When it comes to digital transformation, there is no one size fits all solution. However, our friends over at This Is Milk have made it their business to help companies navigate through the process and settle on the digital transformation strategy that best suits their needs. Since identifying the best transformation strategy for your company isn’t always cut and dry, we spoke to the team of This Is Milk about what makes for an effective digital transformation.
According to the team, the makings of an effective digital transformation strategy start in always being ready to adapt. Companies must harness a culture that sees every new advance as a positive opportunity to not only make things better for themselves, but their customers as well. They must mitigate fear and embrace digital change.
“Companies need to think as digital natives do. [They need to know] how best to use digital channels to connect with customers and make their experience better. [A digital transformation should be] a seamless, omnichannel experience across channels, not just digital to digital, but offline too—a brand experience should feel the same regardless of channel. “
As we move forward in the digital age, the need for companies to implement digital transformation strategies is growing, with IDC predicting that by 2020 50% of enterprises will be employing digital transformation strategies. This applies to enterprises of all sizes, however small businesses do have a certain advantage in the transformation process.
“It’s easier for SMEs to be equipped for digital transformation given that their businesses have likely got less ‘layers’ of technology, processes and people to account for in any big change project”
This isn’t to say that small businesses don’t face their own challenges. This is Milk says that smaller companies often lack capacity for strategy and implementation, a problem that bigger companies, due to the amount of resources they possess, don’t have. These respective challenges can cause companies to implement ineffective strategies when it comes to digital transformation.
But what makes a digital transformation strategy ineffective? Well, the employees at This is Milk warn against an over-reliance on digital solutions or changing just for the sake of being digital.
“[Digital transformation] can fail if it’s driven by technology rather than people’s needs. If the purpose of the transformation isn’t communicated and if it is done in a silo. It can fail if it’s seen as a means to an end – digital transformation can’t really ever start and finish, you have to look at it as an ongoing strategy for change – a cycle of implement, learn and adapt.
This cycle requires a certain amount of transparency. The impact of the digital transformation strategy “must be measured and understood.” An efficient digital transformation also requires efficient leadership.
“When leaders don’t have sufficient skills to lead the digital transformation, employees don’t get the appropriate leadership they need to both execute and support it.”
Collaboration is fundamental in order for a business to not only transform, but remain digitally relevant as it moves through the cycle of transformation. Innovation shouldn’t be a one time byproduct of a companies digital transformation strategy, but a part of the strategy itself, facilitating disruption and adaptation. And because the cycle of digital transformation never really ends, maintaining it can be just as much work as implementing it.
“[It requires] trend watching, responsibility for constant research, watching the horizon to see what’s coming around the corner and being ready for it [as well as] challenging each other to find new and better ways of doing things, testing and accepting failure as a learning opportunity.”
Leading a company to success in the digital age requires employees to be comfortable with the chaos that is creative disruption and innovative growth. To paraphrase a mantra of Harvard Business School, you can’t be comfortable and courageous at the same time. Implementing a digital transformation strategy requires work. Maintaining it as the business environment shifts over the coming years will require more. However, implementing the proper digital solutions and platforms “through which to channel the core of your business,” will allow your company to adapt and quickly meet the needs of your customers.
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