3 ways today’s businesses are unlocking value and navigating constant digital disruption
Around 72% of digital transformation projects fail to achieve their goals. This sobering figure illustrates just how difficult it is to navigate constant digital disruption. While companies across every industry are investing feverishly in digital strategy, often resulting in bursts of innovation, many of these changes fail to stick. All too often do these experiments fail as soon as they run into periods of unexpected demand or sudden changes in customer habits.
Never has it been more important to develop an adaptable digital strategy driven by the right blend of people, process, and technology. Above all, remember that digital transformation isn’t a destination, but rather a journey of continuous improvement and adaptation. It’s not about making lots of costly and radical changes from the outset, but about finding a way to navigate the disruption and avoid making poor investment choices.
Scalability is an overused buzzword for sure. But what does it really mean, and why does it matter? Firstly, it’s not the same as business growth, but in today’s digital-first world, it’s a key enabler of growth. When businesses can scale their operations seamlessly, they can handle more sales while becoming more cost-efficient. In this article, we’ll explore the critical factors that can make that happen.
#1. Bolster your competitive advantage
Perhaps the most common reason for digital transformation initiatives to fail is that they don’t consider the most critical factor of all – the customer. A lot of digital transformations happen simply because of the belief that that’s what everyone else is doing, so your business needs to do the same to keep up. This approach doesn’t work because it isn’t customer-centric, and we’ve all heard about misinformed product or service upgrades that customers hate.
To establish and reinforce your competitive advantage, you must be able to scale operations to accommodate shifts in customer demand. This means your technology environment should be flexible and adaptable so new functions and features can be put into production as quickly as possible. This also applies to the systems your employees depend on to serve customers, such as scalable service portals and mobile platforms.
#2. Start with a top-down approach
Digital transformation requires a culture change. It’s not all about the IT department rolling out the latest shiny new upgrades and hoping everyone will take full advantage of them. Not only do your projects need a solid reasoning to support them – they also need people to champion them throughout your organisation. This will give you the solid foundation you need to scale your business now and tomorrow. Remember – digital transformation is as much about scaling your team as it is about scaling your technology.
Technology is only as effective as the people who support and use it. Establishing a forward-thinking mindset is essential for getting your team to adopt new technologies. While all digital transformations need leadership, it’s important to get buy-in from every other party concerned, whether that’s your employees, customers, investors, or partners. For example, you might run surveys or use gamification to increase engagement and feedback for your digital projects. Other examples include service catalogues, knowledgebases, mobile experiences, and virtual agents, all of which can help get employees up to speed quickly with new systems.
#3. Find ways to automate your operations
While people are the driving force behind any sustainable digital transformation project, data is the fuel. Every online interaction generates data which, when used the right way, can yield enormous insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your operations. Another great thing about data is it can automate decision-making and stop employees from getting overwhelmed by repetitive routine tasks.
There are still plenty of situations which are better off being handled by people, so employees should have time to focus on those rather than workflows which are better off being automated. For example, let’s say you have an automated workflow in place for onboarding new hires. Instead relying on slow-moving processes like in-person training and the usual back and forth with HR, you might provide an automated, repeatable process to get them up to speed quickly. Artificial intelligence and machine learning help automate operations at scale, thus enabling continuous improvement.