Digital movements started as add-ons to increase the efficiency of existing processes. However, the focus slowly shifted toward optimization and the free flow of data. Today, the term digital transformation attracts all the hype, and rightly so. The modern business environment demands effective ways to implement plans that generate value and eradicate existing bottlenecks.
That’s exactly what an effective digital transformation plan can achieve.
Not only that, but it also allows decision-makers to keep an eye on the bigger picture, isolate risks, and finally capitalize on hidden business innovation opportunities.
So, what exactly does an effective digital transformation strategy entails, and how does it ensure that it aligns with the long-term and short-term aims of the company? The following text will take a look at that.
Stay ahead with a strong digital transformation approach
Before getting on to the how of any digital transformation journey, it’s important to understand the why. What is it exactly that digital transformation brings to the table, and how can it help a business?
While the specifics naturally are different for every business, there are a few commonalities when it comes to the benefits of adopting a great digital transformation plan.
Here are a few examples:
1 – Higher efficiency and performance
One of the first things that change with digital transformation is overall efficiency and performance. Going digital allows the people at the top to make data-driven decisions and stay quick on their feet. They’ll know if something’s working or not sooner and can make better decisions at the right time. Thereby impacting the performance on both macro and micro levels.
2 – Risk elimination or mitigation
The competitive market today leaves little to no room for mistakes. So, ensuring seamless interaction between different departments and streamlining data transfer is important. Digital sophistication makes this question moot as systems remain free from human intervention, which significantly lowers the risk of many issues.
Some risks can never be eliminated. However, effective digitization can make it easier to anticipate and mitigate them. An effective plan B or C based on the latest insights and trends can give any business an edge over its competitors in uncertain situations. The easiest way for any business to achieve that is by going digital.
3 – Enhanced transparency
Almost all industry experts agree that modern workplaces need to be transparent to perform at their best. Unnecessarily restricting the flow of data introduces new inefficiencies in the workflow and can significantly impact performance. Moreover, the modern workforce also demands to be kept in the loop, and a lack of transparency can impact team morale.
Digital solutions for businesses can eliminate this issue from the core by significantly enhancing the overall transparency across the organization. Doing so allows workers to access everything they need and significantly improves team morale.
4 – Better compliance
One thing that’s significantly changed in the past few years is the regulatory requirements for all industries. From sourcing to disposal, each step has countless regulations for multiple sectors that are not accustomed to enhanced oversight.
Businesses with an effective digital transformation plan can quickly adapt to the changes in requirements and effectively ensure compliance with all regulations. Doing so can save any business from hefty fines and improve its credibility.
5 – Improved quality
A streamlined flow of data from top to bottom enables effective decision-makers oversight and allows better progress monitoring. Leaders can quickly recognize patterns, capitalize on different opportunities, and continuously work on improving the process, which directly impacts the value delivered by the business and improves the quality of its customers.
In the end, every business exists to facilitate its customers and fulfil their needs. Businesses ahead in their digital transformation journey can do all that more effectively, giving them a competitive edge in the market.
The 4 components of a digital transformation journey
When it comes to an effective digital transformation plan, there are a lot of pre and post-requisites. However, the most important ones are the people, approach, technology, and KPIs that make up the components of the digital transformation project.
- The Right Team: No amount of technology can bring change without the right people behind it. Businesses need to find the right balance of members to start their digital transformation journey correctly and ensure that it remains on the right track.
- The Right Strategy: Once the right people are decided, the next challenge is to adopt the right strategy for the process. There is a high chance that the effort can steer away from the right direction without the right strategy.
- The Right Technology: Digital transformation can’t happen without the right tools at your disposal. For any effective strategy, the right tool is a foundation and guiding light throughout the digital transformation journey.
- The Right KPIs: A huge part of any digital transformation plan is monitoring progress and making data-driven decisions to ensure success. However, the question remains of which parameters to observe and control. KPIs do that for most businesses and primarily reflect the overall performance of all the teams. Setting the right KPIs initially can go a long way in ensuring a sustainable digital transformation initiative.
How to digitize internal operations with the right digital transformation plan
As stated before, the specifics of any digital transformation plan are according to the needs of the businesses, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are still multiple common elements that every excellent digital transformation initiative will have. It all starts with identifying the right opportunities, implementing the plan, and optimizing the execution based on the insights from the first two steps. By ensuring that any new digitization plan has these elements, businesses can guarantee an excellent start and continue riding that momentum.
Step 1: Identify
1 – Identify opportunities to automate: It’s impossible to digitize everything in one go. A segmented approach is always better, and it’s best to start with areas that have the strongest potential for optimization through digital transformation. It’s also important to document all the expected benefits of digital transformation and identify how they align with the long-term and short-term goals of the company.
2 – Identify the right tools: The right tool can create all the difference in the world when it comes to implementing the changes brought on by digital transformation. The best choice for any organization is a versatile tool that can grow with the business and is intuitive enough to be understood by everyone.
3 – Identify the right people: Digital transformation works best when its effects are immediate and impactful. Identify the departments and teams where it will have the most effect. Understanding the importance of the right balance at this stage is important. The right combination of external and internal stakeholders in the initial stage can help the business identify the right transformation strategy in the implementation phase.
Step 2: Implement
1 – Start the transformation from the top: Digital transformation is one of those concepts that work best when they are implemented with a top-to-bottom approach. The senior management plays an instrumental role in selling the transformation to the employees and the better understanding they have; the better acceptance and commitment digital transformation will receive from the businesses.
