Your approach to digitalization will have a long-lasting impact on productivity throughout the organization.
The digital enterprise is an organization that uses technology to continuously improve every aspect of its business model. It’s able to keep pace with technological progress, adapting itself to different needs as its environment changes.
This kind of organization is able to change the way it operates and how it interacts with customers in an agile, scalable way. An organization that transforms traditional processes into digital ones gains the ability to predict and meet new customer expectations successfully.
Every business has to evolve in response to technological and cultural changes in its environment. The question for today’s enterprise IT leaders isn’t whether to undergo digital transformation, but how to do it successfully.
Digital Transformation is About Strategy, Not Just Technology
Many of the forces behind digital transformation have been around for decades. These include the invention of the World Wide Web in the late 1970s, workforce automation initiatives in the 1980s, and the international success of 2G networking in the 1990s.
It wasn’t until the 2010s that enterprises and public institutions shifted from ad-hoc digital infrastructure projects towards adopting a strategic approach to new technology. Yet enterprise leaders believed – as many still do – that technology is the main driving force behind digital transformation.
In fact, strategy is the driving force behind these initiatives. Technology simply offers the tools necessary to achieve strategic goals.
This is an important distinction for business leaders to take into account. Digital transformation isn’t about some particular technology or framework. It isn’t about cloud computing, machine learning, or DevOps practices, though it often includes those elements.
Instead, successful digital transformation is a business strategy that prioritizes adaptation to a constantly changing technological environment. It uses technology to improve operational processes, business models, and the customer experience.
Enterprise leaders who take this approach will measure the success of digital transformation initiatives in different terms. Instead of looking at technology-specific adoption metrics, they will look for impacts on operational efficiency, business agility, and customer relationships.
6 Principles Behind Successful Digital Transformation Initiatives
Not all digital transformation initiatives succeed. In fact, only 30% of companies that undergo transformation manage to achieve all of their objectives. The majority end up falling short of establishing sustainable long-term change, and some of them fail entirely.
Those few companies that manage to deploy fundamental changes at scale and successfully modernize large, complex organizations typically have several key elements in common. Plan your transformation strategy around the six principles below that help predict sustainable, value-generating success.
Put People (Not Technology) First
Digital transformation can mean different things to different people. While digital leaders often expend a great deal of time and energy selling the concept of digital transformation to C-suite executives, they spend relatively little time on managers and frontline staff.
This approach can stoke fear and uncertainty about digital transformation outcomes. Frontline staff and middle managers may feel like their jobs will become redundant. From this perspective, their resistance to the technology-first approach is understandable. Nobody has taken the time to “sell the change” to them, so they feel left out.
In order for transformation to succeed, employees must buy into it. Organizations that take time to communicate these changes to their workforce are better-positioned for success than those that don’t.
Stay Focused on Real-World Outcomes
Organizations undergoing digital transformation must focus on clear goals that are both integrated and achievable. Leaders, managers, and employees alike should share a consistent vision about what digital transformation looks like in practice.
Many enterprise leaders successfully define an overarching vision for digital transformation, but relatively few supplement that vision with discrete business use cases. Leaders who take the time to develop small-scale examples of how their grand vision works on the ground floor are able to secure buy-in from customers and employees alike.
Defining goals through real-world outcomes makes them measurable and concrete. It guides the way employees, managers, and executives navigate “hard-to-reverse” choices that critically impact business processes.
Define and Monitor Progress
Enterprises with clearly defined digital transformation goals can take their initiatives one step further by defining and monitoring progress throughout the organization. A strategic approach to user adoption and engagement metrics can help enterprises influence the success of digital initiatives in real-time.
Employee computer tracking software enables enterprise leaders to monitor workforce productivity as a key performance indicator. This helps to put a concrete value on the ROI of technology deployments and workforce changes. It helps employees optimize workflows in ways that serve strategic goals.
It’s important for enterprises to invest in tracking and monitoring software early on. This provides a clear point of reference that helps transformation leaders measure the success of digital initiatives in real-time. It can also warn leaders when initiatives are falling off track – employee tracking systems make well-timed interventions possible.
Prioritize Adaptive Technology
One of the major differences between the technology-first approach to digital transformation and the strategic approach is the type of technology that gets deployed. In a technology-first environment, adaptivity takes a backseat to pure productivity.
This might sound like a reasonable tradeoff, but it does not predict long-term digital success because we cannot accurately predict the future. In the era before cloud computing, “enterprise digital transformation” often meant buying, deploying, and configuring an on-premises mainframe or server farm. Many enterprises did that, only to invest in multi-million-dollar cloud migration initiatives a few years later.
Enterprise leaders who understand digital transformation as a strategic goal view things differently. Technology has to be flexible, first and foremost. Technology acquisitions must produce value even if market conditions or customer expectations change.
Invest in Top Talent
Enterprises do not always have the mix of skills they need for effective digital transformation on hand. It’s tempting and expedient to underestimate the expertise that successful transformation demands. However, the most successful initiatives are those led by transformation experts with a combination of technical and soft skills.
The exact technical skills needed for a smooth transformation may vary between organizations, but they will center around the development of efficient, robust solutions to enterprise-wide infrastructural challenges. Soft skills like persistence, pragmatism, and diplomacy also play a critical role determining how these solutions are communicated throughout the organization.
To carefully select transformation leaders, executives must take an active role identifying and cultivating top talent. Enterprise IT monitoring software makes this possible by allowing stakeholders to retain their best performers and rotate underperformers out of critical transformation roles.
Lead a Company-Wide Cultural Change
Many aspects of digital-first organization are fundamentally different from their traditional enterprise analogues. Employees, vendors, and even customers have to understand the digital transformation first and foremost as a cultural shift towards adaptability and progress. These stakeholders cannot be left to stick to outdated assumptions about company culture.
For example, in a traditional enterprise environment, customers are the end-point of business. In a digital-first enterprise, customers are involved at every level of the business. Executives and managers alike make decisions based on customer data in real-time. Data is no longer limited to showing past performance – it becomes a vital element of day-to-day decision-making.
The same approach is possible with employees. Employee software tracking solutions can help enterprises optimize operations in ways that traditional organizations never could. PC activity monitors can generate valuable productivity insights in real-time.
But this type of change will not occur on its own. It requires bold leadership that’s ready to critically examine the conventions of company culture and find ways to improve it.
Beat the Odds: Build a Robust Digital Enterprise
The costs of failure in today’s post-COVID enterprise technology environment have never been higher. Yet at the same time, the rewards of digital success have never been greater. Enterprises that put digital transformation at the center of their strategy now will enjoy long-lasting competitive advantages over those that wait.