What Actually Is Digital Transformation?

May 15, 2023
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I get asked this question A LOT. When people hear 'digital' their minds immediately jump to social media and marketing, but digital transformation is very different ... and it should be something that every organisation, of every size, is actively engaged in. Why? Well, Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder) sums it up much better than I could (and probably has a teeny bit more influence than I do too...):

"There is no alternative to digital transformation. Visionary companies will carve out new strategic options for themselves — those that don’t adapt, will fail."

So what actually is it, I hear you cry. In the most succinct possible definition, it's the process by which companies embed technologies throughout their organisation to drive fundamental change. Successful implementation should see improvements across the board as result of innovation, invention, efficiencies and positive changes to user experiences.

The best performed digital transformations involve a whole host of different technologies ... things such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, automation and crucially, training and involving the members of an organisation and making them an instrumental part of the companies evolution.

"At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years… if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies." - John Chambers, Cisco

Why should I get on the digital transformation bandwagon?

Truth be told it's no longer just a 'nice-to-have' option for companies; it's becoming an absolute necessity in today's competitive and dynamic market. Customers expect to conduct all business digitally, wherever and whenever they want, using any device they prefer; as do staff. Since the pandemic, flexibility has become an expectation for a lot of people. That means they want to login to company systems and have a seamless experience be it 2am, 2pm, whether they're sat in an office or on top of a mountain. Digital transformation not only enables that, but catapults organisations adopting new technologies leaps and bounds ahead of their competitors.

"The last ten years of IT have been about changing the way people work. The next ten years of IT will be about transforming your business." - Aaron Levie, BOX

To meet these expectations, companies need to leverage data and digital technologies to create intelligent workflows, faster and smarter decision-making, and real-time response to disruptions. Reinventing business models and optimising processes not only improves products and services, but without doubt enhances customer relationships.

"I’ve been on more sales calls with more CEOs in the last two months than at any time in my career, and there’s universal agreement among them: Digital transformation, while this isn’t a one app [solution], it’s a must-have. Organizations and governments around the world have a digital transformation imperative like never before, and many of them are accelerating their plans for a digital-first work-from-anywhere environment." - Mark Benioff, Salesforce

OK, I'm convinced. How do I get it done?

The truth is there simply isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to digital transformation. Every organisations journey will be unique depending on its goals, challenges, capabilities, and culture.

To get started you need to define your vision and strategy, identifying what you want to achieve and how it aligns with your overall business objectives. Analyse your current situation and identify your strengths and weaknesses to determine your level of digital maturity and readiness. By identifying the gaps and opportunities for improvement you'll be best placed to know where you should begin your journey.

Based on your vision and assessment, prioritise the areas which will be most impactful and feasible, and that will deliver value to your customers and stakeholders. Consider the scope, complexity, cost, risk, and return on investment of each initiative you plan to roll out.

When you're ready to implement your initiatives, be sure to use agile methodologies and best practices. Involve your employees, customers and partners, in the process. Test and iterate your solutions based on feedback and data constantly monitoring and evaluating your results and outcomes.

Scale and sustain your transformation. Once you have validated your solutions, scale them across your whole organisation. Ensure that you have the right infrastructure, governance, culture, and skills to support the process and be prepared to continuously learn from your experiences and adapt to changing conditions!

And, if all that sounds a like a lot of effort? Well, it is! But that's where companies like ours come in. We're here to identify, map out, and help implement digital transformation to achieve the very best results. We work with you to get you to exactly where you want to be, ensuring that everybody, company wide, is along for the ride. Ultimately we're here to make your business better. On which note, I'll end as I began with a quote from Jeff Bezos:

"In today’s era of volatility, there is no other way but to re-invent. The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility, that’s it. Because nothing else is sustainable, everything else you create, somebody else will replicate."

If we can help you, wherever you are on your digital journey, please don't hesitate to get in touch!

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Digital Transformation
Co-Founder, Yopla
Some of the clients we've worked with...