More than just another enterprise tech buzzword, digital transformation is driving organizations of all shapes and sizes to reevaluate business models, shift operational practices, and create efficiencies to deliver more value to customers. Read on to get Codal’s primer on how to prepare your organization to embrace digital transformation.
WHAT IS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?
Digital transformation may seem complex, but at its core, it’s a relatively simple concept. Organizations that undergo digital transformation do so by injecting cutting-edge digital technologies into their everyday business processes and operations. The goal of doing so is to drive efficiencies, solve challenges, alleviate pain points, and create superior customer experiences. To put it simply, digital transformation uses technology to help companies do more with less.
Across verticals, digital transformation is helping numerous companies stay competitive in the age of rapid technological innovation. Companies that complete a digital transformation are more flexible and agile than their competitors who still use outdated systems and tools. By incorporating technologies like the cloud, internet of things (IoT), advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and more, companies are delivering more value to customers—and staying competitive as a result.
But digital transformation entails so much more than just swapping out old technology for new. Instead, it means a broad cultural shift towards experimentation and challenging the status quo. Organizations that undergo digital transformation commit to continuous innovation, meaning they constantly revisit tools and practices—and even established business models and processes—to ensure that they are meeting the needs of their customers.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?
It’s completely normal for companies of all shapes and sizes to face some challenges on the road to digital transformation. As mentioned above, digital transformation is not just technology-focused, but people-focused as well. People can be unpredictable and resistant to change, so digital transformation is just as much about the tools as it is about managing expectations and getting buy-in from stakeholders across the organization. Let’s look at some of the typical challenges companies run into when going through digital transformation.
The one thing on the top of every executive’s mind when they consider undergoing a digital transformation: How much is this going to cost? It’s true, these projects have a massive scale and tend to be very expensive. Between purchasing and onboarding all new technology tools, training staff, revamping policies and procedures, and bringing on a consulting organization to help with the transition, digital transformation projects can be costly. But it’s important to examine—from a leadership perspective—what your company stands to gain by undergoing a digital transformation. Consider how putting in the time, money, and effort in the short- and medium-term can help drive your company’s goals in the long-run. Digital transformation projects are all about thinking big picture, and understanding how they will ultimately create cost savings down the road can make the upfront investment seem well worth it.
LACK OF CUSTOMER INSIGHTS
For many companies, trying to meet their customers’ needs is like trying to hit a moving target. Customers can be fickle and demanding, and their priorities can shift at the drop of a hat. The goal of digital transformation is ultimately to create more value for your customers, and you can’t achieve that without understanding where they are coming from.
Before undergoing a massive digital transformation, it’s imperative to talk directly to your existing customers and conduct market research to get an understanding of their wants, needs, and desires—as well as what your competition is offering. This valuable insight will inform the entire nature of your digital transformation and ensure you get a solid return on investment (ROI) from your efforts.
LACK OF IN-HOUSE RESOURCES
Digital transformation projects demand dedicated teams to oversee their technical, change management, and leadership components. It’s an incredibly involved process that can take significant resources, and many companies don’t have any manpower to spare. But that should not stand in the way of any organization. Thankfully, there are numerous consulting firms and digital transformation experts—like Codal—that can be brought in to see the project from start to finish.
Bringing in outside resources can help your organization focus on its day-to-day business while getting the perspective of seasoned experts who can steer a project through any challenges and hurdles. No company should feel pressure to complete large-scale digital transformation initiatives internally. With the wealth of knowledge out there, it’s worth bringing in outside help.
QUESTIONS TO ADDRESS BEFORE STARTING A DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION PROJECT
Establishing the “why” of your digital transformation is essential to its success. This means understanding your long-term business needs, priorities, and goals—and how embracing digital transformation will meet or exceed them. Again, the main goal here is to deliver added value to your customers, so having a firm understanding of their perspectives is critical as well. Let’s examine some of the key questions organizations should consider before taking on a digital transformation.
WHERE DO WE WANT OUR BUSINESS TO BE IN 5 YEARS?
Get a handle on your long-term goals and how you see your business succeeding in comparison to your competitors.
HOW DO WE GET THERE?
Determine what needs to happen internally to meet your long-term goals, including any staff and resource requirements.
WHAT’S SLOWING US DOWN?
Identify the process, procedures, practices, tools, technologies, and more that are hindering your progress.
WHAT TECHNOLOGIES DO WE NEED TO IMPLEMENT?
Determine what tools will help you streamline processes and procedures, save your employees’ time, and deliver more value to your customers.
DO WE NEED TO BRING IN OUTSIDE HELP?
As discussed above, it can be extremely beneficial to bring in outside consultants to guide your digital transformation. Consider if this is feasible for your business.
A DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION SUCCESS STORY
As a full-scale design and development agency, Codal was approached by Charles Schwab to completely redesign the company’s internal compliance technologies platform, SchwabCT, and remain competitive in the rapidly digitizing financial sector.
Overall, Codal transformed the outdated, complex technology into an extremely intuitive, user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing web application. Codal was able to streamline SchwabCT by revamping the platform’s information architecture, consolidating over 550 separate screens into seven templates.