It is no longer news that this crisis is acting as a catalyst for economic, societal, individual, and corporate change, on a scale that has not been seen since the Second World War.
The scale and velocity at which things are changing are shining a bright light on the fact that organisations are facing a once-in-a-generation transformation. Despite the ambiguity about what the future holds, it’s evident that the future is digital.
The pandemic presents diverse challenges for businesses across all sectors and geographies. A lot of organisations have immediately had to restructure from activities focused on growth, branding, business transformation and digitalisation, to activities focused on the crucial steps needed to ensure business resilience and continuity.
While this change is understandable, the opportunity now is not only to continue to focus on business continuity but to also consider how the future business model needs to look like to ensure you remain competitive post-crisis.
The Challenges and Opportunities Posed By the Pandemic
Here are some of the challenges posed by the pandemic:
- The inability of employees to work effectively from home
- Disruptions of business processes and cash flow
- Increase in cyber threats
- Supply chain disruptions
- Travel restrictions for directors unable to attend board meetings
- Inability to physically engage and sell to customers
As challenges continue to mount, several opportunities have opened up to creative businesses owners. Some of these include:
- New opportunities in online marketing and business development.
- Open possibility of a remote working structure
- Diversification into new markets
- Improved ability of corporates for long-distance collaborative work
- Full recognition of the value of digital transformation and information technology among all employees
A look at the above challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic makes it obvious that organisations that intend to build a model that is resilient to future unpredictable downturns need to adjust their thoughts and actions towards leveraging technology and digital capabilities strategically and make investments aimed at improving their operating models.
Based on this fact, the team at ZoneTech Park hosted a webinar that helps business leaders understand how they can go about fast-tracking their digital transformation (Check the video below).
Even with the zeal to implement a digital transformation, some of these initiatives fall flat on their backs and never take off.
Why Digital Transformation Initiatives Fail
Research has shown that a staggering 70% of digital transformation initiatives fail. According to a study carried out by Harvard Business Review, business organisations lost close to 900 billion dollars in 2018 alone due to failed digital transformation initiatives.
Therefore while fast-tracking your business’s digital transformation, it is essential to understand how to ensure that it is successful. Here are some reasons why digital transformation initiatives fail and how to avoid them:
Adopting Digital Transformation For The Sake Of It
In this era where digital transformation is crucial to business survival, organisations are more likely to implement it just because it is the latest buzzword and other businesses are doing it.
This is a massive error that several organisations fall into. To achieve a successful digital transformation, organisations need to plan effectively, get buy-in from staff company-wide, set SMART goals, build a roadmap, and then embark on the digital transformation journey.
Not Investing In Experiences That Customers and Clients Want
Successful digital transformation initiatives are not built around shiny objects. Successful digital transformation initiatives deliver exceptional value to customers. Approach digital transformation initiatives from your client’s point of view. What will truly satisfy a need as well as delight and support a client along the customer journey?
Also, use both quantitative and qualitative methods to plan your digital transformation and validate your hypothesis through:
- Customer analytics
- Customer surveys
- Customer journeys
- Proof of concept before a broader rollout
Failure to Get Business Managers Buy-In
Understanding and consenting to the concept and vision for your organisation’s digital transformation is not the same as committing to ensuring that the initiative succeeds.
Business leaders can have meetings and agree on the need for digital transformation; however, if they don’t commit to the necessary change, the initiative is bound to fail.
Failure to Realise That Digital Transformation Is a Continuous Process
Digital transformation is precisely what its name implies: it is a transformation. It is meant to be a continuous, enduring and lasting change. And the only way to sustain this level of change and cultural shift is to adopt a mindset that repeatedly seeks transformational opportunities.
Lack of Proper Change Management Initiatives
When venturing into digital transformation, business leaders need to ensure that the organisation is ready for this scale of change. Being change-ready goes way beyond being able to leverage new tools and processes.
Organisations must be ready to adopt the intended operation model, and measures must be put in place to ensure that the digital transformation initiative does not alter the existing company culture.
A foundation for any successful change is effective communication, and this should be the organisation’s top priority, along with ensuring the right structure and approach to become more proactive, deliberate and scalable to any opportunities and challenges that may result from this change.
Lack of Talents and Required Skills
One of the primary reasons for the failure of digital transformation initiatives is the lack of competent tech talents to drive digital transformation initiatives. Ensure that you seek the right people with the required skills to implement your digital transformation initiatives.
Reflective Questions You Must Answer Before Embarking On a Digital Transformation Initiatives
Digital transformation is not an activity that your business should run headlong into. You need to have a clear perspective and carefully identify what areas your business can improve digitally, to help your organisation thrive in the new normal, and proof your organisation against future downturns.
Drawing on our experience and research into organisations that are moving ahead, we believe that business leaders should ask the following questions before embarking on their digital transformation initiatives:
- Do you have a clear view of where the value is going to be and a road map that will get you there?
- What role should digital transformation have in helping you accelerate your entry into new markets or access new customers?
- How can you lock in the benefits of a more agile operating model to increase the productivity of your business?
