Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.
Companies in every industry strive to keep pace with the rapid evolution of digital transformation, recognizing the importance of embracing new technologies and solutions to stay competitive. Along the way, however, many become distracted and overwhelmed by the flashiest new thing and its expected benefits – losing sight of it is actually the right approach based on their own organization’s unique needs and considerations.
With so much at stake, let alone the significant time and resources required to adopt new technology-driven solutions, companies must employ a sound innovation strategy to guide their journey. Leaders may be drawn in different directions, but the keys to successful digital workplace transformation can be divided into three categories: empowering your employees, listening to your customers, and optimizing your processes and product offerings.
Empowering your employees
First and foremost, ‘buy-in’ from your employees is essential. Employee recognition can be a powerful driver of employee engagement and satisfaction. By having open conversations with employees, leaders can foster a culture of openness and drive higher levels of performance. Resistance to change is one of the main challenges leaders face in these efforts. More often than not, employee declines are primarily due to a lack of familiarity with new technologies – or the fear that automation will cost them their jobs.
Likewise, if employees don’t understand why change happens and what makes it important, it can be detrimental to morale and performance. Instead of letting hesitation fester, empower employees to progress at their own pace, even if it’s more fundamental first steps like migrating to a cloud-based format.
Another major challenge in unifying the company around such an undertaking is a lack of communication. Leaders should educate their employees every step of the way and strive to implement valuable feedback. Once in place, leaders must clearly define individuals’ roles and responsibilities so that they align with the goals of the transformation and assist with the needs of the organization. Let’s face it, employees are closer to the day-to-day realities of the business than leadership teams, making their input critical to long-term success.
The chance of success is also higher when companies upskill their staff during the digital transformation of the company. One way to do this is to create continuous learning opportunities and environments at work.
Related: Simplifying digital transformation at your small business
Engage your customers
Most companies only look inward when they embark on their digital transformation journey. However, in today’s increasingly competitive environment, what sets businesses apart is the quality of the customer experience. Customers expect a world-class experience, and they’re not afraid to take their business elsewhere if interacting with your company is too cumbersome.
The customer is at the center of any business improvement initiative, and a clear understanding of their role provides key insights to inform and improve your own approach.
Since most customer interactions take place online, organizations have an excessive amount of data at their fingertips. With this data, you can track patterns and identify areas for improvement, provide superior support and strengthen your customer relationships at scale. In addition, data collection can be used to improve business operations, increase revenue streams and accelerate product development.
Related: Digital transformation is a must. Here’s how the voice of the customer should drive this.
Optimization of your process and product
Having key insights from employees and customers is only part of the equation. All companies should focus on optimizing their processes and service offerings by developing their core business to keep abreast of technological advancements. This is all about changing your core business to keep up with technology. When done correctly, there are several resulting benefits, including flexibility, scalability, and cost savings. In addition, companies can streamline processes and eliminate manual, repetitive tasks.
If you are used to providing a catalog of products that rarely changes, modernization is essential. Focus on real business needs and current performance challenges, building on solutions that have already worked well in individual locations and can be pragmatically rolled out across the network.
It’s no secret that investing in new technologies can be daunting, but failure to adapt is ultimately more costly in the long run.
Related: Digital transformation means adopting a new culture: here’s how to do it
Just a decade ago, digital transformation seemed like a foreign concept to many. Today, it’s at stake for companies that want to stay competitive. Whether stuck in pre-strategy purgatory or under increasing pressure to demonstrate results, companies can become frustrated, distracted and discouraged. Working through systems in the old, pre-digital way, there are many redundancies and areas where the lag is so great that it can impact your entire business.
The sooner you start researching, investing in and deploying new technology, the better equipped you are to grow, improve efficiency and live long in the fast-changing marketplace. Digital transformation can streamline these processes so that your business runs optimally and, perhaps more importantly, at the pace of the digital age.