How to handle digital transformation
You are expected to stay up to date on digital transformation. Here's what you need to know.
While it might be tempting to regard digital transformation as something that happened yesteryear and finally put topics like “digital maturity” and “omnichannel” behind us, the truth is that digital transformation is still an ongoing process.
We no longer use typewriters, feature phones, or physical folders, but even though computers, smartphones, and automation have transformed the way we conduct work and business, digital transformation is still in motion—and will be for the foreseeable future.
To help you orient yourself in this constantly shifting landscape, we survey the current status of digital transformation, before indicating what you can do to get started.
Digital transformation: current status
In order to know where we are headed, we must first know where we are right now. According to Ziggurat, the top business priorities of CEOs today are:
- Simple growth
- Structural development
- IT department and processes
- Product improvement
- Cost management
- Efficiency and productivity
The main barriers against digital transformation are:
- Inability to experiment quickly
- Legacy systems
- Inability to work across silos
- Inadequate collaboration between IT and lines of business
- Risk-averse culture
- Change management capabilities
- Lack of digital corporate vision
- Lack of required skills
- Insufficient budget
- Cyber security
The sectors most likely to implement digital transformation are technology, finance, telecoms, and pharma, with the IT department in all as the primary recipient.
Furthermore, ZDNET has rounded up the most important digital transformation trends in 2023 and beyond:
- Direct investments will go up to 16.5% CAGR
- 90% of worldwide organizations will prioritize investments in digital tools
- By 2025, 60% of organizations will have an enterprise-wide approach to automation
- By 2026, 54% of CIOs will drive business transformation to enable an agile workforce
- 70% of new applications developed by organizations will use low-code or no-code technologies by 2025
- Employees at 60% of enterprises will embody digital resiliency at their roles by 2024
- Development in analytics, AI, ML & RPA is expected to continue
In other words, both companies and employees will become more digital, in everything from daily tasks and strategic process to analytics and delivery of services.
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Preparing for digital transformation
For everyone to prepare for the next phases of digital transformation, every organization needs a solid foundation in the form of process automation.
If the core operations of your organization still rely on manual workarounds, paper, or email, you risk lagging behind due to a waste of time and resources.
Automating operational processes may for instance involve using modern, low-code platforms running in the cloud to deploy new services, respond to customer needs, and generally lower the costs.
But how do you get started?
First, be sure to involve the leadership in your organization. While the IT department and the CIO may be ultimately responsible for instigating and carrying through digital transformation, the matter at hand is actually more than just IT.
Digital transformation affects every aspect of your organization—HR, marketing, sales, finance, legal, operations, and business lines. Therefore the CEO should ideally be the main driver behind the transformation efforts, in order to get all of the organisation included.
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Second, identify non-essential activities performed by colleagues in your team, department, and finally your organization as a whole.
Removing or outsourcing these kinds of non-core activities will enable your people, the actual drivers for change and digital transformation, to focus on mission-critical activities instead.
They can go from spending time on administering documents and folders to focusing on innovation, talent acquisition, or process effectivity.
A best practice in this endeavor is to start small. This way you can get handfast results fast and to demonstrate your business case to the rest of the organization.
Don’t hesitate, start preparing and undergoing digital transformation today. Modern tools are readily available, ranging from high-end, expensive, and complex to the opposite—whatever floats your boat.
First published 13 May 2019, updated 29 September 2022.