Three steps to an effective digital transformation
Three steps to an effective digital transformation
Insight

Three steps to an effective digital transformation

Drive a successful digital transformation to stay competitive and disrupt your industry through trust, self-awareness, and positivity.

Continuous technological advancement is not only changing daily life for people around the world but also rapidly changing the competitive landscapes in which businesses operate. For business leaders, resilience training and change management are no longer sufficient. Companies need to embrace digital transformation with the understanding that, for many, if you’re not a disruptor, you’re likely being disrupted.

Although digital transformation can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the process typically includes the following three foundational steps:

1. Trust your people

While technology is instrumental in any digital endeavor, a company’s workforce holds the key to its success or failure. People are a company’s most valuable asset; they know the needs and pain points of customers, and equally important, they know their own strengths and weaknesses. Their insights and experiences must be leveraged to ensure the company’s transformation process is custom-fitted for the organization’s unique needs and objectives, and not some generic vision. 

Change efforts are most successful when all employees “own” the decisions. 

2. Build self-awareness by addressing the tough questions

Transformation does not necessarily require wholesale change. These processes are really about doing the hard work of introspection and charting out forward paths. 

Companies that take the courageous step of removing all blinders to their respective realities can produce real insights. To do so, they will need to honestly answer a set of vital questions, including:

  • What do we do well? What could we improve upon?
  • Are there fundamental problems or challenges that we’ve ignored?
  • Are we soliciting feedback from our stakeholders? Are we listening to that feedback?
  • Who do we want to be moving forward? Do we have a roadmap for getting there?
  • How can a digital transformation drive growth?

3. Stay “positive”

With engaged employees, a self-aware company can successfully undertake its digital transformation by following several key tenets:

  • Celebrate all wins. Too many organizations pursuing digital transformation—or other large changes—may have to navigate the vortex of fatigue. For any large projects, set short as well as long-term goals, and recognize when benchmarks and objectives are reached. This will help maintain team morale, as well as demonstrate value for any investments made, while also helping to keep the C-suite engaged and on board.
  • Communicate openly. To secure and maintain buy-in and confidence around digital transformation efforts, it is imperative that companies communicate openly and actively with stakeholders. Whether via your company’s website, intranet, social media, newsletters, or other channels, keep people in the loop with what you’re planning, and per the bullet above, let them celebrate your wins with you to build a groundswell!
  • Let go of the past. Don’t let legacy processes, investments, and technologies impede transformation. We should never flippantly dismiss what made us successful in the past, but neither should we indiscriminately hold onto things. Don’t be afraid to let go and move in a positive direction.
  • Prioritize the transformation: If you determine that digital transformation is necessary, don’t discount or shortchange that process. Allocate resources, including people, to the transformation initiative to ensure that the process receives the attention and support it requires and deserves.

Change is never easy, but it is achievable by following the principles shared here. Digital transformation is a journey, not a precise destination, and it will be different for every company. Learn more on how to become a future-ready digital leader with our recently released Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey 2019.