It may seem counterintuitive, but as a business leader who's interested in driving digital transformation, you need to focus on action steps rather than simply technologies themselves. To truly drive a digital shift, your entire organization must be on the same page while embracing change (in many ways) together. And while the particular steps and skills that are required for successful digital transformation may vary, a solid set must still be upheld for a digital shift to occur.
So, if you're a business leader who wants to drive a digital shift, make sure that, before anything else, you define why digital transformation is necessary for you. In doing so, you'll better understand how to take the action steps required to achieve your transformation goals and introduce scalable growth into your organization. To that end, let's explore the most imperative skills necessary to drive digital transformation that is successful in the long term.
Before we go any further, let's quickly cover what digital transformation is, exactly. Digital transformation, at its core, is the implementation of digital tools, technologies, business models, and platforms that all come together to establish differentiators that make organizations such as yours more competitive. As a strategy, digital transformation demands an emphasis on outcomes rather than simply tools and tech -- these things are simply the catalysts that help drive a true, long-lasting digital shift.
Typically, businesses double down on digital transformation in the hopes of increasing revenue and mitigating potential risks. In the context of learning and development, the strategy of digital transformation is no novelty, but it's accelerated rapidly in the wake of the pandemic thanks to an ever-changing business landscape and the need for businesses to connect their employees and customers with digitization.
As a business leader, one of the most difficult aspects of cultivating digital change is getting all of your employees on board with it. Everyone needs to be on the same page and willing to accept - and wholeheartedly embrace - digital transformation. This is critical because, if people feel like they aren't completely aware of why and how you're driving digital transformation throughout your organization, they'll be much more likely to feel hesitant to become part of something new and exciting together.
Part of that excitement stems from the opportunity for everyone to explore potential new technologies, platforms, and networks in the spirit of curiosity and open-mindedness. Employees who are excited about digital transformation and curious as to what may be in store will be more amenable toward being asked for their opinions on how they feel digital transformation should occur; they'll also feel like their answers matter in the grand scheme of things as you redefine a digitized workplace culture.
To properly lay the groundwork for digital change, you must evaluate and communicate what works and what doesn’t – not just for your customers, but for your employees, staff, and stakeholders. It may be worthwhile to consider how businesses in industries different from your own have facilitated this type of open and honest communication; for example, local dental offices can communicate with patients via direct messaging and with their teams via team chat. These methods of communication are successful because they've proven reliable and easy to use for both customers and employees.
With digital transformation comes the exploration of exciting new tools, technologies, platforms, networks, and systems. This exploration makes it easier to optimize and streamline the experience of your customers, and certain technologies like AI/ML can go a long way toward reducing costs and accelerating processes that you can scale. This is when using something like business process management software (BPM) comes in handy.
If you're trying to accelerate processes that you repeat and that you need to scale, you need a tool that can help you analyze and update the core processes that drive your business. BPM software allows you to evaluate the different processes you use and identify areas for improvement. In doing so, you can quickly improve the efficiency and efficacy of your business.
It's also important that you leverage design thinking to arrive at new processes that address the main needs of your customers and employees. If you're designing - or redesigning - your business's processes, it's important to consider more than just the mechanics behind your processes; consider how the process benefits your customer experience and how that process can be reworked to provide even greater benefits.
As you come to the end of your process designs and redesigns, you'll begin to understand what was successful - and what wasn't - when introducing your changes to customers and employees. It's generally a good idea to hold some reviews and solicit organization-wide opinions that can inform your future decisions. During your open forums, discussing your results and deciding what your biggest lessons learned were can grant you insight into what to double down on and what to abandon in terms of process designs and redesigns. Once you've settled on what you're scrapping and what you're moving forward with, you can continue to tweak your processes to better address employee, customer, and stakeholder requirements.
One final thing to remember: don't forget to celebrate and scale. Digital transformation is never really over -- it's up to you to look toward the future for your next big change. With that said, you should take the opportunity to breathe and acknowledge that you successfully piloted changes that made positive impacts.
Give some words of encouragement to the teams that were involved in your piloting, and maybe consider holding some award ceremonies for team members who significantly stood out. As you shift your focus back toward scaling your pilot results, make sure you have the right tools to keep scaling as you implement your digital transformation efforts.
Making a big shift requires your entire organization to be on the same page, embracing change (in many ways) together. While the steps and skills needed for success will vary in nuance from company to company, there is a solid set that must be upheld to make a successful digital shift.
Before anything else, define why a digital transformation is necessary for you –you’ll better understand how to take appropriate steps to meet new goals and invite scalable growth.
Get your people on board with embracing change by making it less scary and more about being part of something exciting together. Explore potential new tech, networks, and platforms with curiosity and an open mind, asking for opinions when needed to determine your best options.
No matter what your process looks like, it’s critical that as you redesign and redefine your digital sphere, you evaluate and communicate about what works and what doesn’t – not just for your customers, but for your employees, staff, and stakeholders.