How to Prepare for a Digital Transformation

digital transformation

Written by Chuck Rutenberg

March 17, 2021

While many organizations acknowledge digital transformation is inevitable, many don’t have a clear view on how to prepare their organization and employees for such a transition. It’s not that they don’t want to get started—they just don’t know where to begin. If your organization’s ready to commence its new digital strategy, here’s how to get everyone on board and set up.

Getting Your Team Digitally Ready

A digital transformation covers all organizational operations, including:

  • Cloud
  • CRM
  • Collaboration
  • Integration
  • Big data solutions
  • Security
  • Analytics

All digital transformations start with changing the way you think about your business. The process involves shifting investments to newer technologies and business models based on emerging technologies. Most importantly, it requires making sure your employees have the training and tools they need so you can reap the benefits a digital transformation brings.

Digital Transformation Challenges

Four common challenges most businesses face in implementing a digital transformation are:

  1. Company culture. All technology changes must align with employee values and behaviors to prepare them to understand, embrace, and advance new digital initiatives. Leadership must find a way to communicate which attributes, such as transparency, accountability, and a willingness to experiment will help the organization succeed.
  2. Strategy and vision. Abrupt shifts in existing structures and workflows without internal alignment can doom a digital transformation if not appropriately handled.
  3. IT infrastructure. Inflexible technology stacks that many organizations still rely on can be a barrier to transitioning technologies.
  4. Organizational structure. Existing data silos make workflows inefficient and inflexible and run the risk of employee disengagement.

It’s clear the major digital transformation challenges focus on people. That’s because technology is usually straightforward, but people are not. Employees need to understand why you’re undergoing a digital transformation, which new technologies will be introduced, and what impact it will have on them personally.

Employee Engagement Tips

As more and more digital initiatives rely on digital technologies and competencies to drive your business forward, employees’ lack of digital knowledge and skills is hampering many digital transformations. Here are some ways to close the digital skills gap and prepare your employees for what lies ahead.

  • Evaluate current employee skills, including software knowledge, CRM experience, and internal proprietary systems.
  • Identify gaps in talent and determine if outside talent is needed to effectuate a digital transformation.
  • Invest in training for your current staff. In-house or online, continuing education to supplement employee skill sets can have a big impact on how smoothly your digital transformation proceeds.
  • Encourage new cultural norms and support disruptive innovation and risk-taking.

Finally, work on aligning your digital strategy with your business goals. This is a never-ending process with new technologies being introduced all the time. To avoid unnecessary expenditures, it’s critical to identify where technology changes are needed most. You might also want to consider partnering with an IT managed service provider to ensure your actions are structured to achieve your overall business objectives.

A successful digital transformation begins and ends with happy, inspired, and engaged employees. And since happy employees translate into happy customers, digital can be the direct path to your end goals.

Digital readiness

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