Digital transformation is about much more than the technology

When we discuss digital transformation projects, we tend to concentrate on the hardware, networks, uptime, ROI and all the tangible benefits to business.

Rarely do those seeking to undergo such a transformation consider the human factor.

You could have the most efficient processes in the world, with the most streamlined CRM and responsive tools. But, if your people aren’t as invested in the transformation as you are, it’s unlikely to succeed.

As experts in digital transformations, we have seen this happen many times.

Significant investment is made in the transformation and the technology, but far less is made in the people using it.

This typically ends one way.

As we want every digital transformation project to deliver on its goals, we’re going to share a few tips we have learned along the way.

Create internal consultants

Many external consultants are very good at what they do but approach the project with an outsider’s view. They don’t always capture the company mindset or accurately assess how certain best practices are going to be adopted.

We have found it’s easier, and much more effective, to use internal consultants. They become your transformation champions who appreciate your culture, knows your unique challenges and can easily identify how digital transformation can overcome them.

For example, where a third party may suggest breaking up a process to make it easier for staff, your insider may know it’s easier for a single person to handle a task from beginning to end.

Stand outside and look in

Many digital transformation projects we have been involved in began from the inside of the business looking out. Concentrating on how long tasks take to complete, how many systems are involved and the impact any transformation has on internal performance.

Never forget to stand outside with the customer and look inwards too.

Will the transformation benefit the user? Does it make their journey easier? Faster? More enjoyable?

If the answer is no, that solution is not the right solution.

Address the fear of change

Many people have a fear of change. We may work in an ever-changing industry, but people like their routines and like doing things the way they have always been done.

A key resistance to change is fear. Whether that’s through the unknown, the requirement to learn new systems or perform tasks differently, it’s a big blocker to transformation.

As is the fear of being replaced. Whether that’s through AI, automation or something else.

Address this fear and resistance to change disappears. The project stands a far higher chance of success and your staff will buy into it much more.

Adapt and overcome

More traditional companies with set hierarchies and distinct areas of responsibility can struggle with digital transformation.

Projects need flexibility and a willingness to assess, adapt and change quickly. They need responsive teams without the traditional chain of command to make rapid decisions and adapt on the fly.

Even if it’s purely temporary, creating a more flexible, flatter structure where stakeholders are empowered to make decisions can speed up and smooth out projects.

There should always be oversight, but at a distance. In a way that doesn’t add blockers or make it difficult to make decisions, even provisionally, for the good of the project.

Be responsive to feedback

Testing, refinement and iterations are all part of digital transformation and businesses should be willing to listen for that to happen.

Whether that’s listening to internal customers or external ones, sometimes the most fundamental changes can be tiggered by the smallest change. A change often identified or requested by customers.

The whole premise of digital transformation is to make businesses leaner and more efficient while delivering improved service.

Soliciting and responding to feedback from all users and stakeholders is part of that.

Digital transformation

There is no doubt that most businesses can benefit from digital transformation. The efficiencies offered by adopting new technologies and ways of working are undeniable.

But concentrate only on the technicalities or processes and you’re ignoring a huge part of a typical project.

The part of the project that will be using the results every day and will be pivotal in its overall success or failure.

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