3 ways to kick start your digital transformation
Everybody’s talking about it. From conferences and webinars to blog posts and consultancy, the message is clear: businesses need to get digital or die.
The problem is that when seeking internal buy-in for your digital strategy, IT professionals often find that getting colleagues on board with new processes and a new mind-set isn't as easy as it seems, even despite the obvious benefits of streamlining processes and improving customer experience.
The good news is that Digital Transformation doesn’t have to mean dragging your people behind you, kicking and screaming.
Here are some straightforward ways of kick-starting change that will make instant impact and leave your people wondering why you didn’t start your digitalisation journey sooner.
1. Ease the way with quick wins
Digital transformation doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You’ll have a greater chance of success if your transformation occurs organically, through evolution rather than revolution. In any case, taking small steps is a much easier way of getting started and your teams will find this much easier to digest than wholesale disruption.
Try taking an MVP (minimum viable product) approach – get your organisation used to working in new ways on a basic level, then roll out additional features, apps and plug-ins across the organisation as comfort levels grow.
It could be as simple as starting with a team sharing files in the cloud. Then, as confidence grows, encouraging real-time collaboration from different locations, using conference calling and screen-sharing to make instant, productivity boosting decisions.
Taking a step by step approach won’t slow the pace of change but it will make the ride easier and better for everyone on it, including you.
2. Get expert help and learn as you go
You may be the IT expert in your organisation but sometimes everyone needs extra support. And when it comes to your Digital Transformation programme, chances are there’s much that will be new to you.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of expert help available to set you on the right path, while you gradually build capabilities in-house. It could also save you making some costly mistakes. Then, when your new systems have become business as usual and you can clearly see your way forward, you can step into taking full ownership.
You could also try fostering a start-up mentality to developing digital prototypes. Depending on your organisation’s appetite for taking calculated risks, you could find that forming a distinct digital unit that operates under its own rules and with its own budget allows you to explore opportunities without impacting on your core business.
Choosing who will form part of your digital organisation and partnerships will be key to developing your knowledge and how those learnings can be embedded across your wider business.
3. Be the change that you wish to see
In other words, your Digital Transformation, like anything else, is more likely to be successful if there’s strong, consistent leadership and collaboration.
That means creating and leading a change programme that plainly demonstrates the benefits of going digital and has clear support from the most influential people in your organisation.
Involve champions right from the start, drawn from every part and every level of your organisation, and get them trialling your new technologies. Find out who’s most trusted and respected by their colleagues and you’ll find it easier to get useful feedback and motivate the rest of your workforce into embracing digital change.
A final way to bring people with you is also the simplest – an open and honest dialogue. Sharing your journey – both its successes and its failures – gives everyone a stake in the outcome, shows how and why digital can make a positive difference, and paves the way for sustainable business growth.
Hopefully you spotted the common theme in all three suggestions - that Digital Transformation is an evolution, not something that simply happens one day. Once your people accept that fact, and understand how they can help to shape your digital organisation, it should feel much easier to start introducing relatively small changes that can have surprisingly large impacts on performance and efficiency. Which, after all, is the whole point.