While it’s absolutely true that no two digital transformations are created equally, maybe the most important factor for digital transformation at scale is that it begins and ends as true company-wide efforts. Without a clear understanding of the importance of the project — along with buy-in from any and all key stakeholders along the way — your efforts will be doomed to failure before they’ve even had a chance to really get going.
Regardless of the nature of your project, any digital transformation will require several factors to ensure its success. Not only will they help make sure that everyone is always on the same page and moving forward, but they will also be invaluable in terms of mitigating risk and avoiding a lot of the mistakes that cause serious issues as well.
Even modest digital transformations still require an upfront capital investment to be successful — which means the number one game-changing factor to help scale your own efforts involves preparing for these costs as soon as you can.
While it’s true that the costs of your efforts to embrace emerging technologies will obviously vary depending on a number of factors that are unique to your business, experts recommend that you should expect to budget around a 5% operating cost which itself will be determined by the marketing and your unique company.
But when you consider the money you could be leaving on the table by not making an effort to keep up with your competitors in a technological capacity, it’s easy to see why this investment is such an important one to make for most people.
Once you know exactly what results you want from your digital transformation, you need to define the steps needed to make that vision a reality. In other words, you need a well-defined plan and you need one BEFORE your digital transformation begins.
It may take a bit of trial and error to determine the exact course of action for your company, but doing so will make sure that everyone understands what is expected of them and why their role is so important. It will also help avoid confusion later on.
Since technology itself is at the heart of digital transformation at scale, it stands to reason that you should spend a great deal of time thinking about which ones you’re trying to embrace and, more importantly, why.
But it would be a mistake to start with the technology itself and buy into something simply because it’s “new” or “state-of-the-art.” Think about what your business needs to accomplish that it currently cannot and make a list of those technologies that can help make that happen.
Are you trying to execute a digital transformation with an emphasis on cloud-based services to reduce your overhead and empower collaboration? Do you want to be able to employ artificial intelligence tools to derive more from your business’ data? Do you want to bring in automation so that you can offload a lot of those menial tasks, freeing up the valuable time of your human employees to focus on those matters that really need them?
If your business is constantly battling data silos and lost productivity due to poor communication and collaboration, for example, an information management solution like M-Files would absolutely be one of those technologies that can help solve these challenges. By connecting information across your enterprise into a single, secure repository, insight can finally flow freely across your organization for the first time. Everyone who needs access to information to do their job has it, thus making it easier to work together and derive superior results for your clients as well.
Along the same lines, you’ll also want to make an effort to implement these technologies with minimal disruption to existing operations. A solution like M-Files can help enormously to that end, as it works natively with a lot of the software you’re probably already using and won’t necessarily require employees to change their workflows or undergo a massive data migration.
Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but it can be if your employees aren’t engaged all throughout your digital transformation. This is why change management matters so much to your effort’s success — if employees are unwilling to change for the sake of your company’s future, engagement will suffer. This will put you farther away from your goal, not closer to it.
Always be transparent about what shape your digital transformation is taking and allow employees to prepare on their own terms to get them more comfortable. Make sure you provide training on any new tools and keep those communication lines open so that you can address any and all concerns someone may have.
Finally, you need to understand that “success” in terms of digital transformation isn’t as clear-cut as you may think. There is no set amount of time for how long it is supposed to take, for example. The only metrics you should be paying attention to are those that speak directly to what you were trying to accomplish, to begin with.
To put it another way, your benchmarks for success will be unique to your business — but it’s important you set them now and measure them continually to help guarantee progress is moving along as it should be. Consistently monitoring and measuring key performance indicators relative to your goals will at the very least always help confirm you’re headed in the right direction. This will also help make sure that everyone stays focused, that people are ready to learn and adapt as new challenges arise, and it will also help confirm that the approach you’re taking is the right one. That last point may very well be the most important benefit of all.