud-based systems that receive and process all the data that sensors have collected and monitored. The result is analyzed against business data and other contextual data. The brand gets better insights into the objects or processes, learns the various lessons, and embraces various opportunities that are uncovered within the virtual environment.
The brand has utilized all these insights, lessons, and opportunities in the physical world. This eventually transforms their business.
After the implementation of the digital twin approach, they achieved a 15% increase in operating margin in areas like predictive maintenance.
Rolls Royce is a leading brand of hi-tech and royal cars. They have started R2 Data Labs initiatives that use Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics to create new services. Under this venture, they have 200+ employees that involve data architects, data scientists, engineers, and specialist managers. The Data Labs team enabled Rolls Royce with £250m in value by performing engine health monitoring activities for the cars.
NHS Blood and Transplant
It’s a public sector unit. They have implemented a digital transformation agenda. They are trying and testing various digital platforms. They conducted some interesting trials around the likely waiting time for an organ and predictive analytics. It is essential to get clarity on organ availability in the healthcare industry. They are doing exciting digital experiments in the medical domain.
How to Ensure Successful Digital Transformation? [Tips to Consider]
Define your Goals for Digital Transformation
Digital Transformation does not have a specific path or solution to approach that you can just follow or implement. It’s the result of multiple digital initiatives that you consider. Thus, it is very important to define your specific goals, requirements, and long-term vision for adopting digital transformation.
Companies are considering digital transformation to attain different business objectives such as
- Reduce the operational cost
- Making more profit
- Explore new markets, and more…
Based on the requirement you can define what digital solutions you need and how they help you increase ROI.
Define a strategy across your business objectives that you can achieve through digital solutions. You need to communicate the same to your team members so they understand the essence of new platforms and adopt it.
You can also analyze how your competitors are successfully moving towards digital space and look at the latest technology trends to determine your requirements for digital transformation.
Most organizations consider Digital Transformation to deliver a better customer experience, improve customer relationships, reduce time-to-market, reduce operational costs, and earn ROI.
Involve Your Team of All Levels
Digital Transformation does not bring change to one single department. It impacts your entire organization at all levels. When you have tech-savvy decision-makers and leaders, then the adoption of digital transformation becomes way easier.
As per research conducted by McKinsey and Company, when the Chief Digital Officer of an organization is involved in the transformation process, it increases the chances of successful digital transformation.
When the entire organization is involved in digital transformation strategy planning and execution. It drives a cultural change in the organization. So make sure all your team members from different departments are on board, participate in the discussion, share their suggestions and options, in the process of defining and executing the right digital transformation strategy.
It also helps you define the roles of your employees based on their skills and assign them the relevant tasks.
Utilize and Update Your Existing Tech Stack
Once your entire staff, including the senior decision-makers and executive-level employees, are on board, the next step is to take inventory of your organization’s resources and tech stack before you start planning your digital transformation. In this inventory, you can consider
- Potential gaps in the processes
- Technical competencies
Analyze your existing tools and processes deeply. It helps you understand how to streamline your processes and make the functions more effective. Integration of advanced tools and smooth processes are essential for the various business areas such as
- Customer relationship management
- Product development
- Employee experience and support
- Internal collaboration
- Sales and marketing
In most companies, digital transformation begins with re-developing the existing platform. After a certain time, if not enhanced regularly, the systems become obsolete. Thus, businesses need to re-engineer them to maintain their performance.
Moreover, you cannot reengineer the technologies that you have used previously. You need to consider modern technologies while developing new features and functionality for your applications. Integration of the latest technologies drives the immense transformation of your business.
Most of the time organizations consider digital transformation to develop a better customer experience. However, it is essential to take care that it supports the employees as well in improving their productivity.
While considering digital transformation for employees, you need to take care of all the essential data flows available across different departments and teams, all the required information is quickly accessible to the respective users, and more.
The inefficient digital experience of the employees will result in
- Negative impact on the work culture
- Poor customer experience
In the process of digital transformation, communication must be transparent and clear. The organization’s leaders need to make sure the digital transformation strategy is communicated to all the employees so that the company gains the ultimate benefits.
You need to explain to the team members why certain processes are being executed and what the end goals they achieve as an organization. The employees of different departments should communicate the issues and try to figure out the solution together. They should try to resolve the challenges as they arise.
To simplify communication across the teams, keep all the essential information quickly accessible. Organizations can implement reliable communication tools to do so.
