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Why Digital Transformation Is A Never-ending Process For Enterprises

Digital transformation has officially become one of the most important trends in the business world over the past few years, especially after the global pandemic arrived at our doorsteps. Most people tend to use this catch-all term to describe the implementation of new technologies, talent, and strategies to improve business operations. However, while that is true in many respects, the term digital transformation implies that there is some sort of endpoint to the process.


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In reality, digital transformation is better off viewed as continuous transformation. That is to say, it should be a dynamic strategy that changes as technology is updated and customer behaviors inevitably shift.

Nevertheless, most CEOs fail to recognize this and regard digital transformation as a short-term strategy to improve existing operations or, at the very least, bring their technology up to pace with their competition. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why 73 percent of businesses failed to generate any commercial value from their digital transformation efforts, squandering $900 billion in expenses each year.

Covid the catalyst

Many of our standard business practices have become redundant as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. From how consumers and employees interact to how much stock we can afford to supply, everything we do now must be evaluated through the prism of social distancing and government regulations. Global supply chains have been disrupted, and most businesses have had to significantly rethink their operations to meet new demands, emphasizing the need for new digital modes of operation.

However, it’s important to note that the necessity for digital transformation was already looming large for almost every business globally, even before the pandemic - regardless of the industry or sector. With the digital world moving at the pace it does, many companies had not yet exploited the technologies that were already available to them, meaning that they were leaving a lot of value on the table.

Covid simply highlighted many businesses’ digital shortcomings. Those that failed to put measures in place quickly buckled under the pressure. Now, it seems as though it has transformed business forever, bringing about years (maybe even decades) of change in a matter of months.

Plan for long term success instead of survival

Once the pandemic hit, we were all forced to check our assumptions. Businesses that were once reluctant to offer remote working to their employees were left with little choice but to adapt. Furthermore, companies that predominantly operated through brick and mortar operations were left without any means to generate revenue, forcing a dramatic rethink of strategies, typically resulting in some sort of shift to digital channels of consumer engagement.

With that said, most of these strategies were born out of desperation. They were survival measures rather than carefully curated digital transformation initiatives. Otherwise stated, most of them are short-term fixes.

Regardless of global events, c-suite executives must consider digital transformation as a switch to continuous transformation in order to enjoy the benefits of current and future technology. The pandemic has only served to highlight the need (and potential) of digitizing products and services, as well as the value of customer engagement. If anything, it showed us the importance of companies developing the capacity to move quickly and adapt to changing consumer patterns, seemingly at the drop of a hat.

Digital transformation isn’t just about the tech

While there’s no disputing that digital technologies provide opportunities for increased efficiency and customer engagement across the board, it isn’t the best way to think about digital transformation.

The fact is that if employees don’t have the appropriate attitude to change and existing organizational processes are flawed, digital transformation will only exacerbate those issues. This is one of the main reasons why so many of these transformations fail. Your company could have the most up-to-date tech in the world, but if you don’t have the right people in place to take advantage of it, it will hold no intrinsic value to the business.

Leadership

Leaders must adapt to the pace of change and continually rethink how they can create and deliver value in a digital economy. It is a business strategy, first and foremost. Furthermore, they must understand that this is a continual process that must be ingrained in the organization’s strategic planning, and they must be the ones to lead the change from the top-down.

Adapting to consumer needs and habits

Consumer habits are a key driver of change transformation, therefore digital transformation must be considered in this perspective. Nowadays, customers expect consistency and immediacy in their products and services, as well as personalized offerings across numerous channels. All of this has been empowered by digital technology, and companies must devise strategies to meet these growing demands.

Company culture

Companies should focus on improving their strategic and operational frameworks far more than their IT infrastructure in order to adapt to the digital age. Organizations must embrace and invest in skill sets and procedures that enable them to continuously adapt to the unknown. To take advantage of new digital technologies, businesses must create a culture that embraces change and emphasizes employee upskilling and reskilling.

Final word

Digital transformation is a never-ending process. Instead of being a retaliation to Covid-19, or even a survival strategy, it should be viewed as a continuous improvement project that assists companies in extracting the most value out of the technology they have at their disposal, and then finding methods to supplement these systems with the company’s human resources.

After all, digital transformation aims to increase efficiency and acquire a competitive advantage over your competitors. So, why would you ever want to stop?

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