6 Challenges of Digital Transformation and How to Overcome Them

2 years ago
Kevin J

Welcome to the digital world – it’s here to stay. Digital transformation has become a mandatory step for businesses to remain competitive in today’s technology-centred world. However, digital transformation means more than simply expanding your IT department. Successful shifts incorporate the entire company and build upon solid, well-planned foundations which can weather even the most drastic changes.

To effectively navigate digital transformation, focus on the three groups of people affected:

  • Your customers
  • Your employees
  • Yourself

All major challenges associated with the digital shift arise from one of these groups, and overcoming the said challenge is accomplished by identifying how to meet their needs best.

Customers: Multi-Channel Experience

The simplest form of customer experience involves walking into a store, purchasing a product, and leaving. However, that is no longer the only experience customers wish to have.

When planning your digital transformation, account for all channels of the modern customer experience. Don’t just make a website, optimise it for use on mobile devices. Alternately, create an app which makes online shopping a breeze. Advertise both online and in print. Don’t force the customers to come to you – make yourself available where they want to shop.

Customers: Analytics

Old-fashioned analytics methods no longer accurately reflect what customers want. Embrace technology-based marketing research tools. Don’t neglect new factors such as length of time spent on your online store or how well the company website ranks in Google search results. Adapting to modern analytics strategies will let you keep delivering the high-quality products and services all customers desire.

Employees: Structure & Reorganisation

Don’t allow yourself to be held back by legacy systems or pre-existing company structures. Understand that digital transformation typically requires a fundamental shift in your company’s day-to-day affairs.

Listen to your employees’ concerns and understand that you may experience a pushback. Help employees see that they still have a role in the newly digital-focused workplace – but also stand firm and insist on the removal of outdated elements despite possible frustration. Cultivate a flexible workforce willing to adapt to fast-paced changes.

Employees: Expertise

Recognise that your existing employees might not always possess expertise in new digital systems. Your long-term digital transformation strategy should budget for both hiring new experts and training the existing employees. The necessary training may be extensive and can slow down operations in the early days of digital shift.

Always plan for the long-term future, not just the immediate present. For example, if you hire a consultant to help your company through the process, use them to develop the resources to continue once they have left. Creating a well-trained workforce which understands the needs of your newly digital-centred company will help you stay stable and profitable for years to come.

Yourself: Budget

Digital transformation is expensive. You’ll need to budget for new software, app and website development, new analytics tools, employee hiring and training – in short, everything discussed earlier in this article. Without careful planning and budgeting, you may find your business struggling or even dropping into the red.

This guide might leave you determined to start transforming your business right now. However, remember that slow and steady wins the race. Don’t embark on a digital transformation endeavour until you have the money, time and manpower to do so.

This is a major, long-term change for your company and will require a significant resource investment. Successful budgeting and planning will allow you to take the fullest advantage of your digital options and result in a transformation which is profitable for everyone involved.

Yourself: Burnout

One often overlooked element of the digital-centred workplace is the ability to work anytime and anywhere. With a laptop or smartphone, you can work at home, on the go, or even during vacations. It’s tempting to take advantage of this and devote every hour to planning and pushing forward, especially during the intense early days of digital shift.

However, burnout is still a very real concern. An important lesson to learn is: just because the opportunity to work is there does not mean you should always take it. Breaks are necessary. Give yourself space away from the workplace. In particular, give your brain time to think about things other than the demands of digital transformation. You’ll thank yourself when you return to work not exhausted and drained, but refreshed and eager to take on new challenges.

The biggest mistake you can make is treating digital transformation as something to be rushed through or a thing you want to get over with quickly. Understand and respect that it is a lengthy, often difficult process which will affect every part of your business.

You’ll likely face most or all of the challenges discussed in this article. However, by centring the needs of your customers, your employees, and yourself, your business will come through the digital transformation process stronger and more effective than ever before.

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