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August 08, 2022

The 7 Stages of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is an ideology that seems to have been around for a long time. But despite the importance of adopting new technologies to streamline processes and future-proof organizations, there are still some companies at the start of their digital transformation journeys.

If you are one of those companies looking to modernize systems, here are our seven stages of digital transformation that your business will need to consider.

  1. Define the 'Why': A company should never enter a period of transformation without having two specific reasons: the challenge it currently faces; and the outcome you'd like to achieve. Organizations need to define why precisely digital transformation is required initially. Digital transformation isn't just about computer software and hardware. It's a complete mind shift across a company. You could deploy best-in-class systems, but your project will fail if you haven't received company-wide acceptance. Because the term 'digital transformation' encompasses so many different elements, you'll want to outline strategic goals to achieve as a result of your project. Imagine your business in 5 or even ten years. How does it look? How does digital transformation help you get there?
  2. Changing opinions: Let's face it; nobody likes change—especially those who have been working a certain way for an extended period. People across your business will always have their quirks and habits of working. But for your digital transformation project to succeed, you'll need to prepare people that change is on the way. The suitable systems can not only improve the fortunes of an organization but should also make employees' lives easier at work. There's no point in making a significant investment in technology if your staff is fighting against change. One way to avoid this is a change of culture. And this must be driven by company executives and leaders. Involving all team members at all stages of the journey will help. If people understand the method behind the strategy and the overall strategic goals, it'll help your organization reach these targets faster.
  3. Small steps: One way to keep your team energized and engaged with your project is to set small and achievable goals throughout your project. Depending on the size of your company, projects may take long periods to complete. But if you can set smaller, more realistic goals, then it'll help you along your way to achieve overall project success. Initially, these may look like training users to show how much more productive they could be by automating processes; showing a finance director how quickly they can complete month end; or piloting a new system within a single warehouse or factory to highlight improvements made before rolling these out across the rest of the business. Although an organization will enjoy long-term benefits from adopting a digital-led approach, don't expect instant benefits. Transformation takes time, but it will always be worth it.
  4. Choose wisely: The technology chosen as part of your digital transformation project will play a vital role in the overall success of your plan. If you select the wrong system for your business, your project will always fail. So how do you choose wisely when analyzing the perfect solution for your company? Firstly, you'll need to speak with key stakeholders across your business to get their input. If a solution only works for specific departments, it won't be long before alternatives are considered. Do as much research as possible on similar companies who have successfully deployed the solutions under consideration and the benefits they have experienced.
  5. The perfect partner: Just as important as your chosen solution is the partner you decide to embark with as part of your digital transformation journey. This partner will be by your side at crucial milestones for your company and, in some cases, long into the future. That's why it's vital to find somebody with the same culture as your company, so everybody is on the same page. When selecting a partner, don't just go for the cheapest option, either. Search out the partner with the experience, the expertise, and the skills to help you reach your strategic goals. You've found your perfect digital transformation partner when you've found somebody who ticks all the right boxes.
  6. Outlining Success: As mentioned above, digital transformation can mean different things to different organizations. Elements may include mobile, IoT, cloud, artificial intelligence, business management, machine learning, and even the latest innovations such as augmented reality. Whatever the process means to your business, it's always advised to start with pre-defined performance indicators. You should be able to establish these initiatives when you speak with your shareholders and understand what they'd like to achieve through modernization. Then, when projects, milestones, or dates are reached, you can quickly identify the improvements you have made against these KPIs. It's a simple and sure-fire way of identifying outcomes.
  7. Next Steps: Where digital transformation is concerned, there is no end goal. Technology and innovation evolve and change so quickly that a project which began a few years ago may already have been superseded. Being open and agile in adopting new digital strategies and trends is all part of the transformational process. When you can plan, manage and track the outcomes of projects within your digital strategy, you'll be able to build new business cases to evolve your digital transformation journey.


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