Invest in the Right Digital Technologies
The digital space is flooded with a lot of tools and technologies. Thus, it becomes difficult to select the right set of technologies for your business.
Automation is the latest technology trend that every organization is looking forward to achieving. It helps the employees to focus on more creative and essential tasks. All the mundane and repetitive tasks will be taken care of by the computer automatically.
It works as the support system for many other technologies. The cloud platform allows companies to store, manage, process, and analyze massive data with next-level security. Most importantly, it manages the data in the internet server, so it is quickly accessible too.
Cloud computing technology enables you with the flexibility to update your obsolete IT infrastructure at any point in time. It also supports the most advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), and more.
Data Analytics is one of the highly followed technology trends. With the help of advanced analytics, businesses can gain all necessary insights related to finance, customer behavior, marketing processes, and more. It allows businesses to break their operations in silos. It becomes easy for your team to respond to challenges and changes in real-time.
Consider Data-driven Approach
To ensure success and growth, businesses need to be receptive to the changing market trends and customer demands. To do this, it is essential you spend time, money, and resources for data collection and data analysis.
Monitoring and analyzing the metric and data regularly is very important as it helps you to make more relevant and accurate business decisions in terms of your future digital initiatives.
With the help of data, you can understand your customers better and enable them with extremely personalized experiences in the future.
In case you find any issue in our digital strategy, you should consider the data-driven approach. Collect the data of specific areas and take insightful actions and decisions based on the findings.
Take the Help from an Outsourcing Partner
One of the key reasons companies considers digital transformation is they want to streamline their operations. To achieve your objective quickly and effectively, it is highly suggested to take the help of an experienced outsourcing partner for your digital initiatives.
You need to focus more on defining the procedures and methods as well as utilize the teams’ capabilities to improve your operational workflow. As you can experts in that part. Digital initiatives are not your forte. So just pass your expectations and objectives to an outsourcing partner and they will help you build advanced digital solutions that help achieve your goals and address challenges.
As they have proven experience in deploying tailored digital solutions, it will be a cost-effective decision for you. Moreover, it mitigates the risks for the companies. When you outsource digital initiatives, you can have access to good quality resources, scalability, and industry experts.
By considering the outsourcing partner, you allow your team to focus more on your core business activities. On the other hand, your digital transformation is taken care of by a reliable IT solution provider company.
When You Need to Consider Adopting Digital Transformation
It’s an era of technology. Emerging technologies encourage businesses to embrace digital transformation. Leveraging advanced technologies, you can transform the way you interact with your partners, customers, competitors, and other stakeholders.
These days, a lot of technologies are adopted by the companies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Blockchain, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, mobility, edge computing, and more.
With the right amalgamation of technologies, you can build robust applications. For example; the mixture of AI, Big Data, Analytics, and IoT helps businesses to drive immense change in their conventional work culture.
Along with organizational change, such technologies drive an industrial transformation as well.
Customer Demand and Behavior
Today’s tech-savvy customers are exploring their required products or services through digital solutions. Well, customer-related transformation is not necessarily related to technology. It could be related to your business strategy. Consideration of digital technologies helps you to address many customer-related business challenges.
Decades ago, when technologies did not exist, the problems of customers were addressed. But, the emergence of the adoption of digital technologies has driven the transformation significantly.
Earlier, the problems of customers were taking too much time to get resolved. But, with the help of technologies, businesses can interact with the customers instantly and take action to address their issues quickly. Customer needs and behavior are also impacted by digital transformation.
Invention and Innovations
It’s a completely new approach to business challenges and humans. Invention and innovation together create a new reality in the areas of technology, science, business, or non-technological context. Invention and innovation in digital technologies transform many industries.
Leveraging the latest innovative technologies has transformed the way healthcare, manufacturing, engineering, transportation, and more.
Organizations are a part of the broader ecosystem. Natural and social ecosystems as well as business ecosystems in which we live. In these ecosystems, various changes take place from time to time such as regulatory changes, demands for the partners who adopt the new change, innovation in collaboration and interaction with the transformational business ecosystem, economical changes, societal shift, geopolitical changes, and more. All these factors play a vital role in increasing the needs of digital transformation.
Especially, in this era of new normal, the importance and demand of digital transformation are constantly rising.
What are the Most Common Challenges of Digital Transformation?
