The keys to successful digital transformation

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneurs are their own.

Businesses in every industry are striving to keep pace with the rapid evolution of digital transformation, recognizing the importance of adopting new technologies and solutions to remain competitive. Along the way, however, many are distracted and overwhelmed by the shiniest new thing and its supposed benefits; losing sight of it is actually the right approach based on the unique needs and considerations of their own organization.

With so much at stake, not to mention the significant time and resources required to adopt new technology solutions, companies must employ a sound innovation strategy to guide their journey. Leaders may feel pulled in different directions, but the keys to successful digital transformation in the workplace can be divided into three categories: empowering your employees, listening to your customers, and optimizing your processes and product offerings.

Empowering your employees

First and foremost, having “buy-in” from your employees is vital. Employee recognition can be a powerful driver of employee engagement and satisfaction. By having open conversations with employees, managers can foster an open culture and encourage high levels of performance. Coping with change is one of the most important challenges leaders face in this endeavor. More often than not, employee pushback is largely due to unfamiliarity with new technology or fear that automation will cost them their jobs.

Likewise, if employees don’t understand why the change is happening and what makes it important, it can be detrimental to morale and performance. Instead of letting hesitation creep in, empower employees to progress at their own pace, even if it’s the more fundamental first steps, such as moving to a cloud-based format.

Another major challenge in uniting a company around such an initiative is lack of communication. Leaders should educate their employees every step of the way and seek valuable feedback. Once in place, leaders must clearly define the roles and responsibilities of individuals so that they meet the goals of the transformation and help meet the needs of the organization. Let’s face it, employees are closer to the day-to-day realities of business than management teams, making their input critical to long-term success.

Success is also more likely to happen when a business elevates its workforce during the company’s digital transformation journey. One way to do this is to create continuous learning opportunities and environments on the job.

Related: Simplifying Digital Transformation for Your Small Business

Engaging your customers

Most companies only look inward when they begin their digital transformation journey. However, in today’s increasingly competitive environment, what sets a business apart is the quality of the customer experience. Customers expect a world-class experience, and they won’t shy away from taking their business elsewhere if your company is too cumbersome to interact with.

The customer is at the heart of any business improvement initiative, and a clear understanding of their role offers key insights to inform and improve your own approach.

With the majority of customer interactions occurring online, organizations have an inordinate amount of data at their fingertips. With this data, you can track patterns and identify areas for improvement, providing superior support and strengthening your customer relationships at scale. In addition, data collection can be used to improve operations, increase revenue streams, and accelerate product development.

Related: Digital transformation is a must. Here’s how the voice of the customer can help drive it forward.

Optimizing your process and product

Getting key insights from employees and customers is only part of the equation. All businesses must focus on optimizing their processes and service offerings while evolving their core business to stay current with technological advances. It’s all about changing your core business to keep up with technology. When done right, there are several benefits, including flexibility, scalability, and cost savings. Additionally, businesses can streamline processes and eliminate repetitive manual tasks.

If you are used to serving a catalog of products that rarely changes, then you need to upgrade. Focus on real business needs and current performance challenges, building on solutions that have already worked well at individual sites and can be pragmatically deployed across the network.

It’s no secret that investing in new technology can be intimidating, but not adapting is ultimately more expensive in the long run.

Related: Digital transformation means adopting a new culture. here’s how to do it

Looking ahead

Just a decade ago, digital transformation seemed like a foreign concept to many. Today, the stakes are on the table for businesses that want to stay competitive. Whether stuck in pre-strategic purgatory or under increasing pressure to deliver results, companies can become disillusioned, distracted and discouraged. Working with systems in the old, pre-digital way, there are many redundancies and areas where the time lag is so significant that it can affect your entire business.

The sooner you start investigating, investing in, and implementing new technologies, the better positioned you are to grow, improve efficiency, and achieve longevity in a rapidly changing marketplace. Digital transformation can streamline these processes to keep your business running optimally and, perhaps more critically, at the speed of the digital age.

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