In the COVID-19 era, digital transformation of businesses are well underway. Technology can expedite processes, provide new ways to reach customers, and make it easier to adapt to market changes.
In theory, Digital Transformation makes a business more efficient and profitable. The caveat – when executed correctly. Even as businesses have understood the importance of going ‘Digital’, they are faced with a dilemma- Should the Digital Transformation journey start with technology or people?
While digital transformation aims to improve the customer experience—often with the use of new digital processes and tools—it requires employees’ buy-in for change and adaptation. Contrary to popular belief, digital transformation is less about technology and more about people. People drive the transformation process.
Technology merely enables different ways of working for the organisation’s people to serve its customers. Unfortunately, few companies realise these benefits as a majority of enterprise digital transformation projects fail. Companies spent $1.3 trillion on digital transformation in 2019, and nearly 70 percent of it was wasted, according to research published in Harvard Business Review.
Companies that take up a digital business transformation initiative will need to pay close attention to the following. The first and the obvious- integrate digital technology into every aspect of the business. Then there is the aspect of changing the way a business operates – by modifying or creating new processes and customer experiences. Finally, there is the element of fostering a culture that embraces innovation and change.
Where to begin the change?
This question takes centre stage in almost every discussion around digital transformation.
“Change often starts from within, and the people are what makes the core of an organization. Even the best state-of-art technology will be wasted when paired with employees who are ill-equipped to embrace digital transformation. It is thus critical that business leaders ensure their digital transformation strategy remains people-centric, and that employees are given the necessary training they need, for long-term sustainability.” Masashige Sakai, General Manager, KCCS Mobile Engineering Co., Ltd. (a Kyocera company).
Companies must define a clear vision of what technologies they want in the near future and how it will help the company to generate desired outcomes. Technology transformation makes the organisation agile, fast, and helps to cut costs by optimizing the time to output.
Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff put it this way. “Every digital transformation is going to begin and end with the customer, and I can see that in the minds of every CEO I talk to.”
Technology transformation is a subset of digital transformation however not all digital transformations require tech transformation as sometimes optimizing exiting processes does the trick. Does digital transformation matter?
Change & More Change
Thirty years ago, companies had the luxury of taking things slowly. That’s no longer the case. Technology is rapidly changing, so companies need to be agile enough to adapt. This adaptation also comes with security challenges.
Case in point- the year 2021 saw a record number of attacks. https://cybersecurity.w.media/ransomware-attacks-to-get-more-sophisticated-in-2022/
In effect, companies of all sizes are facing a double whammy. On the one hand they have to adopt digital and on the other they are faced with malicious threats. In such a backdrop, digital transformation needs to be undertaken with prioritisation and clear objectives.
“DX starts with a business imperative. As with any transformation, there are people, process and technology but without significant changes driving the organization none of this would come about,” opines Mel Migriño, Chief Information Security Officer, Bayad.
Enterprise digital transformation is not about doing it once and saying ‘that’s it’. It’s a continuous process and mindset for organisations. CIOs and IT teams should be continually evaluating and testing new technologies and digital transformation trends to see what could add value to the company throughout their digital transformation journey.
Digital transformation benefits
Efficiency and productivity are the main benefits of digital transformation, but changing the way you do business unlocks the potential for customer experience, operations, and employee engagement. The journey to digital transformation is a much more complex exercise towards a foundational change in how we deliver service and value to our customers.
It requires engagement and active participation from everyone throughout the company. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to accelerate the necessity for driving Digital Transformation across companies of all sizes. Organizations are embracing remote work & quickly modifying their day-to-day business operations to match the new normal and keep up with new digital transformation trends.
The key takeaway is that if you don’t develop a digital transformation strategy, your business will fail. The existing assumption is that to digitally transform a company, you need to adopt the latest technologies.
While this is partly correct, it doesn’t tell the whole story—what has to change isn’t only technology, but also how you organise, operate, and behave as an organisation, according to Deloitte. Ultimately, digital transformation is just as much about people and organisational change as it is about the specific technologies being used.
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