Lack of Skilled IT Resources
The success of digital transformation relies on a dedicated and highly skilled IT team. Building a team of skilled IT resources is a tough job. Especially, when you don’t have profound knowledge of the domain. Moreover, to stay competitive, more and more businesses pursue advanced technologies to build next-generation business solutions. This causes the deficiencies of skilled IT professionals.
According to a recent survey, 54% of the organizations have reported that shortage of skilled IT resources holding them back from accomplishing their digital transformation objectives.
When I am saying the lack of expertise means fewer skills in the below areas:
- Advanced Data Analytics
- Cyber Security
- Enterprise Architecture
- Technical Architecture
How to overcome this challenge?
You can take the help of reliable and experienced IT solutions and service providers. They have highly skilled technology experts and consultants to support your in-house team.
Else, you need to understand your customers and tie a partnership with an IT service provider to build customer-centric solutions that satisfy the expectation of your target audience.
Organization Change Management is not in Focus
Most organizations fear change. Thus, they keep following rigid leadership styles, outdated organizational structures, and inefficient workflow that hinder the success of the digital transformation. All these businesses were struggling to survive and shift to remote business models quickly.
In such cases, if the business immediately adopts new tools and technologies, it negatively affects the team and processes.
Thus, every organization needs to follow change management when every new business and technological change takes place step by step. So that it becomes easy to adopt the new change across the organization seamlessly. It helps your staff to understand what lies ahead.
More than technology, change management impacts the people so change management is essential for successful digital transformation.
Constantly Changing Customer Needs
Modern customers do not prefer to visit physical stores to buy the products. They don’t buy any random product.
They conduct detailed online research before buying a product. Moreover, they utilize advanced digital platforms to purchase the products. With the invention of smartphones, customers’ lives have become easier than before. Thus, the customers are more demanding these days.
Now, the touchless checkout process is not considered a value-added feature. It becomes a necessity for every eCommerce platform as customers expect this feature as a default.
Absence of Well-defined Strategies
Digital transformation is not just a buzz word but it’s a present and future of many businesses. Still, people are struggling to get a clear definition of it.
Due to a lack of clarity about the concept, companies are sure that they want to and are moving towards digital transformation but they don’t have confidence where they are going.
Thus, it is essential to define a digital transformation strategy instead of implementing it randomly. It also enables companies with several benefits rather than creating chaos across the organization.
To have the right strategy in place, you need to be clear about some of your business aspects like what are the priorities and goals of my company? Are these goals consistent across the organization? Are there some stakeholders who are completely on different pages?
Based on the answers to these questions, you can design the digital transformation strategy that also ensures its success.
In the absence of the right digital transformation strategy, you might face the issue of setting and sticking to your budget.
While responding to the evolving customer needs and customization requests, you might experience scope creep. If you do not have a proper strategy in place, you have to make the decisions that enable you with less or no benefits. Moreover, it increases your product timeline and budget too.
Try to focus on long-term goals for digital transformation rather than short-term objectives. Define the milestones for your long-term goals and develop a realistic project plan. To achieve these, it is very important that you understand what digital solutions you are implementing and the culture you are integrating them into.
Ineffective Business Processes
Once you set the business processes for your organization, you need to keep tracking its effectiveness. You need to analyze whether your current processes deliver you the expected results or your existing roadmap helps you to attain your long-term business objectives.
If you fail to attain these, you may need to work on your business processes. There are chances you need to change your business rules, adjust workflows, and leverage data in different ways than you previously envisioned while you implemented legacy systems. You can consider business process reengineering to make your business process more efficient.
Inefficient Data Management
There is a lot of data every business has for different purposes. Here we are talking about customer data specifically. Customer data is the key crux of digital transformation. It helps you get insights into a buyer’s behavior, preferences, and possible future decisions.
To gain the maximum benefits out of it, it is essential how you organize and capture the data. If you are using the siloed systems to manage customer data, it becomes challenging to consolidate the customer information, manage them centrally to make them accessible easily. If the data is managed in a single place, it becomes easy to perform this process.
With this data, you can learn about your customers and define strategies to serve them more effectively.
This post has covered every single aspect related to digital transformation. I hope this helps you define the digital transformation strategy and implement the right digital solutions to empower your business goals and objectives. If you still have any queries and concerns, feel free to connect with our experts to get personalized consultation and the right business solution that ensures immense growth and success of your businesses.