Digital transformation (DX) will help keep your business from stagnating, but it isn’t implemented the same across the board. Rather, implementing DX varies from company to company. That said, there are common factors among companies who successfully realize their DX goals:
- Acting quickly
- The ability to utilize data to drive decision-making and prioritization
- Openness to change
- The ability to provide customers with what they want early and often
This article will cover strategies on how you can incorporate these seemingly disparate concepts into an actionable digital transformation plan for your organization. This is key to balancing company stability with the rapid innovation that coincides with DX.
Shorten Your Outlook
Whereas companies once planned their strategies on a three- to five-year timeline, this is nowhere near quick enough today. The speed of digital can be up to five times faster than traditional business, which means that you should establish short-term goals in the next 6-12 months. Planning too far ahead might, ironically, cause your organization to stagnate compared to peers. For instance, focusing too far in the future might result in slowly implementing solutions that may be obsolete as early as next year while simultaneously not providing existing customers with what they want now and in the near future.
Use Big Data
When the timeline for your strategy is measured in terms of months instead of years, you don’t have time for traditional Research and Development (R&D) cycles. However, you don’t want to implement initiatives blindly either. This is where Big Data becomes very useful. Rather than focusing on what you don’t know, take advantage of the information streams coming in from your customers and treat your operations as a living lab, so to speak. Analytics, if used correctly, can be an asset that drives real increases in value and revenue.
Change Your Culture
You can make as many changes as you want, but if your organization isn’t open to change itself, no amount of strategy can help you succeed. DX isn’t merely a change in the tools you use to meet your goals; it’s a move toward using a completely different method to meet the needs of your customers. One of the key components is speed, and it won’t take many resistors to create enough friction to slow down your organization’s response to customer demands. To minimize this, it’s important for management to get as much employee buy-in as possible and to ensure they know that the benefits from change outweigh the disruption associated with tearing down internal silos and working cross-functionally.
Luckily, most employees see the benefit of DX, even though they acknowledge that it comes with a major shift in the way things are done within their organization. What they don’t like, however, is a lack of strategy (whether perceived or otherwise) and the attempt to do too much at once. As such, working with well-defined, well-publicized directives and prioritizing actions (instead of targeting everything all at once) are key ways in which you can bring your staff on board.
Leverage Your Strengths
Startups and other newly-launched businesses have the advantage of choosing tools and implementing workflows unencumbered by historical precedent. These organizations can choose to be agile from the get-go, which gives them some advantages when it comes to disrupting the marketplace, offering consumers what they want, and catering to diverse or quickly-changing tastes.
However, more traditional companies hoping to remain competitive in the modern marketplace need not despair. They can leverage their existing strengths, which include brand recognition, existing customer relationships, and niche products and services. These are all things that startups don’t necessarily have, so traditional businesses, by capitalizing on the fact that these are areas where they don’t have to work as hard, can level the playing field against their new competitors.
Adapt to the Times
We’ve talked quite a bit about changing to meet your customers’ desires, but we haven’t really covered what that means. Unfortunately, this isn’t an area where we can offer one-size-fits-all solutions. Adaptation will vary from company to company, so succeeding in this area requires creative and cross-functional collaboration to deliver innovative, working products to the marketplace (such as Adobe’s move from selling physical products to a cloud-based option).
The tools you use are important, so don’t forget to devote some time to choosing those that are right for you and are built to deliver value for companies undergoing digital transformation. For example, Rigor not only provides valuable insight into your customer’s experience, but it also helps businesses prioritize the digital experience through enabling collaboration. Whereas previously defect identification and resolution might be siloed, with integrations into tools like JIRA, the ability to share defects, and assign defect resolution by job role, Rigor gives teams necessary tools to prioritize and fix bugs with ease. Look for tools that help maximize your efficiency, integrate into current ways of working, and allow the ability to scale with your organization.
Keep an eye on your competitors and any rising trends in your marketplace, but most important, use data from your analytics streams to identify anything that demands your response, such as a change in technology or rapid adoption of a new device. Creativity is of the utmost importance when developing your strategy in this area, and this is one area that is most positively impacted when you reduce siloing and increase the number of cross-functional teams.
Creating and implementing a cohesive, successful strategy for digital transformation requires balancing the competing needs of seemingly disparate factors, including the abilities to act quickly, utilize big data, change, and providing customers with what they want when they want it.
We know that DX can seem overwhelming, but we are here to help. Learn more about how we enable digital transformation or contact a member of our team to see how you can leverage our experience to help make this transformation a successful one.
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