- How should you rethink your talent strategy so that you have the people you need when the digital transformation recovery starts?
- What investments are the most necessary to create a technology environment that will allow your company to thrive in the next normal?
How to Fast-Track Your Organisation’s Digital Transformation
Benchmark against Industry Standards
Trying to “Reinvent the wheel” is only going to cost you more resources and time. Invest in research to understand the model top organisations operating in your sector leverage, and try to do some things better than they already do.
If there is an inclination toward certain platforms, then take into consideration those possibilities first. Today, it has become easier to learn about all the accessible and available options.
Let these options guide you. Centre your selection process on crucial parameters such as delivery speed, offered features, alignment to your organisation’s needs, and cost.
Empower Employees with Collaboration and Communication
The use of collaboration and communication-enabled tools in an organisation is elemental to some. Still, for companies that have yet to integrate modern communication tools, it has become important to ensure business continuity.
Modern communication tools run the spectrum from chat, email, mobile access, document sharing, video and more, and enable employees to communicate quickly and efficiently, whether under one roof or at different locations.
Without present-day communication tools in place, your organisation is selling itself short on one of its most valuable assets—the power of collective human intelligence.
If your organisation already uses modern-day communication tools, your next step should be to leverage these tools to decentralise decision making. This gives people in your company access to information formerly under wraps, aid productivity and engagement, and improve decision-making at every level.
Engage Customers with a Seamless Experience
If Customer is King, Customer Experience is the Kingdom. The pandemic has only just shined a bright light on the fact that the quality of customer experience takes more than just a physical interaction with your customer service division.
Today, customer experience implies giving the customer control over their buying experience and empowering them to do business with ease.
New data suggests that in 2020, organisations should ensure that customers can unearth answers to their questions using self-service tools.
Recent research has shown that 50% of customers think it is necessary to solve product or service issues themselves, and 70% expect a company’s website to include a self-service application.
These customer requests can mean providing a self-service portal that helps with educating your customers or facilitates sales. This could also mean using mobile applications, chatbots, and other artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives to proactively make information available to your customers before they need to seek it.
To create a customer-centric buying or service experience, there is a need to organise your data. The only way to devise self-service portals is to have your customer’s information and data compiled, managed and analysed.
Look at this information and your data management options. If that has already been done, it is time to consider a “data estate,” which will handle more complicated information from diverse sources, including data gotten from the Internet.
Optimise Operations by Bridging People and Data
No matter your industry, every organisation has operations that need to be more efficient, scalable and innovative, especially when we consider how instrumental operations are to aiding and guaranteeing an exceptional customer experience. To revamp your operations department, bridge your people and data, instead of having them operate in silos.
There are many ways through which this gap can be bridged. If you can realise all of them, your company will move ahead of your competitions’ internal operations in the areas of cost, revenue and security benefits.
- Agility—Implement changes swiftly and improve extended workflows.
- Scale—Scale more effectively and efficiently and reach people across multiple platforms.
- Security—Resolve security threats and safeguard your company’s reputation and IP
- Innovation—Customise app experiences and devise line-of-business (LOB) apps
Organisations that have improved their operations department through the power of agility, scale, security and innovation have successfully linked their people and data, and have realised huge benefits including shrinking individual costs by up to 90% and increasing revenue up to 37% faster.
Improving the efficiency of your operations is a custom challenge that depends on the sector you operate in, as well as how far you have gone in your digital transformation journey.
To find out what your next step should be when it comes to improving your operations digitally, consult the tech consultants at ZoneTech Park for actionable insights and steps. The team will assess your IT infrastructure, and develop proposals on how you can effectively streamline unnecessary processes and capabilities, and provide details on what you need to do next.
Transform your Products with Technology Infrastructure
Transforming your organisation’s products with technology infrastructure goes concurrently with the customer experience. If you think you don’t have a product or there is no way for you to innovate your product, think again.
Here’s an example we can all relate to – Domino’s Pizza is a product that there’s seemingly no way to make better—pizza on its own has been perfect since the 1900s. However, Domino’s looked to technology and discovered ways to improve on how pizza is ordered, tracked, delivered and ordered again.
As an international company, they built a solid foundation of communication and collaboration between their global partners. They then created a seamless customer experience that is aided by optimised digital operations.
This is one of several examples that demonstrates how all of these elements collaborate to make a difference. It also validates how you don’t necessarily have to innovate your product, but instead, your operations and delivery methods, to lead in your industry.
And, if innovating your delivery method costs more, keep in mind that research has verified that 86% of buyers will pay more for better customer experience.
Digital transformation might not provide a solution to all evils. Still, it is one of the best ways for businesses to cross the hurdles better ahead, proof themselves against unanticipated circumstances, and remodel themselves in a new reality.
We have not seen the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, nor do we know exactly when things will return to normal. Still, things will, and the business leaders who can best prepare their businesses adequately for a more digital future will give their organisations the best chance for a brighter future.
Schedule a consultation with the team of experts at ZoneTech Park to chart a course of action to build a sustainable, digitally transformed business.