“When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.” — George Westerman, MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy
Due to the current global climate, the whole world is now experiencing an accelerated migration to digital technologies. Businesses are witnessing the deployment of remote work and digital access to services across every domain. To fully participate in the new digital economy, companies have to study how to incorporate digital transformation at each step of a customer journey and adapt business processes to the new normal. Startups, SMBs, and large enterprises should constantly assess their digital maturity and prioritize key initiatives to address gaps.
The Asia Pacific has been the hotbed for digital transformation before, and it still is today. This region has become the headspring of most digital trends and emerging technologies quickly spreading worldwide. To contribute to this digital expansion and help organizations adapt to new global market rules, I’m sharing here the top seven digital business transformation strategies crystallized during my experience in serving companies in APAC and all over the globe.
Invest in Digital Transformation Strategically
Digital transformation shouldn’t be incorporated chaotically, affecting different business areas or following mainstream practices. It requires an individual approach to your business, in-depth business analysis, and a well-defined strategy. You will be able to unlock all the benefits of digital transformation for your business only in this case.
Before you start creating a digital transformation strategy, assess the current state of your business from a digital perspective, clearly define desired business outcomes, and conduct a gap analysis. This investigation helps match what’s already implemented and what your business still lacks to operate efficiently in the digital landscape.
This approach allows you to prioritize the tasks and start investing in the strategically most important areas of business. It can help companies address their key challenges, leverage specific growth opportunities, and build an integrated digitalization strategy.
Create a Digital Transformation Roadmap
When you already know key goals and gaps in a current strategy, it’s time to create a digital transformation roadmap. It should include clearly defined actions on digitization and process automation, a timeline with milestones and benchmarks, key players (executives), as well as their roles for each area of your business.
Consider what areas need to be rethought and transformed (for example, customer experience, employee management, corporate culture, finances, logistics, etc.). Think of what redundancies and inefficiencies exist. Evaluate what resources you may need to implement planned digital changes.
Build a strategy upon all these insights and considerations. It may include reframing infrastructure, reskilling employees or recruiting new talents, updating your tech stack, and transitioning to a more agile development process. Don’t forget to constantly adjust a digital transformation roadmap to evolving business needs and updating digital market requirements.
Embark on Full Process Automation and Digitalization
Today’s market requires companies to embark on full process automation and digitization. Business process automation (BPA) implies the involvement of ready-to-use digital tools and custom enterprise software that enables brands to automate day-to-day operations and entrust at least half of their routine work to machines. It helps brands save time, increase productivity, and modernize task delivery for better overall performance, higher customer satisfaction, and stronger business resilience during the recession.
From classical BPA tools (like Zapier and IFTTT), social media marketing automation platforms (Buffer, Later, and Hootsuite), meetings and calls arrangement software (Calendly, Google Calendar), customer support automation (proactive live chats and virtual assistants) to accounting automation tools (Xero), and CRM systems – the modern digital market offers plenty of means to enhance your enterprise productivity and simplify processes.
If your company works in a narrow-specific niche and has particular requirements for digital automation tools, it’s recommended not to hesitate to invest in custom enterprise software development to empower business automation and stay viable in the market competition.
Be Cloud-First and Incorporate Enterprise Mobility
In the digital era, companies should be well-equipped to manage key operations from any device, anytime, and anywhere. In other words, they have to incorporate enterprise mobility into everyday corporate life. Enterprise mobile apps and turnkey software solutions can help implement it. This digitalization process also implies the active usage of cloud-based platforms allowing stakeholders to access corporate data, customer information, and projects from different locations and devices.
Digitalization and saving data into the cloud, in particular, make us think of another side of the coin – cybersecurity. Digital innovations also bring new risks to businesses, such as cyberattacks, data breaches, and other online threats. However, since ignoring the digital transformation embracing the whole business world is not the way, we must invest in advanced cybersecurity measures that must accompany all the newly incorporated digital business disruptions.
Focus on Continuous Innovation and Secure Buy-In
The change may be challenging and met by the inner resistance of employees. We aren’t always ready to accept significant changes because we already used to follow some patterns, and it may be difficult to get on new rails. It’s recommended to provide a secure buy-in of digital transformations from employees and senior management to conduct a smooth and natural transition to digital culture.
To implement it more successfully, you should define digital champions within your company and bring them early. Motivate them to catalyze a culture of change and encourage other employees to start exploring the opportunities of digitization by sharing success stories and positive outcomes.
Amplify Competitiveness in the Market Using Digital Technologies
While setting a digital culture inside the company, care about leveraging the full power of digital technologies to amplify your competitiveness. “External” digitalization may include applying digital changes to a customer experience journey, customer service, partnerships, and brand communications. All these factors combined can help you build an image of a digitally mature enterprise and a powerful rival in the market competition. It also enables you to instill positive associations with your business as an innovation-driven brand that provides a better customer experience adapted to the changing conditions.
Find a Reliable Digital Transformation Partner
Many startups, SMBs, and even enterprises may find it difficult to build a viable digital transformation strategy. That’s why it’s advisable to look for an experienced technology partner who can equip your company with the latest digital know-how and guide on how to implement a digital strategy successfully. When choosing a company partner, it’s crucial to pay particular attention if this team has experience working in your domain and with similar ecosystems. It would automatically mean that this company already has a clear vision of how to bring a digital transformation for businesses like yours.
In today’s market conditions, it’s essential to level up your and the team’s digital literacy to be combat-ready for all business scenarios that may play out. Digital transformation is not a sprint but a marathon. Be ready to include it in a long-term strategy and invest in it gradually to become a digitally mature company in the new economy. Hopefully, my insights suggested in this brief guide will help you make a smooth transition into the more digital business world.
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