By 2025, the digital transformation market will grow to $1,009.8 billion. So far, 70% of organizations have launched a digital strategy or are working on one. To succeed in digitization initiatives, your organization must embrace a change process with a unique vision, attitude, and leadership skills. According to Rodney Zemmel, Global leader, McKinsey Digital, “the point is not just to become digital, but to generate value for your business.”
Agile leadership is the foundation of a successful, sustainable digital transformation and this needs hyperawareness, informed decision-making, and fast execution. With these capabilities, your company can seize new market opportunities, and act proactively against emerging threats.
Transforming your company progressively requires essential changes in your culture and leadership style. But how can digital transformation leaders deliver enterprise growth and agility?
Understanding Tech-Savvy Customers and Employees
McKinsey research reveals that even for digitally savvy sectors like tech and media, less than one-third of all digital transformation efforts succeed globally.
For success in digital transformation, understanding your company’s business model, processes, and supporting technology aren’t enough. You need to have a deep connection with the customer.
Chuck Magro, CEO of Corteva used a customer-experience approach to roll out digital products and capabilities with a digital platform that addressed customer needs. Have customer-focused goals and determine how technology can help you serve customers better. With this, you can pick the right technology to truly transform your company.
The key to the success or failure of any digital transformation initiative is human resources, but tech-savvy employees are even more fundamental. An MIT Sloan Management Review report reveals that 93% of employees across regions and industries think digital savviness is essential to success.
Understanding tech-savvy employees can help leaders maximize their skills and gain new data-driven insights. Create diverse project teams intentionally, and train tech-savvy employees to become data analytics subject experts. They can combine new data-analysis knowledge with existing business process knowledge and be at the forefront of your digital journey.
Bridging Business Models, Goals, Stakeholders, Customers, and Employees
Successful digital transformation can only happen through large-scale investments in reinventing your business model. No company, industry, employee, or stakeholder stands alone.
Similarly, transformation is not limited to a single organizational function; it requires different organizational functions to work together. Your digital transformation journey needs to involve various stakeholders, customers, and employees.
Chuck Magro, CEO of Corteva created a single platform that integrated all services. He elevated digital processes and focused them on how to best serve customers.
To bridge the gap between all players:
- Enable a better digital relationship: Customers expect uniform brand engagement across all social and digital channels. Not only does going digital improve customer experience but directly impacts revenue growth.
- Streamline your processes: Digitizing gives you an edge and makes you relevant in competitive markets.
- Digitize communication channels: Moving company communication into the digital space increases collaboration among employees and helps them work closely from different locations.
- Modify your approach to selling: Simply marketing products and services is not enough. Use technology effectively to customize products, upgrade the selling experience, and boost satisfaction levels. Go further and boost satisfaction levels by allowing your clients to customize their products.
Good Communication of Goals
The biggest hindrance to widespread organizational transformation is employee reluctance to accept new technologies or policies. This is partly because of poorly communicated goals.
Digital transformation leaders have a responsibility to foster enthusiasm among employees. Communicating early and frequently increases confidence, and builds trust, and transparency. Share the organization’s strategic purposes and help employees understand how the organization’s purposes align with their goals and productivity.
Communication inspires your team to change their ways of working, behavior, and, eventually, the company culture. Excellent communication also encourages continuous reflection and feedback at all company levels. Collect both employee and customer feedback, analyze it and use it for organizational and individual development.
Clear communication and realistic expectations are critical to ensuring your team works together towards a shared goal.
Hiring Skilled People
Digitization is more than just technology. Transforming people, processes, and technology is the quickest way to digital transformation. Having the right mix of people who understand the current organization and can envision what it can be will drive digitization. But 53% of survey respondents cited their inability to identify needed skills as their No. 1 hindrance to workforce transformation.
Successful leaders can strategically identify, attract, recruit, and retain exceptional talent. They can focus on the traits and capabilities that go beyond a traditional environment and win at digital transformation.
Top CEO, Karl Johnny Hersvik, of Aker BP says, “You get good people by demonstrating you’re working on tough problems and changing the world.” He dedicates time to recruiting top talent for the company.
You can also identify “digitally ready,” in-house talent with skills like influencing others, and building relationship networks, who can take active roles in the transformation. Make changes in your company’s culture and processes to attract top talent, and create flexible career pathways, so employees can progress professionally.
To draw the people and culture his company needed, Ted Doheny, President, and CEO of Sealed Air presented the company as a $5 billion start-up, made investments in start-up technologies, and joined the MIT incubator program.
Adopting Digital Solutions
Digital business is the future of work, and humans require technology to perform their jobs well. Dependent on the organization, you may be looking to adopt new technology. To avoid silos between new and legacy technology, thoughtfully transition from one to the other, and functionally align your organizational functions.
Rather than viewing it as a threat, help your teams understand that digital transformation is worth the investment. It can reduce their workload and add more value to the company. Demonstrate to your employees the value they can contribute to transformation efforts.
Flexibility and agility are key must-haves for your digital transformation strategy. With an agile mindset, your team will adapt and improve quicker, thus fixing problems faster. They will manage risks better, improve productivity, and inspire innovation.
