What You Need to Have a Great Digital Transformation Strategy
November 15th, 2019 (Updated 03/23/2021) | 5 min. read
By Tolu Oke
What Makes a Great Digital Transformation Strategy?
The process of digital transformation is one that involves the integration of digital technology within a business and how it transforms the business’s processes and performance. Digital transformation can also be seen as future-proofing the business by looking at how things are done on a daily basis and completely reassessing them in order to make real and impactful improvements. This has a profound influence across the business in that everything top to bottom is affected. As such, the process is time–consuming, costly to the business, and can face resistance from uncertain employees.
With that in mind, throughout this article, I will cover what makes a great digital transformation strategy with practical implications of strategies and real-life digital transformation success stories.
Any decision made within a business should, at the minimum, consider the business’s brand and its culture. Digital transformation is no exception to this rule. When a business has an old-fashioned culture where ‘things have always been done this way’ is a common saying, a trying process such as digital transformation, by itself, will struggle to find a leg to stand on. It is not merely enough to implement digital transformation throughout the business, but employees must be brought onboard and buy into the idea through whatever means necessary for the changes to truly be effective.
Regardless of their starting point, there are three key elements in preparing a business’s culture for digital transformation.
Employees’ Roles in Change
When implementing digital transformation, it is down to those at the head of the change to choose the right employees within the business to cascade down those changes. Due to this, it is important to consider who within the business has the correct mindset for change. As a result, the rest of the business will fall in line.
Assess the Current Situation
Prior to the beginning of the digital transformation process, surveying and interviewing employees will provide an insight into what works in the business currently. Upon highlighting things that they believe are inefficient and not fit for purpose, the digital transformation implementation will feel more like a necessary development than a worrisome change.
The key element in connecting the culture of your business to the process of digital transformation is communication. Employees should understand at each turn what is happening and, more importantly, why it is happening. It is incredibly important to express the benefits of change in a clear and direct way. As long as the communications follow this outline, the employees will understand the need for digital transformation and, as such, not offer negative resistance. It is also important throughout the digital transformation process to listen to the views and feedback of employees in order to ensure that the changes being made correctly align with the needs of the business.
Adobe as One of the Top Digital Transformation Companies
One prime example of correctly enforced digital transformation is when Adobe moved from physical software to their current cloud-based subscription models. They began with their employees and thoroughly explained to them the need for this change by implementing an ‘experience-a-thon’ where Adobe employees were able to review the service from a customer standpoint. This allowed them to truly see the need for change in a practical way and is one of the many reasons that led to the success of Adobe’s digital transformation. Because, on top of considering the business’s culture, their strategy looked at their customers.
What Do the Customers Need?
In many cases, digital transformation is driven by the needs of the customers – faster turnaround times, easier access to services and smoother experiences. A successful digital transformation strategy should consider the pain points of customers in order to develop ways to improve the business in a way that best benefits the customers.
For a customer, each interaction with a business affects their opinion of it. Customers will notice each time when a service took longer than a competitor did or didn’t yield the results they were expecting. Feedback and testimonials taken at any stage of interaction with the business will prove invaluable during this process. Many businesses undergoing digital transformation opt for surveying their customer base directly on their pain points and what they believe works in the business. Regardless of the data collection method, the key point is to truly understand what the customers need and consider this throughout.
Personalized Customer Experience
One of the best digital transformation examples regarding customer experience is Pitney Bowes. A global technology company that sought to personalize their customers’ experiences and each interaction with their brand through interactive personalized video and a mobile–focused strategy. By considering the desires of their customers and enforcing the digital transformation strategy with that in mind, they were able to create better customer experiences, leading to higher levels of engagement and higher loyalty rates.
Set Clear Goals
A business with both their employees on board and their customer base looking to benefit from digital transformation is in a favorable position. However, in order to truly create and implement a digital transformation strategy, the business must set goals for the process.
By defining clear goals for the process of digital transformation and following a well thought out timeline, the business can work towards it united in a sense of purpose.
At this stage, external benchmarking and competitor analysis can be incredibly useful in understanding where exactly processes need to be and to what level efficiency should be brought.
Goals that are set should not only be clear and defined, but also be ambitious and strive for exceptionalism. After all, the purpose of digital transformation is to reshape processes and performance within the business for the better, and this requires both drive and will.