Digital Transformation is a Journey – Not a Destination
Over the past couple of years, the conversation around Digital Transformation has gained serious momentum. Everywhere you look, almost everyone is talking about digitally transforming their organization.
However, with so much talk around it, it won’t be off the mark to say that digital transformation is perhaps becoming one of the most hyped buzzwords and tech trends in the industry.
Before mayhem breaks loose, let me clarify a few things, the first of them being that digital transformation in itself is an evolutionary concept. It can be equated to a moving target and, hence, needs steady evaluation to make sure that the steps taken towards this initiative remain relevant and do not become redundant.
Digital transformation – it’s an all or nothing game. Or is it?
The conversation around digital transformation has become like an ‘all or nothing’ battlefield. The truth is that digital transformation is not about getting the latest and shiniest new technology into your organization. This is not only because it is not always a viable option, but since the pace of technology has increased phenomenally, there’s a shiny new thing on the horizon almost every other day.
Digital transformation has to leverage the power of technology but with a purpose. The purpose of digital transformation is to leverage technology to make operations and processes more streamlined and uniform. It aims to eliminate waste – whether it is a wasteful process or time wasted on certain processes and operations.
Digital transformation, if you look closely, is a very democratic concept – it is for the people (customers) and by the people (organization’s employees). And it does not need to be as complicated as projected as well.
Heptagon, for example, developed an app for one of India’s leading business services provider. The app’s objective was to transform the manual employee onboarding program that was time-consuming, effort-intensive, and sometimes error-prone. It lacked candidate engagement throughout the onboarding process, and data collection and data management were disorganized. Our solution was that of a Paperless Onboarding Platform (POP). This unique mobile-based digital onboarding and document submission platform took care of all the onboarding challenges of the organization, simplified a complex business process, increased candidate engagement, and reduced processing error. The cost of onboarding also reduced by 80%!
This, I would call a solid case of digital transformation. This was just one process that made a huge impact.
For success in digital transformation initiatives, it thus helps to weigh in on a few other things along with the technology. Here’s a laundry list
“Going where no man has gone before…” Pretty much like Star Trek, a lot of things about digital transformation is about shaking things up, moving away from the comfort of familiarity, and taking some bold steps and bold actions. It is about realizing with clarity that certain processes, platforms, practices, and technologies are no longer serving the greater good of the organization and then decisively moving on to changing them.
It is only by thinking big and thinking bold that organizations can unlock the value of transformation and unlock hidden opportunities. Such a thought process also needs to be in place since digital transformation never really ends.
The agile software development process focuses on short sprints that deliver value. Similarly, digital transformation initiatives will also see greater success if organizations adopt agile execution. Instead of going ahead and trying to transform everything, they focus on doing so in a phased manner.
Processes that are crucial to business and have a tangible business impact and in desperate need of a revamp should be the first ones to be transformed. Those that are not so critical can be taken up later as digital transformation maturity increases.
Clear Goals and Objectives
Having clear goals and objectives is imperative when embarking on the digital transformation journey. How will transformation impact your business goals? What business objectives are you trying to achieve? What impact do you want to see from this transformation?
Aligning business goals with digital transformation efforts ensures that the organization selects the right candidates for transformation, designs the best solution, implements the right technology, and ensures that the objectives from this effort are met. It is essential to have clear goals and objectives to capably measure the success of digital transformation efforts.
Digital transformation also lies in the adaptability to understand and work with any technology. It won’t be off to say that adaptability lies in being technology-agnostic and not in favoring one technology over the other.
Since organizations have a lot of technology investments in place already, digital transformation does not have to mean a complete overhaul of all technologies. Instead, it can use a more thought-out and adaptable approach – one that bases technology choices on the best technology and not on the latest technology. Sometimes simple automation can completely revamp an entire process, and a mobile app can be just as useful as an entire platform change.
High-Performance Digital Teams
To enable digital transformation successfully, organizations have to get high-performance digital teams in place. These teams identify what processes need change, what needs to be eliminated, which initiatives should be prioritized, and which should be put off for later, and what business objectives can be achieved using technology solutions.
It involves looking at the technology solutions available at hand and evaluating which solution and technology can help the outcome correlate to the business objectives. Things like where automation can be introduced, the kind of UI and UX the users need, which processes can be integrated, revamped, or removed all contribute to creating coherent digital transformation strategies.
The focus of digital transformation has to be on ‘transformation’. And the transformation has to start from somewhere. Developing one app that transforms a small and yet critical business process that experiences a lot of friction might not seem like digital transformation, but if you look minutely, it is. This app is helping your organization simplify a complex process. It helps your employees function more productively. Consequently, it also helps deliver effective customer service and higher customer experience levels simply because work is done faster and better.