Planning a Digital Business Transformation Strategy

 In Digital Transformation

Updating your business model to work seamlessly in the digital age sounds like a great idea, right?

After all, a well-executed business transition strategy can increase productivity, eliminate inefficiency, and reduce your reliance on outdated “legacy infrastructure.”

But for large—or even small to medium—companies, the transition is not so easy. Letting go of your legacy infrastructure is complicated; it can be a tall order to get your team to let go of the processes that built your company, but this very act of letting go is just what’s needed to move forward with innovation to keep your edge in today’s market.

What is Business Digital Transformation (DX)?

Digital transformation, or DX, is the process of updating your business, product, or service offerings to be in line with contemporary technology and modern infrastructure. It’s essentially and alignment between up-to-date infrastructure, IT and what makes your business successful.

Depending on your industry, customer base, revenue model, and the size of your business, a digital transformation can look very different from other businesses. For larger or long-established companies, transitioning from a traditional human-capital-heavy business model to a digital one can take years and require a fundamental change in their day-to-day business practices. For smaller more agile companies, the transition process is likely a much quicker process, allowing them to make changes and iterate faster to get in line with current technology.

Why Most Digital Transformations Fail

Simply put, digital transformation is hard. No matter what type of company you are, the process of a digital business transformation is often highly complex. Here are some common reasons that a digital transition can fail:

  • Transition Lacks Leadership – Without company buy-in and the backing of VP, Manager, and C-level personnel, and other stakeholders, many transitions stop dead in their tracks. There will be road bumps and it will require leadership to stay on track.
  • Technological Infrastructure & Investment – Adopting current technology to improve and streamline company processes require some kind of investment in IT. Either companies need to update existing infrastructure, or they need to invest in new tech. If you start down the path of DX without an infrastructure plan in place, it can cause your digital transformation to fail
  • No Clear Roadmap – Without a fully-fleshed out plan for you business’ digital transformation, the process can quickly hit roadblocks.

How to Plan a Successful Digital Transformation for Your Business

So, how do you plan and execute a seamless digital transition, or “DX,” and avoid failure?

Do your research, plan ahead, and use the following tips to guide your organization throughout the journey

Identify the Stakeholders & Key Players

Transitioning from a legacy infrastructure can be challenging, especially if you’re moving from a pen-and-paper approach or working with truly outdated software.

It’s important to identify all the stakeholders who will be affected, who will have strong opinions, and who are responsible for making decisions and leading change.

Be careful not to leave any key personnel out, and be sure not to rush this important step. As one exec recently shared in Campaign, “Once everyone is on the same page about where they think the business is at and where it’s going, it gets much easier to push boundaries and break benchmarks set by competitors.”

Create a Culture Shift

Only once you’ve got your full team onboard can you start shifting the culture and mindset of your business.

Forbes Magazine recently described the mindset needed for a digital overhaul as “exponential”—this means that even org charts may need to transform as your business starts considering how new digital strategies will impact workflow and communication across your company.

Utilizing department heads and HR to reinforce the need for transition can help bring your whole company around.

Stay Positive During Transition

The work involved in a digital transformation shouldn’t be underestimated, but neither should the benefits.

Identify the concrete benefits that a solid digital transformation roadmap will offer, and use these benefits to motivate and lead your business.

Benefits will vary depending on your industry and existing model, but most companies will find reduced costs, better customer service, increased flexibility and responsiveness, as well as more robust innovation and system security.

Find Parallel Processes

The reality of a digital transformation means that some existing operations will exist alongside new digital approaches.

Work to identify where parallel processes are duplicative, and where efficiency can still exist. Allowing for some overlap will make the transition far less jarring then abruptly shifting everything all at once.

Clarify Your Timeline

Change, of any kind, takes time. Be realistic and thoughtful about how long your business will need to successfully execute a considered digital transformation. Then, develop a flexible timeline with clear benchmarks to help shape your work and offer opportunities to reflect and course correct along the way.

Find a Technology Partner to Lean On

In most cases, there’s not a need to reinvent the wheel when you’re planning a digital transformation. Leveraging 3rd party technology partners can help cut down on time and investment in tech infrastructure, development, and personnel.

Companies, like Liveoak, are designed to fit seamlessly into existing business processes and help streamline a system that isn’t broken – it just needs to be updated.

If you’re looking to make a digital transformation for your business, get in touch with one of our consultants today and see how Liveoak can help streamline complex processes for your business.

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