The Challenges of Digital Transformation

It is no secret that the world of business is changing. 

The digital revolution has made it easier than ever before to run a company. But, on the other hand, some aspects are now more difficult, because you have to handle more moving parts at one time than ever before- everything from software and hardware to team and customer experience, marketing and sales.

With the rapid pace of change, it’s easy to get left behind and find yourself outcompeted in the market by a newer generation of competitor or substitute.  Here are some tips for overcoming these challenges successfully so your company will thrive in this changing market:

1) Be willing to change with the times; 2) Realize that success really does depend on how well you’re able to embrace change; 3) Accept that mistakes happen, but learn from them; 4) Strive for continuous improvement (remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day.)

Along with all of this, communication is key. If you are running your business out of an office it can be hard to communicate with everyone at once – for example, if you have employees spread across the world. With communication comes transparency and trust from your team – two things that will be vital when working together to overcome these challenges. 

It is also critically important to have a plan for overcoming these challenges – creating a document that specifies your company’s vision for what its future should look like and how it should use technology to deliver on your products and services, plus the steps you need to take to get there.

If your company can embrace change and adapt to new technologies with time, then not only will it survive the digital revolution but excel in it as well.

What is digital transformation and why does it matter?

What do we mean by “Digital Transformation“?  It’s a kind of umbrella term that means replacing manual processes, or joining them with technology to make the overall process of running any kind of operation faster, less costly and more closely-aligned to what your customers want either from the physical product or service experience, or the surrounding aspects like the way you invoice and can produce documentation post-transaction.

People and companies the world over are shifting their focus towards being mobile-first, meaning that the primary interaction with a product or service purchase will be on a mobile device, not a PC, a phone call or in-person visit. As more people use these devices over traditional computers, businesses will have to find a way to keep up with the change.

The necessity of business transformation stems from the fact that it is beneficial for businesses to keep up with the changing needs of customers who are using technology to shop around before making their final purchase. Businesses can satisfy customers by finding ways, through digital means ,to make shopping more convenient. Digital transformation is about using technology to create a smoother shopping experience, rather than just selling products and services.

Digital transformation is often cited as one of the biggest trends in the business world today. What worked yesterday is unlikely to work into the future.  It’s not enough for businesses to survive – they have to adapt their strategies so they can gain market share from others who are slow to adapt or refuse to change with the times.

Although there have been many cases where companies tried digital transformation and ultimately failed, those who embrace change are more likely to see success in this rapidly changing world.

The challenges of digital transformation 

There are many challenges that businesses will face during the process of digital transformation. The rapid pace at which technology is changing makes it difficult for businesses to focus on making sure you’re pitching your transformation efforts at the right target.  There are some well-known failures to transform fast enough.  Kodak is the best example:

Kodak invented the digital camera, but failed to appreciate the enormity of their invention.  So much of their business was tied up in the processing of film that they did not appreciate that with just a few technology generations digital photography would eclipse their primary product set.  They didn’t change fast enough and ended up filing for bankruptcy in 2012.  The bankruptcy provided the company time to adapt and now it’s a leader in flexible printing, but it was a painful lesson.

Then there’s Blockbuster.  

It could be argued that Blockbuster was one of the biggest failures in business history due to its inability (or not wanting) to change with how people were watching movies. From Netflix creating an easier way for consumers to watch content whenever they wanted, or simply using YouTube as another option instead of renting DVDs from the store, Blockbuster was falling behind its competitors. It was finally put out of business in 2013.

Whether the failure to digitally transform was technology-based or institutional inertia (because a substantial amount of the revenue Blockbuster made was in charging its customers late fees), the fact is that a failure to keep up with the offering from rivals spelt the end for the global brand.

In addition to being slow to adapt, businesses have to find ways to create a seamless experience for customers who are using digital devices over traditional ones. This means making sure applications are mobile-friendly, websites are compatible with multiple devices and constantly tested for usability and uptime, and all of the features customers expect from doing business online are available to them.

It’s a mindset too

Business transformation is not just about using technology – it’s also about becoming an agile company that can quickly adapt to market conditions, and even forecast future consumer demands. Digital transformation requires companies to become good at gathering data, analyzing it, and then making changes based on what they learn through this data. This approach requires a shift in the way people view the scope of digital transformation – instead of viewing it solely as a technological change, organisations can get better results by accepting that change is constant and constantly looking for ways to adapt their offering.

If you are making changes because technology is forcing them upon you, it will be much harder to keep up because this approach is reactive and lacks long-term vision. When companies focus on how they can change for the better based on what data tells them, many benefits can be realised during digital transformations:

For example, by seeking extra data from social media network interactions, businesses can figure out what their customers want more of (or different) and then develop new products or services that meet these needs. Alternatively, if the business finds that there’s a certain demographic that isn’t buying their products as often as other demographics, then it needs to find ways to understand those consumers’ needs. Then perhaps, changing some aspects of their marketing would be useful to help them reach these consumers. By using an agile approach, it is possible to achieve digital transformation successfully in any industry.

While technology may be the driving force behind digital transformation, businesses still need people who can make changes happen and take their company where they want to go. That’s why so many companies are hiring Chief Digital Officers – they’re the ones who understand how technology works and how it will affect your business and your customers in positive ways. 

How to overcome these challenges successfully so your company will thrive in this changing market.

Also see: Bitcoin Revolution Guide You Need to Know

As more and more industries are being affected by the digital transformation, it is important for companies to understand what they can do to overcome these challenges successfully so that their company will thrive in this changing world. 

Here are 6 tips you can use to get started –

1) Be proactive. Don’t wait until changes come knocking on your door. If you understand the implications of digital transformation, take steps now to ensure your organization stays afloat in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

2) Develop a strategy that aligns with your organization’s vision and culture. Ensure that your employees are on board with the changes that are happening, and create a plan for how you’ll go about transforming while still meeting business needs.

3) Have enough bandwidth in your organization. What do we mean by this? Designate the responsibilities of different positions throughout your company because digital transformation can quickly overwhelm an organization if there’s not enough support staff to handle it all.

4) Embrace change. By doing this, you’ll make sure that you keep up with what consumers are looking for in their online experience and how they expect things to be done in a timely manner.

5) Stay ahead of your competition. Changing mindset to expect that change is constant and necessary means you will be well-placed to close any current gap between your offering and your competitors’.  Even if your competition is in front of you, always remember – in order to stay ahead, you need to keep changing …

6) Measure your results. What’s the point of trying a new strategy if you don’t have any proof that it works? By measuring your results, you can determine what went well and what could be improved upon next time.

In conclusion, digital transformation is already changing, and will continue to change, how businesses operate in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace. While many people might believe that this change is only about customers having access to more technology, we assure you that it actually requires a lot of hard work from companies who want to keep up with a plethora of changing wants in the market. Now get out there and lead your organization on a path towards success!