Project Management

Why Digital Transformation Matters

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“The Internet has changed everything.”

We often hear this statement, despite the fact that we moved our businesses, social lives and shopping online a long time ago. We live in a digital world, and stating the obvious seems unnecessary.

Therefore, the question of why digital transformation matters might appear outdated, as if it belongs to 1994 rather than the present. We generally perceive digital transformation as something that happened and continues to happen naturally, almost like an evolutionary stage.

However, that perception is not entirely accurate.

But before we dive into what’s not quite right about it, let’s define what digital transformation actually means.

Defining Digital Transformation

Given its broad scope, providing a simple definition can be challenging. There are many interpretations of digital transformation, all similar but still different.

But, for the sake of getting a basic idea, let’s take a look at the ‘four pillars of digital transformation’:

  • Empowering employees
  • Engaging customers
  • Optimizing operations
  • Innovating services and products

At first glance, these seem self-explanatory: to engage customers, a company needs to offer innovative services or products through digital technology. And to do that, it needs to optimize its operations by modernizing the IT infrastructure while carefully nurturing employee motivation and skills.

One might assume that anyone with common sense would already apply these principles to their business. However, data suggests that more than four in ten organizations in North America still rely on manual processes, outdated tools and antiquated technology.

‘So, why does this matter?’ you might ask.

Indeed, this practice may not seem that bad. Who are we to judge if this traditional approach works for certain businesses? Perhaps digital transformation isn’t necessary, at least not for everyone?

Let’s explore this notion further.

The Illusion of Tradition: Why Some Businesses Lag Behind

Digitalization can be ruthless. A perfect example of what digital transformation can do to an entire industry is banking. The evolution is evident: in-person banking was the norm for decades, and then ATMs revolutionized the industry, followed swiftly by the onset of mobile banking.

Nowadays, most of us wouldn’t even consider using a bank that doesn’t offer its own app. This demonstrates how ruthless digitalization can be. You either embrace it or risk being left behind.

Clinging to tradition and the way things have always been done might feel comfortable and wholesome. However, customers readily adopt new technologies, their attention spans are miles shorter than they were a decade ago, and their patience is limited. If their experience with a brand is anything but seamless, they will subconsciously gravitate towards the competition.

While It may seem unfair, companies that resist change will eventually reach a point where they must overhaul their entire business. This is not an overnight transformation.

Employee Engagement: Core of Successful Digital Transformation

Employees play an integral role in the success of digital transformation. Therefore, it is crucial to prepare them for the company’s digital transformation journey by explaining why this massive change is necessary and beneficial for both the company and them, its employees.

Preparing employees for digital transformation is a process that requires careful planning, and planning takes time. When pressed for time, employers are more likely to rush through the process, minimizing the period necessary for employees to understand the need for change, recognize their role in it, and accept it.

The Time Factor: Planning and Executing Digital Transformation

Postponing digital transformation until the last moment is more likely to cause turbulence and pushback when the company can least afford it.

Whether we like it or not, we must face the reality: digital transformation is driven by both competition and customers, and it is rapidly becoming the norm.

The COVID-19 crisis has pushed companies all over the world to accelerate the digitalization of their businesses and they did it much sooner than they would have otherwise, because customer experience must not suffer. Customer is king, and this king has become spoiled and extremely impatient.

Seizing the Future: The Imperative of Timely Digital Transformation

Businesses of all sizes, from large corporations to mom-and-pop stores stand to benefit from embracing digitalization and using it to their own advantage.

Digital transformation doesn’t happen on its own, nor is it something that only others are doing. It is not a passing novelty. Today, seizing the opportunity for digital transformation sooner rather than later can mean the difference between watching one’s business plummet or seeing it skyrocket beyond imagination.

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