Every company wants to be seen as innovative—one that moves fast generates great results, and makes employees and customers happy. A past Boston Consulting Group survey reported that innovation is one of the top three priorities of most organizations. But innovation is complex for most organizations. Legacy systems, processes, and wrong attitudes can hinder digital transformation efforts and the ability to turn ideas into tangible products.
For fear of losing out on opportunities, many businesses are accelerating their digital transformation programs. They are scrapping old methods and processes to become more innovative in disruptive and fast-paced marketplaces. Businesses everywhere are working hard to transform from being just good to be the best, as this will determine their success in the future.
Companies like Netflix and Apple have achieved success in recent times with the help of technology. They are good examples of how a successful digital transformation strategy leads to industry innovation.
What are digital transformation and innovation?
Digital transformation is the integration of technology into all business areas. It changes how a company operates and delivers value to its employees and customers. The transformation process improves business operations and helps organizations meet the ever-changing demands of disruptive marketplaces.
Constantly evolving technology puts traditional business practices to the test, and companies must recognize technology’s potential and adapt.
Digital transformation can:
- Improve operational efficiency
- Change a company’s culture and image
- Broaden the company’s reach
Innovation is the reimagining of processes, products, and services that already exist. It can’t happen without transformation. Once transformation takes place and a new reality is established, innovation challenges the new norms. For instance, when social media was introduced, it changed the marketing realm forever. It became easier for brands to advertise and for information to change hands. Some brands came up with unique ways of marketing on social media, boosting their profits.
The differentiating factor between digital transformation and innovation is speed. Transformation takes time because processes and people must move from one state to another. But innovation is usually a reaction to unexpected occurrences, new knowledge, and industry and market changes. It requires collaboration and communication, and steps must be taken to succeed. Innovation keeps happening long after the transformation has taken place.
Digital transformation has become the norm, but why isn’t innovation happening?
Lack of organizational change
Organizations must apply the right strategies for digital transformation to give birth to innovation. First, they should carefully analyze their processes and define their digital transformation goals. Next, they should align these goals with their culture, vision, and objectives. Digital transformation programs are supposed to move businesses forward, but many companies embark on the journey to keep up with the competition. This shouldn’t be the case.
The organizational structure of a company affects its market opportunities. If employees feel motivated and valued, innovation will skyrocket because of the recognition and support they receive from management. Organizational change is essential for business growth and development. Change helps companies gain a competitive edge and remain relevant in their business environments. It supports innovation and upskilling and leads to better business opportunities. It can also improve staff morale.
Organizational change leads to better business models
Recent research reveals that almost 70 percent of organizations have to change severally every five years. For a company to remain competitive, it must embrace change. But organizational change is uncomfortable because it leads to new business models, processes, and value chains. But on the flip side, it allows companies to take advantage of new opportunities and develop new products and services. A company becomes more competitive and effective and a better place to work.
Digital transformation enables new business models that prepare organizations for the future. But they must foster an innovation mindset to create added value for customers and employees. Innovative companies continually generate viable ideas because they are passionate about exploring new trends, opportunities, and possibilities.
Change management is necessary for innovation
Change management helps employees get used to the new normal. Design the process to fit the specific needs of your organization. When you properly execute an organizational change management program, your digital transformation initiatives will be successful.
Launch training and development programs to help employees understand and use new technologies and processes. Well-trained employees feel comfortable using new tools and processes and are willing to change. They can use the latest technology to develop solutions that benefit their company.
Digital transformation can be disruptive to organizational culture. Organizational change management minimizes this disruption and helps employees buy into the change. It paves the way for a more adaptive, change-friendly culture that stands the test of time.
How does digital transformation enable innovation?
To survive in an ever-changing marketplace, an enterprise must be agile and make fast adjustments in times of uncertainty. Digital transformation tools support innovation, helping companies adapt and respond to changing situations in their environments.
Digital transformation allows employees to focus on meaningful work, an essential value generator in any organization. Predictive analytics and reporting tools allow for process improvements and greater decision-making efficiency. Cloud-based software allows teams to participate in innovation from everywhere and in real-time.
A digitally transformed company doesn’t innovate blindly. It makes informed decisions based on solid data. By simplifying complex processes, digital tools help organizations streamline processes, increase efficiency, boost productivity, and save money.
How to enable innovation through digital transformation
Choose a top-down approach
Many organizations fail at digital transformation because they first deploy a solution and then look for a problem that fits. This can never work. First, identify the business problems and then choose a great solution.
Clearly understand your objectives and the steps required to reach your goals. Digital transformation is different for every organization, so know your needs before you get a tool to fast-track the process.
Involve all stakeholders
It’s important to involve stakeholders in the digital transformation process, especially team leaders. Research shows that organizations with the support of their chief digital officer are 1.6 times more likely to succeed at digital transformation. Get all leaders on board as you prepare for transformation. Getting stakeholder buy-in can make the difference between failure and success.
Empower employees with a low-code or no-code platform
A company with an innovative culture has motivated employees, higher productivity, and high-quality products and services. When employees know their ideas matter, they contribute more. To create this culture, management must be proactive. They must recognize employees’ contributions, welcome feedback, and reward risk-taking.
One way to do this is by empowering employees through a no-code or low-code platform. Tech-savvy employees who are subject matter experts can create their own tech solutions instead of depending on IT. Low-code and no-code tools allow non-developers to build solutions that benefit their departments and organizations. IT oversees the entire process, ensuring the end products are up to standard and comply with regulations.
Adopt an upskilling culture
Learning and innovation work in synchrony. Upskilling can increase employees’ productivity and efficiency, enhance their problem-solving abilities, and improve their quality of work. It also makes employees more adaptable to taking on new responsibilities and challenges. Upskilling fosters technological adaptation and innovation. PWC’s 23rd Global CEO Survey revealed that most top CEOs agree that upskilling programs result in greater innovation and expedite digital transformation.
Instil the knowledge and skills employees need to improve their job performance. You can create programs and encourage employees to learn alongside their regular duties. An upskilling culture pays back over time.
Innovative businesses are nimble. They follow procedures and policies but respond quickly to changing conditions—like major global events or new business opportunities. Innovation flourishes in an agile organization as employees know their organization can easily adapt.
The Covid-19 pandemic showed us the importance of quickly adopting new technologies. Digitally-constrained companies in contact-intensive sectors saw a greater decline in sales. Research shows that digital-first companies are 64% more likely to achieve their business goals. Innovative organizations know the developments in their industries and respond quickly to boost profits. Their employees have more time to collaborate and innovate.
Unlock excellence in every step of your digital journey
Many businesses no longer exist because they failed to innovate—Blockbuster, General Motors, and Kodak are just a few. Businesses that don’t innovate don’t last. After undergoing a digital transformation, don’t be complacent. Keep challenging yourself, take risks, and generate ideas that will future-proof your business.
With Kissflow, executing your digital transformation plan is as simple as ever. The platform takes a low-code, no-code approach to powering a digital transformation switch for your organization. It's the perfect way to bring business users on board with your digital transformation plan without tension between them and IT.
Try Kissflow to enhance your innovation capabilities and quickly identify business opportunities.
Read More on Digital Transformation:
1. What is Digital Transformation? Definition & Types
2. Why does Digital Transformation Fail?
3. Enabling Digital Transformation with Cloud Technology
4. 9 Digital Transformation trends to follow in 2023
5. Gartner's insights on Digital Transformation market growth