Digital Transformation 101: Do it Wrong and You’ll Go Extinct

Woman on iPad

There’s no way to sugarcoat this. If your business has not undergone or is in the middle of a digital transformation, you run the risk of becoming obsolete.  

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In July, Twilio released a survey with fascinating results. More than 2,500 global decision-makers responded to the cloud communications platform’s questions. “COVID-19 accelerated companies’ digital communications strategy by an average of 6 years. 97% of enterprise decision-makers believe the pandemic sped up their company’s digital transformation.”  

Translation: digitization is essential and your competitors are speeding in that direction. 

Here’s an example of a business getting it right. 

Pandemic or not, US consumers love to eat out. Curbside pickup and delivery are thrivingRestaurants are adapting to new demands with new technology. One fast-food restaurant chain has its employees take customer orders by foot at the drive-through using iPads to make the process quick and efficient. The order is sent to a tablet-wielding employee who takes payment then a third employee provides the food. Tech makes the process seamless.  

“I have seen so many companies bogged down by legacy technology and systems. The old way of doing business isn’t going to cut it anymore,” Sue HardekTalentfoot Executive Senior Partner leading the firm’s Digital Transformation practice said. “A business needs to adapt its operations, systems, and people.” 

It isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers. According to Harvard Business Review survey of 400 executives, only 50% said they’re successfully completed digital transformation projects. 

Join us on a series devoted to getting digital transformation rightLet’s start with an overview to prepare your organization for change. 

“There are four main questions to ask yourself when you’re ready for change,” Hardek says.  

One. Do you have the vision? 

You aren’t going anywhere if you don’t have a destination in mind. Start with this simple exercise. List what your organization is doing now and the problem you will continue to address for customers in the future. Think about what you want the business to look like and what factors need to evolve to get there. Write down your goals. This is the 50,000-foot view of your future state.  

In our example of the fast-food restaurant, corporate decided to go from the typical drive-through experience to one with more touchpoints via technology and therefore mapping out a digital customer experience.  

The first step is the vision 

Two. Do you have the structure? 

Once you’ve decided where you want to go, you need to get granular. Look at your organizational and operational structure. Think about how the vision of your business intercepts with the way business is done today.  

Anand Eswaran, corporate vice president of Microsoft Digital, Services, and Success, put it this way, “Optimizing operations and creating efficiency is just one of the core enablers for a digital roadmap – it’s not all, and won’t take them on their digital journey, where you have to rethink everything from how we work and the future of customer experiences, to products and business models.” 

This is where the “legacy” part Sue mentioned becomes relevant. The fast-food restaurant could not fundamentally change its customer experience without adding new processes and teaching people new ways of doing business.  

Think about how you need to change operationally. 

Three. Do you have the right people?  

When it comes to driving change, it comes down to the talent tmake change happen. Bottom line: “There will be no change without change agents,” Hardek says.  

If the C-Suite didn’t propose the digital transformation, they must, at minimum, be avid supporters. Then, you’ll need the talent to implement, communicate, teach, drive, and execute the change. Assess the people you have today. Technological skills are important, but you need people willing to adapt, learn, and participate in the change.  

A digital culture is critical to your success.  

Four. Do you have the tools?  

Let’s go back to our fast-food restaurant example. A company can hand its employees tablets, but if the people don’t know how to use the tablet or run the software program on it, the tools are worthless.  

Once you’ve decided on your vision and strategy for the future, you need to invest in the tools to make it happen.  

Work with an outside advisor to analyze your tech stack and determine the gaps. New technology is expensive and you do not want to waste valuable resources on a tool that doesn’t meet your unique needs. Collaborate with someone who has been there, done that, and can help you make the right decisions. The C-Suite members at Indigo are proven change agents who are ready to engage in your digital transformation advisory needs.  

Ready, set, go 

There isn’t time to waste. Your competitors are undergoing digital transformation. Your customers expect it. Stay tuned for more transformation advice.

Need some guidance to find top talent? Start with this digital transformation interview scorecard template.