Rising to the level of business transformation
Digital transformation has become a catchphrase. It’s everywhere in business literature these days. But what does it mean? Does it mean you are now conducting meetings on Zoom? That your documents are stored and shared on the cloud? Those methods are more necessary than ever, but they don’t rise to the level of transformation.
Transformation goes to the gut level. The structural level. The possibilities level. Think about the difference between miles per hour and warp speed and you begin to get a feel for the scope of change we’re talking about.
The Enterprisers Project defines digital transformation as “the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It is also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.”
Wikipedia says, “Digital transformation is the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society.”
It impacts us all at the cultural level – your business included.
Some of us remember when the internet and cell phones were technological advances. Since their debuts, innovation has gotten smarter. New iterations are themselves being used to speed up the creation of more advanced technologies. As a result, the majority of customers today don’t behave like those of even a decade ago. They expect a customer journey that is fast, personalized, digital, and self-managed. Employees, too, expect digital tools at work that are at least as advanced as the ones they routinely use in their personal lives. Organizations that stand still will fall behind.
On top of these cultural shifts, enter Covid-19. The pandemic has intensified everything that wasn’t working, in effect turning a flashing red warning light on the necessity to change. If we didn’t get it before, we can’t miss it now: Create a safe, reliable, easy experience for customers to navigate entirely digitally, or they will go elsewhere. Business survival depends on adapting in these challenging times.
Large, enterprise organizations have more resources for transforming digitally. The challenge can seem overwhelming and intimidating for small to mid-sized businesses, and even more so in this time of COVID. Yet it’s no less necessary for them to evolve. As we work with clients in the early stages of their transformation, we advise answering these four key questions in order to lay the foundation for success.
4 Key Questions to Begin Digital Transformation
How can you “think small”?
Start with your existing customers. They are your core. The goal is not just to keep them, but also to learn from them and strengthen those relationships. Make sure you are delighting them with their customer experience before you broaden your audience.
Don’t try to implement changes all at once. Instead, identify, prioritize, and make small tactical moves. allowing time to course correct as necessary as events in the world unfold. Larger strategies are necessary as a guide to keep the smaller steps on track, but they must be held loosely. Think short-term to reduce the risk of bad decisions during an uncertain time.
Do you have the tools to excel?
Could Luke Skywalker have defended the Empire against the Death Star if all he had was a Cessna? He might have been an ace pilot, but the rebels would have been doomed. To defend all the good your business embodies, you too need modern, intelligent tools to improve your processes during this time of rapid change. At a minimum, your software must be cloud-based, multi-user, and collaborative. This needs to be nonnegotiable. Beyond that, you can consider the value of options based on your business’s unique needs.
Technology does require investment. Are you saving elsewhere because of your team working remotely? Is it possible to tactically redirect some resources so you can maintain a presence that adds value to human society?
Have you adopted a digital-first strategy?
Remember, it’s not just about the technology. The rules of the game are evolving and so must the mindset of CIOs. How comfortable are you with challenging the status quo, experimenting, even failing? Moving beyond entrenched beliefs often requires getting third-party perspectives, which could come in the form of an outside expert advisor or a network of peers – or both. Be sure you are seeking out others who see the necessity of digital transformation, understand change management, and have experienced the value of lifelong learning themselves.
Wait, you say – aren’t we supposed to have a customer-first strategy? Yes, but done right, you’ll have both, because customers expect a satisfying digital experience. It’s both-and, not either-or.
Are your teams aligned?
Leaders need to clearly communicate to the entire team the current state of the business, inspire the vision for where it is going and how it will get there, and make sure everyone sees their contribution in achieving those objectives. People and systems must work together. Building consensus, training and cross-training for transformation, and nurturing ownership in the end goals as well as processes are more important than ever.
Silos won’t cut it. Everyone at all levels must become extremely intentional in their communication and actions, whether in person or as a distributed team. They must understand why these changes matter and that this is not just the newest “initiative” that will not be sustained, but rather a paradigm shift.
How will your digital transformation story unfold, in the time of COVID and beyond? You will write it, and you will be its hero. Our role is to support and advise you- to help you make sense of what you face.
There’s no going backward. As you apply these questions to your business, contact us if you need a sounding board or additional clarification.
We would welcome an opportunity to share with you about the value of tools like Creatio CRM in propelling your processes and business relationships forward.
Close the gap with Digital Transformation using Creatio CRM. Give Dick a call: 269-445-3001