Current trends in technology indicate that enterprises are adopting distributed architecture, enhanced connectivity, distributed cloud, big data analytics, automation, and virtualization in a bid to run operations in the most efficient manner. These are the trends that are currently shaping the current digital transformation for businesses. At the very basic, a digital transformation leader, as an agent of change in the organization, should be aware of the current tech trends to help the organization align with trends that are relevant to the growth and profitability of the business.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the process of optimizing digital technology in all the aspects of business operations, including processes, culture, management, customer relations and experience, and much more. As the name suggests, digital transformation fundamentally changes the way businesses operate to meet evolving business requirements and customer expectations of value. Ultimately, effective digital transformation will impact change in business culture and should lead to the creation of new or modification of existing processes within business operations to align with the digital.
At the core of digital change are technology and changing customer expectations of value. Thus, the integration of technological solutions should ultimately deliver value both for customers and the business.
Why is Digital Transformation Important?
There are several reasons why futuristic organizations cannot ignore digital transformation as core to their business strategy. The life of any business in this digital age is pegged on its adoption of digital transformation as a vehicle for not only delivering the greatest value to its customers but also staying ahead in a fiercely competitive market. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the importance of agility and adaptability in businesses. At a time when supply chains and business operations were massively disrupted, and customer demands evolved more rapidly than ever, most businesses that had built a solid and effective digital transformation framework were the ones that managed to adapt fast to the changes and remain afloat.
4 Areas of digital transformation
Four core areas of digital transformation are:
- Technology. Emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things, 5G connectivity, cloud computing, and others are causing massive disruptions that organizations can hardly keep up with. Yet they carry potential worth exploring. Business digital transformation leaders ought to steer the integration of the right stack of technologies that offer the business the greatest value to meet specific objectives.
- Data. Data is essential as it delivers insights that are useful for making important business decisions. Unfortunately, poor quality data affects analytics and decision-making negatively, ultimately impacting the business. An important element of the digital transformation framework is data management standards that will help businesses make the most of the data available to them. A business should be able to organize, understand, and make use of data in its different forms.
- Process. Innovative technologies emerge in response to the need to enhance business processes to deliver high value faster, more efficiently, and at a fraction of the cost. This not only boosts sales but also improves customer experience. A good example is the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) that automates business processes. Process improvement is important for meeting customer needs, just as it is for enhancing collaboration within the delivery process.
- Organization culture. For digital transformation to be successful, it has to get the buy-in of the entire organization, beginning with the management. For this reason, collaborative effort should be made to help shift mindsets to the importance of digital transformation and, most importantly, embrace it.
Who is a Digital Transformation Leader
Digital transformation leaders are the individuals that leverage digital tools in the organization to drive digital transformation. They identify the right stack of digital tools that will help the organization streamline its operations and achieve its business goals. They do this with the organization’s staff in mind, ensuring that they are well trained and equipped to use the tools while also appreciating the benefits that these tools add to operations. Thus, the role of digital transformation leadership is to leverage the potential in digital tools, reinvent and innovate processes, optimize return on investment, and help the business to scale.
10 Best Practices of Digital Transformation Leader
Digital-oriented leaders drive digital transformation in the organization and support other employees in embracing digital transformation for the business to realize maximum value from it. On the other hand, for this drive to be successful, digital transformation leaders ought to implement the following best practices.
- In this regard, also, read: How Digital Transformation of Grocery Delivery Services Reshaping the Grocery Industry
Know Your Customer
Make use of data to know your customers, their preferences, patterns, expectations, pain points, and the appropriate channels to engage them. This helps to assess their expectations to meet their needs. Ideally, a business should have a 360-degree overview of its customers to deliver the best value.
Build a Customer-Centric Digital Transformation Framework
What necessitates the need for digital transformation in any business is the ever-evolving customer expectations. As such, any digital transformation initiative starts with the customer as its goal. Thus rather than focusing on technology, the focus should be on the customer and how technology can help the business deliver the greatest value to the customer.
Give Priority to Investments That Focus on Improving Customer Experience
Knowing customer expectations and understanding their pain points should be a pointer to identifying the right stack of tools needed for the digital transformation journey. Build a business case for tools that streamline workflow to help deliver value to customers, ultimately improving their experience.
Get Buy-in from the Executive
Getting top-level executives on board the digital transformation initiative comes with numerous benefits. Implementing digital transformation should take a top-down approach. This is because it is easier for employees to buy in a vision that has received full backing from top management.
Design a Digital Transformation Framework That Embraces Collaboration
Digital transformation initiatives should be implemented across all levels of the organization. Businesses today are agile and will adopt the cross-functional approach in their operations. A digital transformation leader should thus strive to drive transformation initiatives in open, collaborative environments.
Employ Design Thinking
A design thinking approach is iterative in nature. A digital transformation leader designs the ecosystem of the customer journey map alongside tools and technologies that will work together seamlessly to deliver customer solutions at any point in their journey. A design thinking approach helps the business to redesign its operations, processes, tools, and technologies in a way that delivers customer value while still meeting business objectives.
Employ the Right Talent
While organizations are investing heavily into new tools and technology for their digital ecosystems, it takes the right talent to realize the return on investment. Hire the right talent for the digital transformation journey and support them through optimizing the digital tools for the benefit of both the customer and the business.
Manage Digital Transformation Change
One important role of a digital transformation leader is to help teams see the benefits of new technology and accept it. This requires a shift of mindset to fully understand the capabilities of the new technology that a business invests in and how it will help them work more efficiently. Only then shall they be able to leverage the technology and realize its full potential.
Stir Productivity and Innovation in Employees
In addition to integrating well with existing tools and infrastructure, new technology should also streamline processes, making it easy for employees to focus their efforts on creativity, innovation, and productivity. Thus, a digital transformation leader should support employees through training to use and optimize the tools.
A digital transformation leader should have metrics in place that will measure the success of a digital transformation initiative. The success of a new solution should be monitored right from deployment over a defined period. Assessment metrics should measure employees, customer experience, and business processes.
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Much is expected of digital transformation leaders. They are the vision bearers and are expected to lead the entire organization to learn, understand the worth, and use new technology. For this reason, a digital transformation leader should be innovative, influential, communicative, and knowledgeable to drive the adoption of disruptive technology and cultivate a transformation mindset across teams.