Many businesses hesitate to embrace digital transformation fully, yet the benefits far outweigh any difficulties. While resistance to change can be natural and understandable, this is change that can dramatically improve your business.
Just what is digital transformation and what are the main challenges your organisation may face? More importantly, how do you overcome those challenges successfully so that you can say your business has truly entered the digital era?
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is the process of integrating technology into all areas of your business. It focuses on how you carry out even the most basic operations and how you deliver a better customer experience to your entire customer base. As well as integrating new tech, it may also involve a fundamental change in your company culture.
One thing to note is that digital transformation is different for every organisation. Embracing it fully can mean total change to existing business processes, even ones that have been working well for you. Initial success is not guaranteed when you integrate new tech and you may find it is a trial and error process to get things working right for you. But new tech and tools open doors to your staff and help you streamline processes, such as giving you access to an audit RFP template for converting clients.
5 Digital Transformation Challenges
No-one says digital transformation is easy. In fact, it will challenge you on several levels, but the end result is a business that is better placed to serve its customers and meet long-term goals. Knowing the challenges you may face can make the process easier.
1. Resistance to adoption of new tech and processes
As mentioned, there can be major resistance to change within your organisation. That resistance can extend from your C-suite to your employees. They may be used to existing processes and can’t see why change is needed. This can be a major barrier to transformation and there are a number of ways you can address it.
- Inform your workforce why you feel change is needed and let them know the benefits it will bring, such as helping to avoid repetition in the workplace.
- Ensure that training is provided for every employee.
- Support your workforce through any transition period and beyond.
- Hold follow-up meetings to highlight the benefits any change has brought.
2. Lack of clear strategy
There is no magic wand that makes your digital transformation a smooth process. It needs a clear strategy that outlines the various factors involved in the change. Your strategy needs to include a clear roadmap to show how you will achieve transformation, as well as the reasons why you are doing it and what your goals are. Some things to consider include:
- What your goals and objectives are.
- Why you feel change is needed.
- The steps towards those goals including any short-term objectives.
- What your starting point will be.
- Any changes needed to current staff skill sets and how to deliver new knowledge and skills.
- What are the new technologies you will be adopting and who will use them?
- What benefits will each new bit of tech bring and who will it benefit? Staff, customers, or both? Focus on how each change helps different teams, such as improvements in digital marketing.
- How will successful transformation be measured? Which KPIs will be used?
3. Lack of skills
It may be that you have a minimal IT team and that most employees have zero or low IT skills. To successfully integrate new tech, you may have to look at existing skill sets and bring staff up to the speed needed to use your new tools and processes. You may also need to look at having your IT team improve their knowledge. Some areas in which you may have to consider specialised training include:
- Cybersecurity. New tools and tech bring new risks so it is essential staff are trained in counter measures.
- Software integrations. One of the advantages of new systems is that they offer multiple integrations that can make employees’ lives easier.
- Analytics. If you have more tech, the likelihood is that you will be collecting a LOT more data. You may have to look at training staff in analytics or using analytics tools.
- Software/app architecture. One thing that may come from your digital transformation is the development of software and/or apps in-house. You may need to upskill existing IT staff or even bring in new, specialised staff.
4. Budget issues
A successful digital transformation doesn’t come cheap. When you formulate a transition strategy, you should also include as accurate a budget as possible. There is a good chance that final costs will be higher than any initial estimate so factor in coverage for any extra costs you may incur. You should think about all potential costs over different timeframes.
- Initial costs. These can include any tools or hardware you buy outright or upgrading of existing IT infrastructure to cope with new tech.
- Ongoing costs. Some of your new tools and systems may be SaaS (software as a service) so you need to calculate monthly or annual costs.
- Training. Training may take the form of online courses, outsourced specialists, or may be offered by software/tech providers. You should factor in initial and ongoing training costs.
- Maintenance. If new or upgraded hardware is part of your digital transformation process, then consider maintenance costs and whether any work can be done in-house or outsourced.
5. Culture and mindset
Previously mentioned resistance to change can be deep rooted in a company’s culture and mindset. People get used to doing things a certain way and you need to change that view if digital transformation is to be successful. You need to be sure that everyone in the organisation, from CEO to shop floor, embraces the new culture.
While you may be adding new tech, tools, and processes, it is the human element that ties all these together. People think that automation will threaten jobs and you need to emphasise that automation and new tech will actually enhance their work and do not pose a threat. You need to be ready to accept the possibility of a drop in performance and productivity during a transitional period while pushing for that drop to be as temporary as possible.
By creating a clear strategy for your own digital transformation, you can make any transition easier. To achieve successful transformation, it’s vital you ensure that there is clear communication at every stage of the process.
There are many benefits of embracing digital transformation. These range from simple conversion of PNG to PDF through to automating repetitive tasks such as email marketing.