Key Practices for Effective Digital Transformation
Making the transition to a digital-first enterprise successfully is a long and difficult journey. It requires that many organizations rethink how they conduct business and build solid solutions that let them digitally transform. In this article, we discuss the keys to effective digital transformation.
Key practices for effective digital transformation
Digital transformation is not an objective to be tackled lightly. It takes large investments (time, finances, resources), requires universal buy-in, and needs meticulous planning. Our past blog articles have touched on the value of digital transformation, the challenges it presents and why enterprises need to digitally transform to keep up with customer expectations. And in this article, we will discuss the key practices that should serve as the foundation for effective digital transformation.
“Digitization is transforming how companies in every industry go to market, interact with customers, and carry out their operations. The digital transformation required, however, is complex, time-consuming, and expensive, and it affects every aspect of the enterprise.” - What is Your Digital ROI?, strategy& (part of the PwC network of firms)
Key practices for effective digital transformation
Balancing disruption and the desire for digital transformation
The decision to engage in digital transformation involves many moving parts. From getting stakeholder buy-in to planning the project down to the nuts and bolts, finally getting the project underway and executing a successful completion, a lot of businesses do not have the stamina and resources to tackle a change of this magnitude alone. The right consultant will help connect all the dots.
The amount of disruption that this type of project can affect within an organization cannot be understated. But, with the right help, it can be broken down into Agile, manageable functions. Digital transformation is not a one-and-done methodology, it happens over the course of time and development, with a meticulously laid out road map.
By working with outside consultants that are experts in digital transformation, organizations get unbiased, factual information that will help minimize the disruption of day-to-day operations and build a strategy to leave their competition in the dust.
Break down internal barriers with discovery & strategy
The first step to the real work in a digital transformation is not worrying about the final destination, but instead road mapping and planning each phase of the iterative project. The second practice in an effective digital transformation is to engage in a robust and thorough discovery and strategy process, including every single project stakeholder.
By engaging every department of an organization in the discovery process, project leaders will uncover what’s going on with the legacy systems in the business, take stock of customer targets and their needs in digitization, discover all business impacts areas where process improvement should be prioritized and effectively put all stakeholders in the driver’s seat. This immersive discovery phase allows for better scope understanding and the ability to make the best strategy possible for digital transformation.
Focus on digital experience
Once the parts and paths have been laid out for digital transformation, it is highly recommended that extra time and effort be put into considering the digital experience. Look at the experience as a whole; from both the customer and employee perspective. As an example, if a customer journey is optimized for conversion and works to precision, but creates multiple sources of digital friction for fulfillment and finance departments, does the digital solution meet the bar for a superior experience?
Another consideration for the experience design of your digital solution is how scalable it will be. By looking at the process improvement it creates, or doesn’t create, can indicate if the overall experience can be duplicated and scaled at will, or create too many issues when it comes time to expand to other markets. An experienced designer will be able to pinpoint areas of concern and find ways to mitigate future problems.
Co-create digital solutions
This practice is again about including everyone in the digital transformation process. Including stakeholders from internal departments and sharing the digital solution resource with them can improve operational processes. This allows teams to identify areas where business automation can improve work and data flow, lowering operational costs in the day-to-day and allow for shared development costs for the overall digital project.
Wherever possible, apply this strategy to partner companies and suppliers. Building digital solutions with expert architecture, development and integration in collaboration with your business network partners not only decreases development resources but increases supply chain resiliency and promotes cost savings across the board.
Test early, often and fast
Once the development phase begins, it can be easy to get caught up in the work of a digital transformation. The benefit of working with a development partner that embraces an Agile-first approach is that as pieces of code are launched there is an overabundance of quality assurance and testing that takes place. It is very important to be sure to test often, early and consistently in a digitization project so that future sprints and iterations are built on the most current needs of the business. The Agile project management methodology also allows for project pivots as needed throughout the digital transformation project. Think of it this way, if a digital transformation project is slated to take 18 or more months to complete, what changes will the business have undergone in that time? Agile project management allows for those changes and makes room for improvements to the overall project, maintaining business continuity.
Build maintenance & support into the long-term plan
Once a launch has been completed is not the time to bring up systems maintenance, support and improvements. Keeping new digital solutions maintained with up-to-date security features, patches and codes should be built in as part of the initial digital transformation roadmap. Programs, operating systems and tools have to be maintained for digital solutions to function optimally and remain secure. Without that maintenance, the health of the investment will suffer, resulting in slower page load times, broken links or key functionalities breaking down.
By taking the time to address project improvements, troubleshooting post-launch and maintenance scheduled before launch, organizations can be sure that they are set up for long-term digital transformation success.
Digital transformation is a major undertaking for any organization, with success coming at the cost of a lot of figurative blood, sweat and tears. While the outcome is better business continuity, streamlined operations and improved cost-effectiveness, it is not a project for the weak of heart. It requires a depth of knowledge, hands-on experience and a desire to stick with it even when the going gets tough. Enter the ecommerce software consultant.
Why ecommerce software consultants?
Having a consultant who has worked on and built a wide range of projects, and solved different and nuanced problems, can bring a great deal of value to a digital transformation project. They have access to a depth of knowledge and expertise in highly technical areas of digital business that other consultants do not have. They can walk you through all the options in technology to pinpoint your exact needs.
If you are ready to start the digital transformation process and need unbiased, no obligations expert advice, we are always here to help. Reach out today and get started on the right path.