There’s no avoiding technology today. Even businesses steeped in a tradition of old-school, analog processes are coming to terms with the reality that everyone now operates in the digital economy. Going without advanced digital tools puts them at a serious, even insurmountable disadvantage relative to rivals that are investing in digital transformation.
Digital transformation unlocks tools like intelligent analytics that extract actionable insights from customer and process data, social media and CRM platforms that grow a brand’s audience and nurture durable links with its customers, and ERP solutions that reveal inefficiencies in a company’s current processes.
But, getting to the finish line of a digital transformation can be very difficult for many companies. After all, they are pursuing it precisely because they lack sufficient digital competencies, and that’s why many choose to rely on a digital transformation consultant who will guide them on their path.
What is a Digital Transformation Consultant?
Digital transformation consultants are experts at effectuating a digital transformation that maximizes the positive impact on people and processes while minimizing the disruption to operations and ensuring an optimized allocation of resources.
By evaluating their needs, resources, and inherent scalability, they help organizations set and achieve ambitious goals for new digital competencies. Digital transformation consultants employ a design-led approach that removes complexity from the transition, identifies established and emerging technologies that are likely to aid in improving employee, customer, and user experiences for their teams, patrons, and partners.
What Are the Four Main Areas of Digital Transformation?
Creating a Digital Strategy:
High level strategies for digital transformation will determine which facets of a business are most in need of upgrading, which digital capabilities will complement their culture and stay within their resource limits, and how best to realize the transition.
Building Digital Platforms:
With a roadmap to follow, the next step is actually building out the digital platforms the organization will need to achieve their end goal, including social media networks, communication and collaboration suites, development frameworks, ERP and analytics engines, internal knowledge bases, e-commerce and advertising marketplaces, and digital services for customers, employees, and end users.
Digitizing Operational Processes:
Manual entry, paper files, and institutional knowledge stored entirely in the head of just a few key employees are all potential pain points that digital transformation can alleviate. It upgrades slow, tedious, and obsolete workflows so that critical information is recorded, shareable, accessible, and secure.
Once you have everything in place to better understand customers, the next step is to leverage your tools to reach them more effectively via the digital channels and modes of communication they prefer. Consistent outreach helps companies not just appeal to individual customers but build thriving communities of active supporters and brand advocates.
What Are the Three Key Elements of Digital Transformation?
Selecting the right tools, drawing an achievable roadmap (that includes steps for reskilling key team members and deploying new technologies), and implementing the changes.
Leveraging digital platforms that enable on-premises, remote, and hybrid team members to securely collaborate synchronously and asynchronously, and collecting and analyzing diverse data sources (e.g. ERP and CRM data) to inform better decision making.
Driving change by sharing a vision for improvement that makes plain the reasons for a digital transformation, as well as the benefits it offers for both the company and its employees.
How Do You Create a Digital Transformation Strategy?
Despite the growing sophistication of cloud platforms, which often claim migrating data and processes to them is as simple as hitting a switch, in reality, it is an often fraught experience. Without deep expertise in the systems and processes undergoing transformation, responding to the issues that inevitably arise during migration will be far more time consuming and difficult than it has to be.
That’s why step one is assessing your current standing. For example, is the current culture open to change? Is your workforce armed with the skills it needs to switch to digital processes? What steps will need to be taken to get them there if they aren’t ready? Next, a digital transformation consultant will create a map of all current processes and organizational structures, noting areas that pose potential challenges as well as those that are strong opportunities for adaptation.
Why is Company Culture Such an Important Component of Any Digital Transformation Project?
Big changes to standard operating procedures require attitudinal and behavioral adjustments from the individuals that makeup a company, and digital transformation is almost always a big change. Switching from analog to digital processes will likely affect every aspect of a business. Hence, it’s vital for leadership to win buy-in from the top down and convince key personnel from across the company to share in a unified vision for implementing a digital transformation strategy.
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