2 – Use high-value projects as the starting point: The best practice is to start the digital transformation journey from high-value projects with the most impact. As time progresses, the improvement can spread across the organization based on priority, impact, available costs, etc.
3 – Embrace the changes that come with digitization: Digital transformation brings about a lot of changes within the organization and its culture that some traditional offices may have a hard time adjusting to. Concepts like flexibility and transparency are no longer optional for digitization as they provide much-needed morale boost and strengthen team commitment.
Step 3: Enhance
- 1 – Measure impact at the right intervals: It’s imperative to ensure that the implemented digital transformation initiatives are working properly. That can’t happen without a proper monitoring plan. Businesses must investigate the performance at pre-determined intervals to measure the performance and effectiveness to decide the next course of action based on concrete data.
- 2 – Reinvest in digital transformation initiatives: Cost is among the primary constraints for implementing any digital transformation initiative. However, the benefits and gains of adopting it far outweigh the costs. One way to get around this issue is to reinvest all the gains from implementing digital transformation in phases on digitizing even more.
- 3 – Optimize workflow for better performance: The final step of the digital transformation journey is to eliminate inefficiencies and optimize the existing workflow. Using data from the implementation of any digital transformation phase can help businesses make more informed choices and mitigate all the general risks
Some established approaches for making a successful digital transformation plan
While it's true that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to implementing any digital transformation plan. A few approaches can pretty much work with any business after a little tweaking because of their versatility and generalizability.
Here are the top 3 digital transformation approaches that are common in the market.
This simple and effective plan started as a tool for marketing and sales but evolved into something versatile for almost all industries. It's understandable, easily implementable, and can be scaled according to the needs of the business. SOSTAC is an acronym that signifies the six stages of any digital transformation plan. Here's what they mean:
- Situation Analysis: Reveals the current condition regarding all the business stakeholders, customer channels, and the overall capabilities of the business
- Objectives: Indicates where the business wants to be after a certain time. Establishes the end goals and the most important KPIs for the business
- Strategy: Establishes how exactly the business can achieve its set objectives. This is a surface-level plan that focuses on the bigger picture and sets the overall direction for the business.
- Tactics: This is an extension of the strategy but a more detailed one. This stage focuses on the micro level and deals with the intricacies of the plan to fulfill the objectives
- Action: Further details about who’ll be responsible for specific tactics. What are the main priorities and the overall dependencies for the business? This is an important step as it defines the overall roles and brings some kind of accountability into the picture
- Control: You can't just make a plan, implement it, and hope to see a change. Measuring performance and taking corrective actions is an integral part of any execution. How can the business measure the identified KPIs, how aligned are the business goals and the KPIs, and what are the actions necessary to keep that alignment or change it if required?
The RACE Framework
The RACE framework is another effective technique focusing more on monitoring and taking corrective actions at the right time. This, too, started as a marketing-only framework but quickly evolved into something versatile that can improve the effectiveness of digital transformation in all sectors.
The name RACE is actually an acronym that indicates the four stages of the plan. It stands for Reach, Act, Convert and Engage. The framework helps businesses establish a connection with their customers throughout the lifecycle and get actionable data directly from the source that matters; the customers.
Most of the frameworks that assist in digital transformation have similar fundamentals and a few unique elements. Here are a few qualities that make the RACE framework stand out from the crowd.
- Action Oriented: It focuses on the action and tactics that can quickly and effectively bring change in the organization.
- Customer Focused: Customers are the most important entity for any business, and the RACE framework focuses on them by following an established customer-relationship lifecycle. This enhances the customer experience and naturally improves the overall standing of the business.
- Performance-centric: Another unique element of the RACE framework is its focus on actionable results through performance evaluations. The framework defines KPIs and uses analytics to track them effectively.
SMART is a simple, yet incredibly effective, way of establishing meaningful goals for any organization. This broad framework gives a direction to the business and allows it to focus on the bigger picture. SMART is an acronym that describes all the qualities any goal must have. Here's what it means:
- Specific: Objectives must be precise and clear enough for everyone to understand. This allows all stakeholders to understand what needs to be done clearly.
- Measurable: The objectives must be quantifiable to ensure that impact can be measured based on time.
- Achievable: The targets need to be realistic and doable. There is no point in making objectives that are impossible to achieve from the get-go.
- Relevant: The digital transformation objectives are a small cog in the overall machine, which is your business. The objectives must align with the business goals. Otherwise, they'll lose their importance in the company.
- Time-Bound: Objectives need to have a clear end date. Anything vague never allows proper monitoring and may even make the stakeholders complacent.
Make digital transformation effective with Kissflow
When it comes to effective digital transformation, having the right tool can make a lot of difference. Kissflow is an all-in-one solution that fulfills the digital transformation needs of small businesses and enterprises. This is one of the few tools in the market that can grow with a business and continue to deliver exactly what's needed in the digital transformation journey.
Kissflow offers the low-code no-code approach for digital transformation, which gives its users all the benefits of ready-made plans and customized options. With the low-code approach, customers can address all their problems and deliver effective solutions quickly. The best part is that all of that doesn't even need heavy coding skills. Drag and drop the features you need, and your effective solution is ready for deployment.
That's not all! Kissflow believes in making things more powerful by simplifying them and has many effective solutions for various business needs. Check out the platform's versatile services and get started on your journey to get ahead of the curve with the power of simplicity.