3 Steps to a Successful Business Through Digital Transformation


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Let’s face it — the current business landscape is volatile, and it’s more crucial than ever to use any tools we can to keep up. AI and innovative solutions should be built into every modern business’s technology stack to thrive amidst disruption. If a company cannot push through the ebbs and flows of these advancements, it will become obsolete.

As a leader in the technology industry, I can tell you there’s no worse time to fall behind than now — digital transformation gives you the best chance of making sure you don’t. A successful digital transformation allows businesses to drive growth, become more efficient, and stay competitive in any economy — here are three steps to get there.

1. Start from square one

To know how to execute a digital transformation. A digital transformation integrates digital tools and strategies into some (or all) business aspects to help drive growth and deliver value to the customer. This transformation is essential for staying competitive and relevant in today’s marketplace. I often see companies start a transformation reactively because they feel their competitors are outpacing them. At best, this delivers sub-optimal results; at worst, it can be counterproductive. Instead, it’s better to be proactive during this process.

The first step in any significant change is assessing your current position; a digital transformation is no different. Start by assessing the current business model and identifying areas that could benefit from adopting new digital tools. Reviewing the company’s strategic direction is also critical so digital initiatives can support it rather than hinder it.

In volatile times, a hybrid approach that combines traditional, time-proven practices with innovative digital strategies will often yield outstanding results. However, it’s difficult to see where this hybrid approach will be most beneficial without knowing your current state. As Sun Tzu said, if you know your enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. Businesses cannot build a roadmap to the future without an honest assessment of their current practices.

Once leaders have a clear idea of the areas where a digital transformation could positively impact their business, they must analyze the data to determine which of these will provide the greatest ROI. Some companies may see the best returns from new tools for their HR department, while others might examine an overhaul in financial operations. With clear goals and measurable KPIs, this becomes a tangible process rather than the vague, aimless strategy many businesses unfortunately take.

Related: How to Create Success for Your Business Through Digital Transformation

2. Build a clear, actionable strategy

Once companies have identified and prioritized the areas that will have the most impact on their digital transformation, they need to create a clear, actionable roadmap to completion. This is often best managed as a project, either by internal employees or in partnership with a third party specializing in digital tools.

This roadmap is extremely important, as business leaders must always balance profitability, losses, and valuation while investing in the long term. In a world where leaders are frequently rewarded for short-term growth and current profits, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and make decisions that can sacrifice future growth.

By defining specific objectives for the digital transformation and applying KPIs to those objectives, leaders can accurately measure progress toward their goals. This helps mitigate the tendency to prioritize short-term wins over long-term benefits and keeps the company on track toward a common goal.

Remember to step outside the echo room. Collaboration with relevant stakeholders, either inside or outside the company, can help leaders determine how to align their goals with the overall transformation strategy. Customer feedback should also be collected during this step of the process.

Companies can emphasize transparency by keeping an open dialogue with customers, employees, suppliers, business partners, and other key personnel, resulting in a sustainable and successful transformation. This also generates buy-in, which is essential for execution.

Related: How Generative AI is Revamping Digital Transformation to Change How Businesses Scale

3. Constant assessment

In the last step of the digital transformation journey, one needs to continue assessing the strategy. Those KPIs established during the initial strategy come into play here—with them, leaders can assess progress and apply pressure or extra resources where needed. This allows companies to take in real-time impacts on key areas such as revenue, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency.

Regular audits of digital processes shouldn’t be overlooked. By periodically assessing their digital infrastructure, companies can quickly pivot when needed to correct course. Auditing helps ensure transformation initiatives are on par with the overall business strategy and are delivering the expected outcomes. If strategies are consistently falling short, the company, with regular audits, can see the trends and adjust accordingly.

Continuous assessment isn’t just about the initial transformation. While staying the course is usually a good rule of thumb, companies must also keep ahead of industry trends. As new, better tools are introduced, companies with a robust digital transformation process can identify opportunities to take their optimization to the next level. Continuous assessment makes a company more agile and better positioned to make changes as needed.

Related: Small Business Owners, Don’t Run From Technology — Embrace It. Here Are 5 Strategies to Succeed

Leaders should be open to change, willing to make mistakes, and ready to evolve and iterate. True to any company, it becomes even more imperative for companies planning to incorporate the newest digital tools. What really makes or breaks the ability to detect subtle changes in the business landscape is a forward-thinking mindset. No one knows what the future holds, but we can better prepare ourselves for whatever it might bring by pursuing a digital transformation in a strategic, methodical way.

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