Go digital or die: The race for digital transformation

Nothing is more satisfying than seeing glacier corps scrambling to catch up to small companies reinventing the status quo across multiple industries. Small nimble teams have been swallowing up opportunities to do the same things better and cheaper, and gaining a lot of momentum as a result.

Digital transformation is about adapting products, services, and internal processes to take full advantage of the powerful hardware/software solutions at your disposal. It’s about using the power of digital to completely transform every facet that runs your organization. It’s about thinking smarter and delivering more value to your consumers, and it’s about using digital to reduce expenses and improve profit/loss margins across the board.

Not least of all, digital transformation is about remaining competitive in a landscape that has shifted and continues to shift in fundamental ways every year.

Although the term has gone on to include digital marketing initiatives, the original term has been largely about the changes required in leadership and business models to address fundamental shifts in the way we solve problems with technology.

Your toolkit

  • Virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality
  • Artificial intelligence, machine learning
  • Sensor technology
  • Biometrics (palm vein, finger vein, facial recognition, iris)
  • Blockchain
  • Social media
  • Wearables
  • DevOps

The list goes on, but you get the idea. Find cost-effective ways to integrate hardware and software to empower your operations.

Get ready to get uncomfortable

By far the biggest hurdles to digital transformation are management and culture. Specifically, the inability for some managers to adapt to new ways of thinking that take advantage of digital as a tool to solve problems in more efficient ways. Corporate cultures are typically slow to react to disruptive changes, and this can mean slow progress and the ability for more agile companies to capitalize on technical advantages and gain marketshare.

Every stage of the digital transformation process uncovers challenges that teams must be willing to overcome. This is why it’s important for managers and c-level executives to commit to seeing transformations through to the end. A large component of the transformation process is discomfort, and the ability to tolerate it in the face of ongoing challenges is paramount. Sometimes the changes with the greatest opportunity for return present the greatest risk or greatest change to the status quo.

Leaders need to know why they are embarking on a digital transformation initiative, and they need to set clear targets and measure progress against KPIs. Any less than this is a recipe for failure. Initiatives that are abandoned due to improper change management, transitions, lack of vision can and have cost companies millions of dollars without delivering on initial expectations.

Determining ROI

Digital transformations often demand significant investment, especially when existing practices have not been redefined in several years (or decades). Ultimately, the reasons for going digital must make sense financially, and they almost always do when executed correctly. Understanding the financial model driving your decisions will help your team commit to making it happen.

Pilots are a good foot in the door

If you do not have the power to initiate sweeping transformations for your organization, look for small wins to demonstrate the potential for improved efficiency. Then, prove that the ROI was worth the investment in technology or time/effort expended, and demonstrate how it could be rolled out on a larger scale to garner significant benefits.

Get creative. Here are some use cases.

Digital transformation can be used to improve any number of conditions. You need creativity to deliver on the potential 

  • Reporting automation
  • Automating or speeding up the underwriting process
  • Data gathering and analytics
  • Supply chain cost reduction
  • Giving teams access to better and more relevant company information

The transformation mindset is something you should cultivate via mindfulness and an understanding of operational efficiency. If this is something you want to practice, start by taking daily notes with your observations on what you and your team are doing, what seems redundant, and what options there are to streamline or automate them.

The goal behind digital transformation is to empower individuals so that they spend less time on menial tasks and more time developing and implementing strategies to win.

Interested in learning more? Contact our team today.

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