Building Digital Leaders network
According to Robin Gareiss, CEO at Metrigy, assembling the right project team is the single most important component of your digital transformation strategy. Transformation is a team sport. Consider each team member’s experience, education, and ability to influence or work with others.
Agile leaders know that leadership can be found everywhere within the organization. They need to create opportunities for people to lead themselves and others. This helps you sustain a cultural change that spreads throughout the organization and eventually becomes the new norm.
Avoiding Transformation Fatigue
It's no secret that a successful digital transformation can alter your organization's culture. But as with any other initiative, it can create confusion and a sense of uncertainty within the organization. Transformation fatigue can set in, especially after several workflow disruptions, unsuccessful change initiatives, and new technology learning curves.
In the opinion of Alain Bejjani, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim, “To maintain momentum toward long-term goals, it’s important to avoid ‘transformation fatigue.” You can do this by:
Set Clear Goals
Meaningful short- and long-term objectives give your team members mile markers for progress. Incremental improvements provide better ROI and lead to a successful culmination of digital transformation.
Recalibrate and Realign
To capture all available value and keep your team excited, continuously reexamine your digital agenda and reinvigorate your initiatives and project teams. CEOs should redefine the broader architecture and the boundaries where value can come from. Make your employees accountable for adopting digital solutions and delivering targeted value.
Measure important metrics and set a standard; this makes you think through your results. Regardless of its scope and type, digital transformation relies on projects with a definite beginning and end. Managing what you don’t measure is next to impossible.
Assessing the impact of digital transformation and identifying symptoms of fatigue helps you recognize the issues affecting progress. Watch out for lower employee engagement scores and productivity levels, behavioral issues, and unplanned absences.
Celebrate Short-Term Wins
A large-scale transformation effort can take several months or years. It often requires completing several interdependent projects, large and small. Celebrating short-term wins during the journey builds employees' trust and faith in your change efforts. Pausing to reflect also allows you to get crucial feedback on the validity of your visions and strategies. It may also win over team members who are unsure about supporting the process.
Merely implementing technology doesn't cut it. Partner it with analyzing key performance indicators to continuously track business effectiveness and customer insights. Understand what is the ROI of Digital transformation and define the required KPIs to measure it.
Select effective key performance indicators and use them to determine the return on your investment. Be clear on what metrics to track and establish a process for doing this easily and reporting on progress. Quantifying your return on investment helps you prove the success of your digital transformation efforts.
Cecilia Edwards, partner with digital transformation consultancy firm Everest Group recommends using a portfolio view to determine how well your digital investments are performing. Review the cost impact, operational impact (e.g., productivity improvements), and strategic impact (e.g., revenue growth).
Consider measuring all digital transformation progress with one tool, so you can follow progress keenly and intervene immediately if there are anomalies.
How can the right leaders create a successful strategy?
Implementing digital transformation initiatives successfully goes beyond digitizing company processes and adding to your technology portfolio. It requires fostering a culture shift, new ways of learning, and aligning talent, strategy, and resources throughout your organization. To create a successful digital strategy:
Build for Speed and Allow Experimentation
To stay competitive in today’s world, your organization must adopt digital tools and a culture that fosters continuous advancement through experimentation. This, and tolerance of failure, are important ways to collect invaluable feedback.
Excellently performing companies, often review data, share findings, and reallocate talent more frequently than their peers. Speed up your digital initiatives by extracting lessons quickly and applying those lessons to implement new functionality.
Have a Transformation vision
Compelling leadership with a strong vision is the foundation for successful digital transformation. To succeed in transformation efforts, disseminate your vision and strategies frequently and widely across the organization–it secures buy-in.
Great leaders present their vision and explain why the team should strive to create that future. Doing this helps your organizational members understand how they fit into the process. A transformative vision helps you develop the right change strategy and clarifies the organization’s general direction.
Develop a Roadmap
Agile leaders are those who build a shared understanding of the company’s purpose, encouraging employees to commit emotionally. Developing a digital transformation strategy and roadmap aligned to your strategy is an excellent opportunity to rejuvenate people and make them feel involved.
Don't make the mistake of addressing adoption and scaling issues well after the transformation has begun. Invest time in ensuring the people using the solutions—from customers to employees—take part in the development process. Clarify governance and decision rights, and establish clear goals, but give your team the freedom to determine how best to deliver on them.
Become an Agile Leader Today
Transforming into a digital enterprise is a massive undertaking, a journey with no finish line, but with unlimited possibilities and gains. The changes you will make as part of your transformation will traverse technology, people, and processes. Done right, your business will be resilient in a fast-moving digital future and better aligned with customer demands.
Digital transformation leaders are experts who leverage digital opportunities to bring strategic business innovations that help companies boost ROI, scale, and succeed. To ace digital transformation, you need to tap into the expertise of technology providers.
Let Kissflow help you make the most of your digital transformation. With our low-code no code work platform, you can automate processes and create customized apps to boost productivity in business. It's a robust tool that allows users to manage projects and modify workflows with little to no technical knowledge. Replace legacy systems, and accelerate your IT team’s time to develop and empower your citizen developers with Kissflow today.
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