The world of technology is changing fast. You can’t take advantage of all modern technology has to offer (such as data-informed decision making, competitive insights and streamlined customer experiences) if your systems, business processes and company culture are stuck in the past. To achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, you must digitally transform your business and how you approach technology to embrace the available opportunities.
Digital transformation is a journey: a path from old ways of thinking and working towards modern business processes that take advantage of new technology and available information, adapting to changes, opportunities and threats in the business environment. This journey isn’t a short-term project, it is a new course that will guide your business direction for many years. The sooner you start the journey, the sooner you will be able to reap the benefits.
Don’t let competitors move ahead of you
Your competitors know about digital transformation too. It has been one of the biggest trends in the IT industry during the past few years and company leaders know they must address it seriously if they want to remain competitive in the marketplace. Digital transformation can lead to improved operational productivity through automation, increased profitability through optimized processes and reduced waste, and better-informed decisions that enable your company to be more agile when responding to new opportunities and threats. Just be aware of the main reasons digital transformations fail.
If you act quickly, then these benefits can keep you ahead of your competitors and capture new business opportunities. As more companies digitally transform during the future, the benefits will change from competitive differentiators to baseline expectations (points of parity). If you wait for this to happen, then you will not only lose the benefits, but also your company will struggle to equal the pace of your competitors. That’s not a good situation and you should try to avoid it if you can.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
Digital transformation isn’t a destination, it’s a journey that your company will be travelling for a long time. It is not just an update of technology and systems. Digital transformation is about changing your company’s mindset and how you think about technology in the context of your business. Developing a digital transformation roadmap can help you understand the entire breadth of changes that are required and what activities must be undertaken first.
Process models that combine manual activities, system processes and the flow of data support the roadmap and enable your company to “keep operations whole” as they progress on the digital transformation journey.
Use this as an opportunity to know your customers better
Digital transformation isn’t just about operations, it is also an opportunity to transform and modernize how you interact with customers. This includes technology-enabled products and services with intelligent features that take advantage of cloud services, machine learning and the connectivity opportunities of IoT, for example. It also includes enhanced customer interaction methods that leverage your wealth of customer information: their preferences, needs, social behaviours and past interactions. Digitally transforming your business should include designing modern business processes that transform how you engage with your customers, giving them the efficient, personalized products and services they desire.
Don’t let the strategic importance of digital transformation or the magnitude of changes scare you – digital transformation is an achievable goal for any company. You must just start. Once you take the first few steps, mapping your journey with a digital transformation roadmap and modelling new technology-enabled business processes, you will start to see some results. With each step, momentum will begin to grow; you will start to see increasing benefits; and the journey will become easier. Don’t wait another day, or minute. Take that first step on your digital transformation journey today!