Digital Transformation Isn’t Easy, But It Can Be If Done Right - Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay The era of digital transformation is here. Companies of all sizes now use advanced technology to improve their productivity, operational efficiencies, and customer experiences. Most companies that undergo a digital transformation reduce their time to market and have an advantage over competitors.

Automating manual processes is a major element of digital transformation and this helps companies streamline their operational and manufacturing deficiencies. It delivers products to market faster and minimizes costs by making more efficient use of resources.

Companies that approach digital transformation in a structured, timely way boost efficiency, performance, and productivity and gain competitive advantage. But while increasingly organizations are adopting digital transformation, most fail to implement it well. According to McKinsey, 70% of digital transformation initiatives fail. Legacy systems, current operations, and organizational culture are major hindrances to achieving the full potential of digital transformation.

What Digital Transformation Is (and What It Isn’t)

Digital transformation means refining organizational processes through continuous technological improvement. It is streamlining business operations while building for the future simultaneously. It’s not just about adopting digital initiatives for current business needs but implementing business processes that adapt and evolve with future business needs and technological advancements.

Digital transformation involves automating operations and constructing frictionless digital ecosystems. Technology that supports digital transformation is modular, agile, and functions optimally even when tinkered with.

In 2020, NTT released a report titled The Hesitancy Gap. The company surveyed IT teams and found they wasted 26% of their time preparing for digital transformation initiatives. Due to this, the initiatives went over budget, got delayed, or were scrapped altogether. 35% of IT teams said they could not integrate cloud systems with other technologies. 42% were concerned whether the initiatives would introduce a security risk or make their companies non-compliant.

What Digital Transformation Isn’t

  • It isn’t digitization: Digitization means moving from manual processes to digital ones. And while digitization is important, it isn’t truly transformative.
  • It isn’t laying off your workforce: Digital transformation should make your employees evolve along with technology. It should provide an opportunity for employees to learn new skills, not put them out of work.
  • It’s not a top-down approach: Many digital transformation initiatives lack the crucial input of IT and employees. Digital transformation should remove organizational silos and increase technology integration in employees’ lives.

Deal with Legacy Systems Before Implementing Digital Transformation

Technologies that were once game-changers can be outdated a few years down the line. Many legacy systems are built organically and contain processes that don’t work anymore or aren’t necessary. But they also contain the data businesses need to operate efficiently and drive insights.

Reliance on legacy systems is one of the major hurdles in the digital transformation journey. Many organizations make the mistake of not dealing with legacy systems before implementing organization-wide digital transformation initiatives. And while some legacy systems can be modernized, it’s usually a recipe for disaster. 74% of legacy modernization programs fail!

Legacy systems hold businesses back because they consume a lot of resources, so there are fewer resources to use for advancement. Instead of using many resources to modernize legacy systems, implement new systems. Due to their inflexibility, many legacy systems have become obsolete and can’t be modernized. They are also prone to hacking and make the organizations using them cybersecurity targets. Legacy systems do not support new technology and use old languages.

Migrating from legacy systems can be a lengthy process but one with many business benefits. Companies can keep up with current technologies and gain better business value. They also manage and protect sensitive data efficiently.

Where Do Organizations Go Wrong with Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is not a choice; it’s a necessity in every industry. But here’s the hard truth: with every digital transformation program, the odds are stacked against successful delivery. 84% of digital transformation projects don’t deliver the expected business benefits. Why do so many companies struggle with digital transformation?

Company Culture

A company’s culture greatly impacts the success of digital transformation initiatives. No matter how much money you invest in the right solutions, if you don’t have a culture that supports digital transformation, chances are that the project will fail. Digital transformation changes the way an organization does business. This is impossible without the buy-in of everyone in the organization.

There’s no need to invest thousands of dollars in revolutionary software if your team will ignore and circumvents it. Take time to ensure the company culture supports digital transformation because this may minimize the negative effects of all the other failure factors.

Complex Technology

Enterprise software is inherently complex and can pose a challenge for organizations undergoing digital transformation. It can affect implementation, data integration, and the end-user experience. That’s why it’s important to get an intuitive, integrated system. Employees should also receive proper training on using new technology, like an application development platform.

Wrong Mindset

When workers have the wrong mindset about digital transformation, the initiatives either regress, underperform, or fail. Digital transformation isn’t just about technology; it’s also about mindset and strategy. Workers’ beliefs about digital change can significantly influence their attitude towards digital transformation.

Employees with a correct mindset see digital transformation as an opportunity for professional growth, while those with an incorrect one believe it will take away their jobs. Digital leaders and CEOs must create the mindset change necessary for successful transformations.

Operational Points of View (POVs)

Outdated organizational structures, rigid leadership styles, and inefficient workflows can all hamper digital transformation success. This was apparent in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and companies rushed to switch to a remote business model.

Adopting new tools is hard enough, but when you add operational POVs to the mix, digital transformation can begin to look impossible. By focusing on change management, digital leaders can prepare their companies for what lies ahead.

Design a Digital Transformation Strategy That Works for You

Digital transformation changes the way your business operates. If you want to build better systems, business processes, and workflows, talk to your employees. Involve them to capitalize on institutional knowledge and get buy-in from the people who will use the technology.

Also, keep testing and refining your initiatives, as digital transformation rewards experimentation and creativity. If an initiative fails to deliver, try something else. If you don’t test and tweak digital initiatives, they will cost more and take longer to implement.

KissflowKissflow is a leading SaaS software company offering award-winning low-code & no-code work management solutions used by organizations in over 160 countries. Kissflow’s offerings include product platforms for workflow management system, low code application development, procurement cloud solution, digital workplace, project management, and community management, all of them designed to simplify work. Kissflow powers more than 50 Fortune 500 companies such as Airbus, McDermott, Reckitt Benckiser, and Olympus. Kissflow is featured as a leader in G2, the world’s largest user reviews aggregator and by renowned analyst firms Gartner & Forrester. Kissflow has a globally distributed workforce of close to 400 employees.



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