Many companies see digital transformation as a project — but this is a misconception on various levels.
Digital transformation explained
Digital transformation means that your company is becoming better at changing. At its very heart, digital transformation “means adapting an organization’s strategy and structure to capture opportunities enabled by digital technology.”
For this to happen, companies must keep adjusting and be open to continuous change. Like shifting to agile, digital transformation is not something you get done and then you claim victory.
Instead, it is a different way of existing that involves constant change, triggered by feedback from the environment and changes in the environment.
As a result, organizations need to become more effective at accepting feedback and changing their course to keep up with technology and new opportunities.
The pandemic and digital transformation
COVID-19 has been a strong forcing function for many organizations. The reason is that many companies have had to operate and work differently. In greater numbers than ever before in such a short period, customers were switching to new ways of interacting with organizations.
The need for Digital Transformation has increased. The better your organization is at adapting to changing needs, the better it is at surviving and thriving.
These days, many companies are struggling because of their inability to adapt fast. It has become a hard challenge for companies to keep developing — but it also is an important lesson.
Digital transformation strategies since the pandemic
Many companies are just trying to survive or to adapt to a landscape that will remain impacted for quite a while.
Companies need to find better ways to serve their customers. This includes building better channels to provide a better platform for their products.
Many companies are shifting towards an online business model. By building new channels, some companies are putting more effort into this idea.
Truly transformed organizations not only sell online (switching their existing business to a new channel) but can adjust to whatever comes their way (being able to switch what kind of business they are focusing on).
To work successfully, companies are realizing they need to improve not only their online services but adapt to the next big shift
Four requirements for digital transformation for the future
- Set up your business to add new channels and revenue streams. Open up your organization for this kind of change, and it helps with reaching more partners and customers by making APIs a key factor of how your digital value chains work.
- Insights and monitoring are also required. This involves the ability to understand your company’s current status and trajectory. With better insights, it is easier to understand the current situation and adapt to changing conditions and requirements.
- Better experimentation and explorative ways are indispensable. The ability to see what’s trending allows for better strategic thinking. The ability to run experiments and learn from them can be the deciding factor when it comes to being better than the competition.
- Provide organizational change for more internal autonomy. To change, this must happen organically, with more self-sufficiency for experimentation. If teams feel technically and culturally enabled to change how things work, this will become one important driving force behind where your transformation takes you.
A key realization about digital transformation is to always keep evolving because it changes how you function as an organization. You will never be “done” with it.
If you have an interesting idea, run with it — make it work. Organizations can benefit from strong ideas that can originate from anywhere. After an initial sanity check (if this worked out, would it be beneficial for us?) teams should be enabled to execute quickly and validate ideas, and discarding them is a valuable activity as well (you learned what did not work as expected).
What’s vital is trying to make digital transformation happen and to see it as a new way of existence. It alters how you act as an organization and improves the ability to react and to adapt.
The end result is that you can’t put a check mark on Digital Transformation and claim that “you are done.” The challenge is to keep evolving as a new way of organizational reality.
If you want to digitally transform, you can’t outsource it, you must do it yourself. You must allow it to change yourself, and that ability and willingness to change have to become “the new normal.”
Experienced professionals may guide companies along that journey. But at the end of the day, companies must take a close and hard look at themselves and think about how they have to change to become and stay good at changing.
Discover five more ways towards digital transformation.