Digital technology is transforming our daily lives from the moment we wake up to the time we go to sleep. It helps us become more efficient in professional and personal settings, yet, it equally helps us procrastinate. 

Digital Transformation

For the modern workplace, what is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is a process that uses technology to build more efficient business processes, impact company culture, engage employees, and improve the customer experience.

Maybe sticky notes are still your go-to task management system, but today we have an abundance of applications to increase efficiency. Let's gain some insight around digital transformation and some common roadblocks that affect the process.

Digitization vs. Digitalization

When researching how to transform your business digitally, you will most likely find the terms: "digitization" and "digitalization." With digital transformation comes a slew of this new business lexicon you may not have encountered before. 

Digitization is the process of moving things that are not digital (e.g., your sticky notes) into a digital format that can be read and organized online.

Digitalization, as defined by Gartner Glossary, "is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business."

Digitization helps you get organized. Digitalization fundamentally changes your business model for sustainable, long-term success. Both are essential pieces of a holistic strategy to transform an analog business to digital efficiency.

So how does a business begin to transform digitally?

Start With Why

Sound familiar? In a previous blog, Geoff Ables touched on how digital transformation is a journey. Before you begin a journey, you prepare. A digital journey is no different. To adequately prep your team for a major change, you need to start with why.

If you can't effectively communicate "why" something is changing or needs to change in the first place, go back to the drawing board. Stakeholder engagement and employee buy-in are essential pieces to have in place for an effective digital reinvention of your business. 

Organizational change is no small task and doesn't happen in a silo; it involves everyone. Naturally, change is an unknown, uncomfortable place for most people to consider. But, providing a firm vision helps earn the trust of your people to engage in the process.

Consider downloading our Digital "Why" Worksheet to dive deeper into this question.

Why Digital Transformation Fails

The impact of business-wide transformation ripples through every area of an organization, from employees to customers — ultimately impacting the bottom line. 

Recent research by McKinsey Global Institute reveals that more than 50% of digital transformation efforts fail to reach expected profits. Furthermore, 70% of these digital initiatives fail to achieve any established goals at all. Here are a few reasons as to why that may be the case:

1. Lack of Leadership

If C-level executives are not in agreement as to "why" a digital change necessary, the project is bound for failure. Again, start with why. Consider the predictions John Chambers, of Cisco Systems, estimates:

  • 40% of today's businesses will fail in the next ten years.

  • 70% will attempt to transform themselves digitally.

  • Only 30% of attempts succeed.

Adoption starts at the top. CEOs need to be, and in recent years have become, a driving force for digital change. Change-agile leaders have a clear purpose and inspire others to partner with them instead of resisting the inevitable. People need to see how such a significant change will benefit them before they buy-in to the vision.

2. Lack of Buy-in

If you don't inspire buy-in when it comes to a digital transformation, Good LUCK. Success relies on the shoulders of the team, not just a few players. When people are not a priority in this type of business altering project, the battle is already lost. 

As Geoff Ables says, 

if the technology is adding friction to relationships, then you're doing it wrong.

To add fuel to the fire, employees may assume their jobs will be at risk if the transformation is successful. Clear the smoke by affirming the unique contributions that employees offer to the organization. Then, change the mindset from anxiety to adoption. Engage employees as integral pieces of the bigger picture that leadership empowers them to take part in.

3. Lack of a Long-term Roadmap

A vision without a process is just an idea. Sometimes, the project can start strong with a vision and buy-in, but there is no follow-up. Who makes sure the project stays on track? If everyone is responsible, no one is responsible. 

Creating a long-term roadmap is essential. You must identify where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there. Digital transformations need a GPS or, better yet, a guide. 

Consultants, like our team at C5 Insight, help companies map out a path for success from the beginning or even restore failing CRM efforts. A plan provides clarity, timelines, action items, etc. which keeps the project accountable throughout the transformation process.

Digitally Transform Your Business with C5Insight

Transformation can happen at any scale, but digital transformation must start and end with people. If you need help strategizing how to begin this digital journey, how to write a successful roadmap or have any questions, contact our team C5 Insight today: 704-895-2500.