Digital transformation is on every business’s agenda nowadays. The increasingly tech-oriented markets and recent developments that help industries and companies perform better created an environment where businesses can’t thrive without digital transformation.
Yet, the latest IDC InfoBrief found that 54% of business owners have troubles with digital transformation integration. Most solutions look good on the table, but there are challenges when they reach employees and try to accommodate unique business processes. Plus, there’s also the issue of digital transformation evolution that poses serious problems for people who were first to adopt the trend (outdated technologies that nowadays slow down the process).
Therefore, before you call a digital transformation consulting company to help with your integration, it’s best to have a look at its evolution. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people see technology and forced many companies into an accelerated process of digitisation.
What is digital transformation?
As the name says, digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into business processes. This is done to improve productivity, make employees more efficient, and eliminate lags and bottlenecks in the production process (among others). Therefore, each integration brings fundamental changes to how the business operates, creating friction between departments and employees.
In short, digital transformation may start with digitisation, but the general approach is about cultural change that constantly challenges the status quo. The process forces companies and employees (decision-makers included) out of their comfort zone and into a faster, more dynamic environment.
Lastly, digital transformation is a unique experience for each business. This makes it difficult to predict the problematic areas of implementation even after studying the business and its processes in advance.
The early days
Early adopters had a completely different experience compared to what’s going on today. The first form of digital transformation was all about creating systems of record (SOR) that the company can use to inform future decisions.
SOR was useful at the time, but they weren’t connected with anything else in the company and were not easily accessible to all departments. This led to the creation of collaboration systems designed to work with SOR and improve the flow of knowledge at high speeds. Still, the move to collaboration systems was not possible until the technology allowed it, which proves digital transformation is powered by technological advancements.
Moving forward, companies started to understand the power of Big Data and processing systems capable of digesting everything in real-time. These systems were created to deliver decision-makers with actionable insight into the market. This step in digital transformation changed the way leaders made decisions and showed the world the power of data-driven activities.
As a result, the focus shifted from what businesses thought their customers wanted to what they actually wanted. Plus, customer experience became the main focus of decision-makers.
Digital transformation now
Nowadays, digital transformation is a complex process that transcends technologies and seeps deeply into an organisation’s culture and operations. Digitisation is no longer just something you do to keep data organised or improve your recordkeeping. Digitisation is an umbrella term that includes processes and systems designed to weave productivity, goals, collaboration, and outcomes into a widespread net that covers the entire organisation.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed digital transformation even further by making digitisation a must-have. It also added an extra layer to the package with the use of automation tools that can take over repetitive tasks and eliminate human error.
However, this level of digital transformation can only be achieved by a company that completed the digitisation step of the implementation. This means full integration with devices and systems that allow free flow of information for all employees, including remote ones. Plus, the use of advanced collaboration tools and apps helps improve productivity and increase profitability.
Lastly, a fully digitised organisation makes it easier for new processes to be mapped out and integrated. Also, today’s technology allows businesses to add new tools and systems with ease. Digital transformation today is all about flexibility and collaboration (between tools and people). We are finally at a technological level that allows the use of advanced Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms, which creates space for innovation and creativity.
As you can see, digital transformation as a process went through a few levels of technological development. The good news is that we are not done yet. Technology is evolving even further, so businesses everywhere need to pay attention to the upgrades and benefits of new tech.