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Your Guide to Developing a Seamless Digital Transformation Strategy

April 02, 2024
Your Guide to Developing a Seamless Digital Transformation Strategy

If there’s one initiative organizations should focus on within the next few years, it’s digital transformation. New technologies emerge constantly, and existing digital technologies evolve at the same rate. If businesses wish to compete, they must consider a digital transformation strategy. Learn how to develop a digital transformation strategy and the aspects to consider for a successful implementation.

What Is a Digital Transformation Strategy?

Defining digital transformation can be challenging because of the different goals organizations have. With no clear definition, businesses will struggle to be successful with digital transformation.

One way of understanding digital transformation is distinguishing it from business transformation. Other types of business transformation, such as organizational, cultural, or business model transformation, typically end when the company achieves its goal. Since technology is always evolving, digital transformation is ongoing.

Maintaining a competitive advantage is the main motivation behind all digital transformation efforts. By leveraging digital tools and functions, a company can offer a better customer experience, reduce inefficiencies, and support revenue growth.

4 Major Themes of a Digital Transformation Strategy

Business goals for every organization are different, so no two digital transformation strategies will look the same. However, the reasons for digital transformation initiatives are similar, such as adapting to changing consumer demands and behaviors and responding to market disruptions. As such, similar themes appear with all digital transformation strategies and help organizations shift from their current state to a more digital business. These include:

Adapting Work Methodologies

Many organizations have a company-wide preferred approach to work, but this method might not benefit digital transformation. The best approach is giving different teams autonomy to discover and implement the best work methodology for productivity and efficiency.

Again, there is no one solution for work methodology. It depends on the needs and objectives of a team. This means businesses should consider an iterative approach, where teams frequently assess and refine processes.

Ultimately, changing how teams work enables the business to support various types of work across the entire organization. Since the business is more intentional about how teams work, it can also give leadership more knowledge and oversight of department efforts.

Cultivating a Culture of Digital Innovation

Whether responding to a mass event like the COVID-19 pandemic or simply an internal decision to adopt a new technology, digital transformation requires buy-in from all team members. In other words, it involves a cultural change.

What marks a work culture invested in digital transformation? A spirit of innovation. This is a culture where employees at all levels identify opportunities to innovate. It also means all employees can share their ideas for solving challenges and meeting strategic goals.

Embracing Agility

Organizations should expect bumps along the way when implementing any business strategy, especially digital transformation. Given the constant evolution of digital technologies, transformation processes must be reviewed and modified to avoid falling behind.

An ideal way to keep pace with technological advancements is an agile mindset. This means encouraging teams to think creatively and collaborate when solving problems. It gives employees the resources to evaluate and improve business processes. An agile business is resilient and can weather internal and external factors that might impact a transformation strategy.

Modernizing Products and Services

A competitive business understands its customers’ pain points and how to meet — and exceed — their expectations. Similarly, a successful digital transformation strategy will consider how digital capabilities can enhance products and services. Digital tools can improve the development and delivery of products and services, increase sales, and boost the customer experience.

What to Consider Before Planning Your Digital Strategy Roadmap

A successful digital transformation strategy begins with a well-defined roadmap. Research indicates that investment in digital transformation is already high. According to a 2021/22 study from Baker McKenzie, more than 75% of organizations have moved past the planning stage of digital transformation and are either launching digital transformation initiatives or scaling existing processes. However, a 2021 study from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found only about one-third of digital transformation strategies are successful.

These statistics suggest that while digital transformation is accelerating, businesses may lack knowledge about how to develop a digital transformation strategy. It’s for this reason that a digital transformation roadmap is essential.

This roadmap is the result of a careful analysis of your organization’s current state. It establishes why the business is developing a digital transformation strategy and the initiative’s objectives. It also helps align all teams on digital transformation efforts and ensures employees understand their responsibilities.

The following are three key considerations that will help guide your digital strategy roadmap:

Customer Experience

Since an overarching goal of digital transformation is maintaining a competitive advantage, customer satisfaction is crucial. There are multiple techniques for improving the customer experience, and one of the most effective is providing better communication. This may mean investing in innovative communication channels. It can also mean investing more heavily in existing technologies and platforms, like social media sites, to interact with customers.

