What is digital transformation? According to Deloitte, “digital transformation is all about becoming a digital enterprise—an organization that uses technology to continuously evolve all aspects of its business models (what it offers, how it interacts with customers and how it operates).”
As technology evolves, so should your business. At this point, it’s not about enterprises choosing to transform; it’s more about deciding how to transform.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything from what digital transformation means for enterprises to real-world examples and case studies to learn from. This collection of resources can help you and your company adapt to technological advances and ultimately change how you do business.
Gartner states “Digital transformation can refer to anything from IT modernization (for example, cloud computing), to digital optimization, to the invention of new digital business models.” In general, it refers to the use of digital technology to materially evolve or create new business processes.
So, what is digital transformation for enterprises? It is the process of analyzing customer needs and leveraging technology to improve the end-user experience. End users could be customers or employees, and many enterprises need to consider the opinions of both.
Digital transformation is about evolving your business by experimenting with new tech and rethinking your current approach to common issues. Because it’s an evolution, a transformation doesn’t necessarily have a clear end point. The MIT Sloan Management Review, a publication that focuses on how management transforms in the digital age, says,“Digital transformation is better thought of as continual adaptation to a constantly changing environment.”
For enterprises, that means continually seeking out ways to improve the end-user experience. This could be through offering improved on-demand training, migrating data to cloud services, leveraging artificial intelligence, and more.
While the ROI of digital transformation depends on a variety of factors, the right technology can greatly improve how your business functions and how customers engage with it.
Using technology to work more efficiently is one of the most impactful ways to transform your business. For example, for enterprises, the time and money they spend training new employees and updating digital resources can quickly get out of hand. With the proper tools, you can keep costs down and productivity up.
Nonprofit company Dimensions UK, for instance, used Whatfix’s digital adoption platform to reduce time spent creating software training courses for new users. Content creation time was reduced by 84% – taking their total time down to just 3 hours.
Tech-savvy customers want a great experience through multiple touchpoints — mobile apps, social media, email, live chat, etc. Digital transformations are the driving force behind improved customer experiences.
Building user or buyer personas will help you understand what different customers want so you can provide options that suit everyone. For example, social media is the preferred customer service channel for customers younger than 25, whereas customers ages 25-34 prefer a mobile app or email, and those ages 35-54 prefer telephone first and email second.
In this situation, you could leverage artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and automation. AI-powered chatbots could instantly provide a personalized customer experience via social media, a mobile app, or email.
Read more about How Digital Transformation Is Driving Customer Experience
An effective digital transformation strategy will create a framework for you to follow throughout this ever-evolving process. But before you begin, it’s important to know what you hope to achieve so you can designate KPIs to track along the way.
For example, if you are migrating users from Salesforce Classic to Lightning, your high-level metrics for measuring adoption would be log-in rates, usage, data quality, and business performance.
In this case, you might drill down further and monitor metrics such as:
A well-thought-out strategy will also address how the transformation will affect your customers and your employees. Start internally by designating change leaders who will publicly support your transformation. Putting trusted change leaders in charge of announcing and supporting the transformation will help generate momentum. Regularly soliciting feedback from anyone affected by the change will also help keep the momentum going.
Don’t forget to include your team’s accomplishments as part of your progress tracking. Whether you’re pointing out a quantitative achievement, e.g. a 10% increase in user log-in rates, or qualitative, e.g. Beth created a Slack group to answer questions about the transformation – celebrating milestones throughout the process is important.
Customers and employees alike will turn to the people initiating the transformation to gain the knowledge they need to be successful. It’s up to you to provide the necessary tools.
Those tools may come in many forms, but if you’re making a digital transformation, chances are, there are digital resources that could support your transition. Will you use e-learning tools for training? Could videos allow users to learn at their own pace? Keep in mind that transformations are an evolution, so leveraging tools that can adapt quickly, like digital adoption platforms, could save you time and effort down the line.
Ready to start strategizing? Learn how to Create an Effective Digital Transformation Strategy in Just 6 Steps.
A road map does more than establish your final destination — it also lays out the journey you’ll take to get there. When you implement your digital transformation road map, it’s important to be prepared for bumps in the road.
Get ahead of any resistance to change. You can do this by thinking about potential obstacles:
Prepare for people-related obstacles by proactively answering, “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) and “What does it mean to me?” (WDIMTM) questions.
Once you’ve mapped out your journey (including detours for potential obstacles), you can Deploy Your Digital Transformation Roadmap.
Different types of transformations rise and fall in popularity as technology changes. Keeping up with trends is a great way to see how you can improve your own digital transformations and prepare for inevitable changes in your industry.
Right now, the hottest trends in digital transformation all tie back to one thing: creating a better customer and employee experience. Although many people, employees in particular, fear that some technology is designed to replace humans, great digital transformations involve technology that complements human work.
AI, Robotic Process Automation, 5G, mobile development, and personalized user experiences are all examples of digital transformation trends that aim to work alongside humans to do everything from improving communication to limiting repetitive work.
Check out these 7 Cutting-Edge Digital Transformation Trends in 2020.
It’s easy to get excited about new technology, but you can’t always expect the same level of enthusiasm from your employees or customers. When introducing new software, you need the support of your users to keep your digital transformation moving forward.
Shelfware — software that is underused or not used at all — is a huge problem for enterprises. One study reported that 93% of companies pay for software that is underused. Since it’s not uncommon for SaaS subscriptions like CRMs to charge $75-$300 per user each month, unused software could cost enterprises tens of thousands of dollars every day.
If you want to earn your team’s support (and avoid wasting money on unused licenses), present the value of the transformation. Explain how it will help employees and the business.
For example, instead of simply forcing your employees to move to a new CRM, present the transition as a benefit: “Switching to this CRM will allow us to automate responses to common customer inquiries and free up sale agents’ time for more high-value activities. It’s a win-win for employees and customers.”
When implementing new tools, introduce features slowly. Don’t overwhelm your team by expecting them to use every functionality right away. Start with the most important features that they will use daily, and provide ongoing training through digital adoption solutions to teach users in the flow of work.
If you plan to deploy new software, read up on how to Achieve Your Digital Transformation Journey Goals by Ensuring Software Adoption.
While it’s valuable to track the progress of your own digital transformation — along with failures and successes — it’s also helpful to learn from others. Case studies give you an idea of what did and did not work for other companies.
What to look for in a case study:
While every digital transformation is unique, reviewing case studies of transformations with goals similar to your own can help you visualize your own timeline and strategy. Take a look at How 3 Companies Boosted User Adoption with the Right Tools.
Still need a little more inspiration to get motivated? Here are 7 Successful Digital Transformation Examples to motivate you to get started with your own transformation.
The goals you set and the technology you use to achieve those goals will define what your digital transformation will look like. Regardless of how you choose to transform your enterprise, proper planning and follow-through are crucial. Bookmark these resources so you can refer back to them in the future.