Digital transformation is a broad term that can mean many, far-reaching things. But the start of the process is only as complicated as you make it and it is something that can absolutely work to your advantage if you play your cards right.
Yes, you're going to be making many changes to the technological foundation of your company. Yes, you're going to experience a sometimes significant level of disruption along the way. But the process itself is nothing if not logical. Provided that you start out on the right foot, you'll find that it's far more straightforward than you likely thought it was going to be and the rewards will be worth it.
Getting started with digital transformation on those terms isn't necessarily the most difficult task in the world, and luckily CEO of Lanrex and expert in technology for business, Jodie Korber has outlined the three key steps you need to take before a digital transformation.
Strategy is the Key to Digital Transformation
For the absolute best results, any digital transformation efforts should begin earnestly enough, at the strategy level. In other words, you need to be able to adequately answer the following questions before you proceed:
- What does the term "digital transformation" mean to this organisation?
- What does it actually look like, meaning what steps do we need to be taking?
- What benefits are we going to get that we don't have access to now?
- Why is it important to take these steps at this particular moment?
If you can answer those questions, you should know which direction you’re headed to — and at that point, you more or less have everything you need to get started.
"Digital transformation is about redefining a business strategy and delivering customer value, all based on the potential of digital technologies," says Jodie Korber, CEO of Lanrex.
But to get to that point, you need to have a clear understanding of your strategy as it exists today so that you can see the impact of changes in real time. You can't make any meaningful change if you don't know what change looks like, which is why beginning at the strategy phase is so critical.
The Boots on the Ground
As you begin to build out your strategy, you need to make an effort to speak to key stakeholders to understand where the problems with your current infrastructure really are. It's one thing to look at analytics and say "since we implemented X, we haven't seen the benefits in productivity and communication we thought we would." It's another thing entirely to know why that is the case.
To arrive at that insight, the solution is simple: all you have to do is ask.
Engage with all key stakeholders and find out how your current technology impacts them on a basic level every day.
- What problems are they encountering?
- What workarounds have they developed?
- What do they wish was different?
- What's preventing them from working smarter, not harder?
As you begin to speak to more and more people, you'll get a better idea of certain gaps in your existing strategy. Find out as much as you can about the problems that are on everybody's minds. What common areas and themes do these problems share?
"Digital transformation begins not with the technology, but with your business itself," adds Jodie Korber. Within the context of this particular discussion, your business and your people are one and the same.
A problem is just a question you haven't figured out the answer to yet, but the answer absolutely exists. This information shouldn't be something to be apprehensive about, it should be empowering and it should lead your way through the darkness of change. As your digital transformation is in large part designed to fill or outright eliminate those gaps, the shape that your transformation will take will more or less begin to reveal itself over time.
In terms of problem areas, "you need to identify and tackle the root causes" said Jodie Korber. "Without viable solutions built on actionable information, these problems will only repeat and compound."
The Art of Current State Documentation
Next, you need to further cement your image of where you currently stand by conducting a thorough current state documentation. By having your current business processes heavily documented in a logical and accurate way, it's far easier to evaluate key problem areas for process improvement across the board.
Not only will this once again give you a better idea of where you need to be by highlighting where you currently are, but this current state documentation will pay dividends all across the digital transformation process too.
- It'll significantly help reduce the time needed to communicate with both internal and external parties during transformation, for example.
- It'll virtually eliminate the possibility that two people will be doing the same job without realising it.
- It's a critical document that reduces the time, the effort, and the ultimate cost associated with digital transformation.
Plus, it's something that you can always refer back to in order to guarantee that you're moving in the direction you think you are. If you know where you've been and where you're trying to get to, you know how long it will take you to get from "Point A" to "Point B." At that point, it doesn't matter how long the process takes — it's going to get done, you can guarantee it.
Digital Transformation: Invest in a Better Tomorrow Today
At this point, you've done more than just get started with your digital transformation efforts. You may already have a clear roadmap outlining exactly where you're headed and, more critically, how you're going to get there. At this point, success is truly no longer a question of if but when.
If you'd like to find out more information about getting started with digital transformation or if you have any additional questions about what a solution like Dynamics 365 might bring to the table throughout this process, get in touch with Lanrex today.