Risk Management

Digital transformation is likely to involve some degree of risk. The goal is to determine if the benefits of an initiative outweigh the risks. Risk management allows teams to identify possible risks. Then, teams can decide how to reduce the risk or devise alternative strategies.

Continual Improvement

As mentioned, digital transformation is an ongoing process. Unlike with other business transformations, your digital transformation strategy shouldn’t be time-bound. Companies want to leave open these strategies for constant improvement as goals change.

The Key Steps of a Digital Transformation Strategy

With the preceding considerations in mind, your business can begin with a digital transformation strategy. Here are the main steps to include:

  • Determine business goals: Establish the objectives to achieve through digital transformation.
  • Assess technological maturity: Evaluate your current technological state, including infrastructure, processes, and employee skills. Compare technological maturity to market conditions. This will reveal your strengths and areas where you can improve.
  • Invest in the right technologies: Determine the digital capabilities and tools that will most help realize business goals. Some of the most relevant digital technologies include:
    • Generative AI (artificial intelligence)
    • Machine learning
    • Cloud computing
    • The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Foster a digital culture: Share with teams how the digital transformation strategy aligns with the organization’s mission and values, as well as new expectations. This helps develop the behaviors required for a cultural shift.
  • Begin gradually with overall goals in mind: Start with digital transformation on a small scale, such as with just one team. This can help identify challenges and areas for improvement before scaling the initiative for the entire organization. Of course, overall goals should be considered even with the pilot implementation.
  • Set key performance indicators (KPIs): Establish the metrics for measuring the success of your digital transformation strategy. These KPIs will reveal what’s working and what needs improvement.
  • Monitor progress: Evaluate your strategy in view of new digital innovation, market disruptions, and external events. This will show ways to tweak the strategy in response to these developments.

Who Should Be Involved in Digital Transformation Planning?

Although all employees should provide input, a digital transformation strategy begins with the initial planning team. The main players include:

C-Level Executives

As with other business strategies, C-level executives like the CEO must be part of digital transformation planning. In addition to establishing a budget for the initiative, the leadership team facilitates the cultural change necessary for a successful digital transformation. Key drivers at the C-level include internal business stakeholders and external experts in digital transformation.

Change Leaders

If C-level leadership cultivates cultural change, then change leaders drive digital transformation projects. These leaders come from different teams and can include professionals like the Chief Information Office (CIO). They support digital transformation with all processes, from product design to user experience.

Customer Experience Team

Any employees involved in customer experience should be involved in the digital transformation strategy. These team members define customer needs and verify that any technologies adopted during the transformation improve customer experience.

How a Digital Transformation Strategy Impacts a Business

Companies may survive without digital transformation, but they likely won’t accomplish much innovation and certainly won’t be as competitive. Consider the small ways digital transformation impacts daily operations. For example, it can enable businesses to move past manual solutions for recordkeeping, boosting efficiency to focus on more productive and profitable tasks. Other digital tools help businesses make the most of data, using these insights for more informed decision-making.

The following are several ways a successful digital transformation strategy impacts business outcomes:

  • Boosts adaptability and agility
  • Increases innovation to develop new products and services
  • Improves time-to-market and accelerates cycle time
  • Strengthens budgeting and resource allocation
  • Enhances ability to evaluate digital transformation performance and value
  • Connects digital strategy to a clear roadmap for turning goals and objectives into action

Enhance Your Digital Transformation Strategy with MarcomCentral

Investment in digital technology will only grow in the coming years. According to a 2021 study from McKinsey Digital, 64% of businesses believe they need to develop new digital businesses to be competitive in 2024 and beyond. It’s time to begin your digital transformation journey if your organization hasn’t already or reevaluate your strategy to spot areas for improvement.

When exploring digital tools, consider MarcomCentral. Our brand management platform empowers businesses to deliver more consistent and engaging brand experiences across multiple sales channels. With MarcomCentral, you can achieve better digital asset management, clear compliance, workflow automation, and more.

Learn more about how our solutions can support a successful digital transformation strategy. Contact MarcomCentral today to schedule a demo.