No one can escape noticing the impact of technology on business. There are few industries that haven’t been disrupted by technology of some sort, allowing customers to more easily gather information, check inventories, make a purchasing decision and then execute it, with little or no input from your sales staff.
So it’s not a question of whether your company needs a digital transformation, it’s a question of when the last one was and what you’re doing to prepare for the next one. Use the following five tips to keep you on the path to success.
Determine Who Owns the Digital Transformation. Here’s a hint: it may not be the CIO. According to a 2016 survey of more than 500 digital transformation strategists and executives, the CIO or CTO is actually third on the list, at 19%. At 27%, it’s not the CEO, either. The winner is the chief marketing officer, mentioned in 34% of responses.
As mentioned above, your customers are accustomed to interacting with your company and your brand in their own way. The focus should be on making those interactions intuitive, interesting and relevant to your customers. Of course, the technologists will play a critical role in selecting the right enabling technology and building/buying/deploying the appropriate linkages and APIs to maximize the reach of your new technology. But marketing may be in charge.
Scope Out the Project. Will this be a digital upgrade or a digital transformation? The former involves improving what you already have, while the latter may involve changes in workflows and processes that truly can transform your organization. Figuring this out on the front end helps you assemble the right team members, determine an implementation timeline and develop a budget.
Get the Right Buy In. I should put this sentence somewhere on this blog template, because it’s applicable in nearly every project you’ll undertake. But the first two steps can only take your company so far. Without the right buy in at the executive level and the money that approval brings, you won’t get out of the gate. The fact you need executive buy in can actually help you prioritize what’s important, what’s good to have, and what you can do without. It also helps you set a timeline, so you don’t get too ambitious, and to determine what resources you’ll need.
Prepare for Pushback. Even if your digital transformation includes rainbows and puppies, there will be those who like rainy days and others who really are cat people. We all are naturally resistant to change, especially when existing workflows will be affected. There is no magic bullet or special pill that will make the necessary change management any easier. Workers must be made to understand the reason for the changes, which is where executive buy in comes into play. Not only is this necessary, but management approves. There are a ton of change management methodologies out there – pick the one that fits best with your planned project and the culture of your company.
Know When You Need Help. A true digital transformation isn’t a plug-and-play endeavor. It takes discipline, hard work and a dedicated team to change a company’s direction and to provide the enabling technology to fuel fundamental changes to the customer experience. Your team may be up to the challenge, but it may not. Do you paint your own house or wire and hang that new ceiling fan? The important thing to remember is that it’s OK to ask for help.