Beginner's Guide to Adopting Digital Transformation

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 13/08/2018
digital transformation

Every online source nudges us to embrace digital transformation as soon as possible. Yet very few give a non-generalised reason why or how it works in pratice. As a result, we see 70% of digital transformation projects fail. We wrote this piece to every MD, CMO and CEO that wants more closure on the topic, inclusive of potential caveats they may encounter.

Today’s business landscape is defined by new tools and technologies that continue to transform the way we work. For companies of all sizes and across all sectors, digital transformation is not a choice; it’s essential for success.

But many rush to jump on the bandwagon without sufficient preparation, as a result crashing and burning. This article will focus on a vital element that often gets neglected: it is not all about tech. Human is also part of digital transformation.

Table of Contents

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the adoption of digital technologies into business strategy with an aim to increase the efficiency or effectiveness of processes by remaking them. Instead of replicating the existing procedures using technology, the goal is to transform them into something better.

While it mostly focuses on the inclusion of innovative solutions, digital transformation also heavily relies on the corporate culture and mindset. For it to be successful, the company needs to strike balance between technology and the team. 

Innovation is Inevitable for Growth

Whether you like technology or prefer traditional practices, if you want your business to succeed - you will need Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools. Its benefits are thorough and diverse, allowing you to build whole tool systems that cater to your unique needs. But let’s cover three key advantages SaaS brings.

Automation for Efficiency and Productivity

No matter what type of service your company provides or what sector it operates in - there certainly are tasks that take a lot of time to complete. They don’t drive progress yet cannot be skipped. For example, if you are working with an outsourced workforce, it may be invoicing. Or, if you run an eCommerce store, you are maybe manually counting the stock remaining at the end of each month.

These tasks can be automated with the use of SaaS tools. In essence, you will put processes like invoicing or stock calculation through a digital transformation: you will reform them by raising their efficiency and will in turn improve your team’s productivity.

Entrusting manual tasks to software will free up a lot of time that can then be put towards tasks that will help your business grow. Additionally, automation will deal with repetitive manual processes quicker and with the exclusion of human error.

New Opportunities and Revenue Streams

Digital transformation unlocks data you previously had no access to. Most SaaS platforms also have visual dashboards where metrics and insights collected are displayed in an easy-to-analyse visual format. Having this new in-depth knowledge will uncover patterns that point you in a direction of opportunities and pinpoint the areas you struggle with.

When you link different solutions with one another through integrations, essentially allowing them to exchange the data they’ve collected separately, your reach will again expand. You will have the said data put into different contexts, something that would not be achievable otherwise. In other words, the more processes are digitalised and connected to one another, the more in-depth and actionable your insights will be. 

Improved Speed of Response to Market Changes

Having access to deeper data insights has another benefit - it allows you to spot any emerging changes in the market right away. It also enables you to act in accordance with them at once as opposed to waiting to see them in action.

Since you will already have data on hand, you will also be able to make educated and accurate decisions quicker. Naturally, it minimises the risk of miscalculation and puts you ahead of the competition by being capable to address and adapt to change faster.

Digital Transformation Starts from the Inside

As we’ve mentioned at the beginning of this article, the success of digital transformation relies on your team as much as it relies on the digital tools you employ. In fact, the former is more important and complicated to handle. So, how do you begin transforming your team? 

Adopting the Mindset

The first step that must not be avoided at any cost is ensuring everyone on your team understands what is digital transformation and why that is the route your business is taking. Otherwise, you risk running into opposition when it comes to changing or abandoning processes. It can be especially true when addressing core procedures such as HR or legal. Not having the team aligned leads to severe delays or complete failure.

Instead of focusing on buy-in from stakeholders, you need to communicate the importance of the benefits of digital transformation to the entire team. Some people will need more time to process than others, but you cannot move forward until everyone is on board. 

Overcoming Fear of the Unknown

Digital transformation is meant to be disruptive. It sounds easy in theory, but many businesses run into a wall upon failing to accept it. To achieve the results, you must not be married to the existing processes or even the entire business model. The aim isn’t to simply optimise them. It is to transform them.

Similarly to how you can’t acquire a new skill without leaving your comfort zone, you won’t be able to scale your business if you keep clinging to legacy processes that are proven to be less effective. We understand it is daunting to move away from what you know works, in favour of the unknown. But remember - digital transformation enables new data revenues and the chance of failing decreases when you analyse it accordingly. 

The Solution to Meet the Demand

Often in the process of digital transformation, especially when adopting new technology piece by piece, some departments may feel neglected. For example, if you’re starting a transformation by investing in a marketing automation tool, your HR and legal teams will feel as if they are excluded from the process.

The easiest way to adopt a company-wide digital transformation mindset is to show how each department will benefit from it. Understand key challenges different parts of your business are facing and demonstrate how are they being individually addressed. Then, tie the benefit each department gains into one, painting a picture of a collective profit. 

Are You Ready for Digital Transformation?

Determining one’s readiness for digital transformation is something only you can do. At the end of the day, you have full visibility of your business, both from the financial standpoint and team culture. Be honest with yourself when assessing - are you ready to be disruptive? Is the entirety of your company on the same page?

While the benefits of digital transformation are undeniable and you may be itching to kickstart the process, you must not rush it. As discussed throughout the entire article, success depends on the balance between technology and people. If the mindset of the organisation is not quite there yet, you risk burning through a huge amount of money with little to no result. And that can seriously put you off trying again anytime soon. Therefore do not rush down the digital transformation route until you’re 100% you are ready. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.  

Key Takeaway 

Digital transformation is not just a buzzword or the new ‘shiny’ thing in the business landscape. It is the way forward. It’s more than simply acquiring the newest technology and putting it to use - it’s repeating the full benefit of it through combining it with innovation and a progress-driven mindset.

It’s safe to say that digital transformation is largely a mindset rather than a strategy. It is focused on disrupting the processes currently in place and transforming them into something greater, collecting data along the way for further optimisation.

This is why it’s important you start it with people. The technology will be there whenever you are truly ready. 

And if you already are - start with Timesheet Portal.

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