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Our digital transformation tips: three simple steps to digital transformation success

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation by an unprecedented seven years. With implementation of automated and online processes, the move to remote working, and revision of digital transformation strategies all at an all time high, many businesses have invested in their digital capabilities for the first time in years. Statistics show that 56% of firms have successfully adopted one or more new technologies since March 2020, and 54% say that the pandemic has inspired long-term digital transformation projects.


Although this shows major digital growth, data suggests that 70% of digital transformation programmes fail. In 2018 alone the losses of failed digital transformations topped $900 billion. But the cost is far greater than money. Failed change initiatives lead to discouraged and disengaged employees, slumps in productivity, and missed deadlines leading to work backlogs.


Making your digital transformation a success is key to maximising your time and money investments, and moving your business forward digitally. While many fail, here are some key digital transformation tips to follow to make sure that you reach digital transformation success.


1. Set clear goals


The first of our digital transformation tips is the foundation for digital transformation success. Your transformation must be carefully planned and incorporated into your wider business strategies. This includes setting clear goals that your organisation would like to achieve. In other words, what do you want the impact of this digital transformation to be?


Setting clear objectives means that the organisation as a whole and the individuals implementing the digital transformation understand and can be committed to a shared vision. Clear goals also serve as a reminder and a source of motivation to your people which is especially important during long term initiatives. These factors make a huge difference to the likelihood of digital transformation success.


Make sure these goals are measurable too. You can use them as you hit digital transformation milestones to see and share the progress you are making. This is another great way to provide motivation and increase engagement.


We’ve set out some examples of clear goals below:


The new people management system will improve accuracy of people data and reduce manual inputting.


Combining the payroll system, the holiday tracker, and the sickness management system will give end-to-end visibility of the employee journey in one place, and will be accessible from anywhere.


The new finance software will automate existing people-based processes and increase productivity within the department.


2. Engage with your people


Lack of employee engagement is often cited as one of the key reasons for digital transformation failure. Your initiative doesn’t operate in a vacuum, and you need your people to be on board and ready to implement new technology to reach digital transformation success.


The second from our list of digital transformation tips is developing your transformation narrative before launching to ensure that your people are engaged. Here’s how:


Start by identifying the ‘why?’. What’s broken, why now, and why is this important? It’s important to share this with your people so that they can understand the motivations behind the upcoming digital transformation.


Share what exactly is going to change, and articulate the benefits. You will know what the digital transformation entails, e.g. moving to a new employee portal, but have you had a chance to think how it will benefit your people? Without this it will be hard for them to get excited about the digital transformation.


Consider how long the digital transformation will take. Will it overlap with any other major and important projects your people have? Show that you’re thinking about them and putting yourself into their shoes by carefully considering the timeline.


Think about who exactly the change will affect, and make sure your internal communications are both reaching them, and appeal to them.


Lastly, share with your people how they can be a part of the digital transformation. How can they assist in reaching digital transformation success? Where can they provide feedback? Where can they access information, or attend training sessions if they're not quite getting it?


Engaging with your people is key to digital transformation success. If you need more help, we have a separate resource on this on our website with further digital transformation tips.


3. Don’t assume that digital transformation is easy


The last of our digital transformation tips may seem obvious, but research shows that leadership often assumes that digital transformation is easy and leads to its failure by underestimating the work, and overestimating capacity. These assumptions create an environment where the demands of digital transformation are too high, and the initiative can fail.


Digital transformations are huge undertakings and careful step-by-step planning is required to accurately assess the efforts required to get the initiative up and running. Imagine that your digital transformation entails the introduction of a new CRM platform. The digital transformation will begin months before you begin digitally transforming the way you manage your customer relationships.


To ensure digital transformation success, you need to take a step back and evaluate some questions like the ones below:


How long will the transfer of data take?


When will employees in sales be able to take a training course?


What are the data compliance implications?


How do we inform our customers of our new privacy policy?


You need to work through these questions before being blindsided by the benefits of the new tech. This includes making sure that you and your people fully understand the technology and processes being implemented to avoid hiccups further down the line, and reach digital transformation success.


Summary


Digital transformations are risky endeavours, but following our digital transformation tips will put you on the path to success. In summary, ensure careful planning, including setting clear goals, engaging your employees, and fully understanding the amount of work and manpower required to carry out your initiative.


When done right your people and your organisation will reap the benefits for years to come. So what are you waiting for?


Need some help and advice with communicating a major digital change to your people? As Inside Out Communications Consulting we are digital transformation communication specialists. Email us at hello@insideoutconsulting.co.uk, or visit our website insideoutconsulting.co.uk to arrange an informal chat.


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