It’s hard to keep up with the buzzwords and new ideas floating around the world of digital transformation. AI, AR, VR, IoT, there’s always a trend or a new technology available. In fact, we wrote about some of these trends on the Sociabble blog just a few months back. And staying ahead of those trends can be of crucial importance. After all, companies are set to spend 1.3 trillion dollars on digital transformation technologies in 2018 alone. And 95% of current start-ups have digital business plans in place. But despite the rapid changes continuously reshaping the field, certain best practices are still constant. Digital transformation is a very human process after all, grounded on convincing people—not computers—to adopt and engage with new systems and technologies. With that in mind, here are a few pointers to make sure your digital transformation project gets off the ground and becomes a success.
Communicate the Benefits of Digital Transformation
It doesn’t matter if you’re digitizing a data entry form or implementing bots to post on social media. It’s going to have a tangible, real-world effect on the people whose jobs are involved in the process. And sometimes, it may take some convincing. Especially if an employee feels like the new digital technology will supplant their skill set. It’s crucial to show how the new system will make their work process more streamlined and efficient, and give them more time to devote to tasks befitting their skill level. If a paper form is digitized and automated, they can spend precious minutes instead on fields like strategy, communications, and implementation. Areas where their skills and their brains are very much needed.
Get Sponsorship from the Top
This is a theme we mention often in this blog, but that’s only because it’s so important. For a digital transformation project to gain momentum, it’s crucial to get the backing of top-level and/or managerial staff early on. Such projects are often met with initial skepticism and results don’t always appear overnight. For that reason, support in the c-level or upper tiers of management is essential for getting the budget and the follow-up support. Don’t try to go it alone. You’re likely going to need a boost from company leaders for your project to be successful.
Train or Hire as Needed
New technology also involves new skill sets. This could mean educating current employees, or hiring employees who have the skills in place. Computer learning, data science, coding—for the technical side, you may need fresh talent. But for the more accessible areas, designated training sessions and seminars may suffice. For example, if a new system is being implemented for online orders, it may be as simple as running a brief training session to show the sales or customer service staff how the new ordering process works. Don’t underestimate how dynamic and willing to learn employees can be.
Run a Trial
There’s almost always a period of getting bugs out of the system. That’s just one of the universal truths about any digital transformation initiative. If you introduce the project to your entire company without the appropriate adjustments and fixes, you’re asking for trouble. The responses will likely not be positive. So to fix that, try doing a small trial run first, with a beta version or a digital “sandbox” where a small test group can try out the technology and provide feedback. If you’re launching a new online digital archive, let a focus group give it a try. See if they can find what they need, and have them comment on the user interface. That initial feedback will make your project a roaring success when the full roll-out comes.
Track those KPIs
Key performance indicators are important for any project. But they are crucial when it comes to digital transformation because the high costs need to be justified. Digital transformation usually involves taking an existing system—one that in many cases wasn’t particularly ineffective to begin with—and trying to enhance it and adapt it to the digital age. To justify the associated costs, it is essential to identify the tangible benefits that the new digital system brings. Productivity, business growth, and time saved can all serve as convincing statistics.