As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, digital business transformation (DT) is a silver bullet for companies of all sizes from numerous industries. The financial impact of the quarantine has pushed businesses to quickly shift their development strategies to virtualization and digitalization. 

We hope your company hasn’t been badly knocked by the global lockdown, as you’d embraced the DT approach. We know from our experience that most organizations start their transformation small; otherwise, it’s too risky and expensive. However, soon after, they begin wondering, “and what’s next?” How to streamline the proliferation of digital modernization within your company? TEAM International shares useful insights.  

What is digital business transformation? 

We’ve discussed this topic not so long ago. But here is what we’d like to add.  

Simply put, DT is a tight combination of new technologies integration and smarter resources management. It’s an intersection of business, technology, and people. And only if all parties work in absolute sync, then you can achieve measurable results.  

Who drives enterprise-wide DT? Two major teams – executives who accelerate the adjustment of business models  and IT departments that handle actual digitalization to modernize your processes. DT’s primary goal is to skyrocket your business growth in a “new normal” reality, since fundamentally changes all operational areas to maximize your profits. 

As HP CEO Enrique Lores said, 2020 has raised the need for digital changes that business leaders only planned to implement over the next several years. But the changes are being accepted seamlessly due to social distancing and remote work. 

So, how to carry out your digital transformation efficiently and effectively? 

A framework for the digital transformation of business 

In 2020, executives have to deal with a horrific crisis that pandemic has created for their businesses. Today’s C-level challenges no longer include just goals prioritizing, planning, and decision-making. They also rapidly invest in virtual and digital transformation to stay competitive amid the global pandemic.  

During this year alone, TEAM analyzed and mapped out dozens of digital transformations for industry leaders from all over the globe. We know how hard it is to find the right path for a successful DT as not every executive knows what works and what doesn’t in digitalization. Which processes to automate, and what resources to cut or grow? How to orchestrate DT? What technologies to apply?  

We understand that there is no universal recipe that fits all industries, brands, processes, or leaders’ goals. Still, several key elements ensure a clear structure, letting you avoid chaos and unnecessary costs during DT implementation. 

For leadership teams, these elements represent a digital transformation framework of four pillars:  

digital business transformation

Each organization has a unique way of following this framework, and the latter evolves with time to keep up with new trends and stay relevant.

Digital business transformation strategy: How to scale smart 

When you develop your DT strategy, it’s important to have a clear view of business directions and goals right from the start. And the key element of a winning digitalization strategy must be its flexibility to quickly adapt to your corporate changes without you losing control over the transformation process. Only then you’ll be able to scale cost-efficiently and seamlessly in the long run. 

Your step-by-step guide to productive digital business transformation 

1. Follow your DT roadmap 

At this point, you should have an unbiased and well-planned roadmap that includes the following steps: 

  • A plan for reframing your corporate infrastructure; 
  • An assessment of skills and knowledge your employees must have for DT implementation and a plan to train them if needed; 
  • A list of your corporate technologies that need updates; 
  • Outlined vital goals of your digital transformation with milestones and priorities; 
  • The key players assigned for each stage of the DT strategy. 

Progress gradually and carefully from one step to the next. There has to be no rush or negligence. Embracing technology’s power and potential for your business is an essential step to launch a complete transformation. However, the scaling of each company unit takes time and precision.  

All your enterprise’s operational areas — development, sales, marketing, supply chain, IT — will have to adjust their own operating models to meet your DT strategy goals and work as one well-balanced mechanism. Close and transparent collaboration is essential. This way, you’ll mitigate the risk of failure. 

2. Assign the right people to manage and drive your DT 

You’d need CIO, DevOps, and other IT experts with exceptional skills to implement only those best practices that correspond with your business niche. To avoid common pitfalls, your company should have smart leaders able to scope, scale, and fast-forward innovations while saving time, money, and effort. These people will plan ahead, manage risks, and align your strategy with operating models to scale effectively. 

3. Leverage data and business analytics 

Digital transformation and business analytics are two inseparable viables. Two important aspects for every executive is how to create a strong data strategy and how to utilize it for DT. It all starts with the direction you want your business to take through modernization. To set a data strategy, you need not just any data but reliable data collection points and business analytics that show your value.  

How to collect such data? Start with installing robust online analytical processing systems. Outline a particular timeframe for collecting data sets that you will then process and analyze. Implement changes based on the results, analyze the improvements, and then repeat the process. If you need help with an in-depth analysis of your operations, we have experienced data scientists and business analysts ready for this challenge. 

4. Plan out your budget 

Digital transformation requires adequate financial resources. To be on the safe side, it’s great to have a consistent expenditure plan to make sure you spend the right amount on the right areas. There is no exact DT budget amount that fits all organizations, as each company’s case is entirely individual. Assess your financial capabilities before and during a DT process to be prepared for any ‘what-if’ scenario.  

5. Choose the right IT tools 

Certainly, you don’t need to invest in everything at once. The best practice is to study what you already have within the company and then proceed with maturing those developments. It can be AI and ML algorithms, chatbots, intelligent automation, cloud computing, or similar workflow streamlining tools. However, when it comes to implementing new technologies, it’s better to prioritize the targets first by aligning new tools with your existing processes and goals. 

6. Build a dream team… and be its true leader  

Eighty-seven percent of business executives admit that digitalization is their priority. However, only 40 percent of companies have reached the point of scaling digital initiatives. From our experience, the absence of a shared vision among all DT participants often leads to stalling this process.  

The key to success here is to nurture a digitalization-oriented corporate culture. Your employees and stakeholders should be on the same page. As a leader, you should provide a clear vision of your digital business transformation strategy across all departments. Cross-teams collaboration, honesty, and transparent communication are the “must-haves”.  

Changes push people to adopt the new way of work. It’s usually comfortable at the very least. And employees’ engagement matters a lot for a seamless DT. The higher their engagement, the better your chances for success. Your staff should be ready and trained for drastic changes, motivated to embrace new technologies in their work routine. 

Your enterprise will need top talents to handle all sides of transformation. Make sure you build a strong, reliable team that stays engaged throughout the whole transition cycle. And then track how the staff members adapt to the changes to see if they need help, additional training, or encouragement. 

7. Keep doing health checks of your company during DT 

It helps determine the right metrics for digital business transformation to measure success, progress, and value it brings. In that way, you can analyze whether you’ve reached the expected business outcomes or not. Also, it’ll be easier to manage risks knowing all the necessary information in advance. 

Digital transformation checklist: questions for c-level executives 

digital business transformation - checklist

Back to the future 

Considering the world, we live in, DT is undoubtedly becoming an inevitable business operating model. Only a leadership team with a growth mindset can drive the changes, so the executives should be prepared to break some rules for the sake of their digital business journey.  

Each DT is a unique and continuous process for every company, with no particular completion date. And it may seem scary at first glance, but it doesn’t have to be so if you have the right driving people and an expert IT partner

Having guided hundreds of companies through their transformation processes, TEAM knows how to fill the gap between technologies and people. We can structure and orchestrate a DT cycle for your enterprise from scratch. Our mission is to help you implement the best digital transformation business model to succeed where others fail. Reach out to us, and let’s discuss your case!