What Makes A Successful Digital Transformation?

As digital transformation continues to reshape various industries, many companies are making efforts to keep up with their competitors or capture the benefits of the emerging trends in the tech world. According to a McKinsey Global Survey, about eight in ten respondents admit that their organizations have taken steps towards transformation in the past five years.


Unfortunately, success in digital transformation is proving elusive for most organizations as the study shows that only less than one-third of organizational attempts succeed in bringing the desired results. The number of digital transformations that improve the company’s performance and manage to sustain those gains is even lower.


Here we look at the key things that make a successful digital transformation.


What are the Keys to Successful Digital Transformation?

Adopting the latest technologies in organizations is the main step towards digital transformation, but this is just part of the long journey. Many companies make technological changes that make them stand out from the rest and leverage digital transformation benefits.


When digital transformation development is done with the key factors in place, companies are three times more likely to get excellent results. These key factors include:

- Ensuring you have the right, digital-savvy leaders at all levels

- Empowering employees to work in new ways

- Building capabilities ideal for the future workforce

- Communicating frequently through digital and traditional methods

- Proving a day-to-day digital upgrade to your tools


Ensuring you have the right, digital-savvy leaders at all levels

Digital transformation represents change, which means that the effect is felt at all levels, including your search for talent and capabilities. According to a survey, about 70 percent of all respondents confessed that the top teams in the organizations changed during transformation as new leaders that were familiar with the digital technologies took over the management roles.


Introducing leaders with adequate knowledge in digital technologies is one of the major keys to successful transformation, and so is the adoption of specific roles. Transformation-specific roles such as program-management leaders, transformation office leaders, and individual initiatives leaders solely focus on the change effort. When individuals in key positions are committed and more involved in the process, digital transformation success is more likely.


Empowering employees to work in new ways

Successful digital transformations will require behavioral and cultural changes such as increased collaboration, calculated risk-taking, and customer-centricity. The first step in empowering people to work in new ways is reinforcing new ways of working and behaviors through formal mechanisms, which is a practical action that helps promote organizational change. This includes establishing practices related to new ways of working, such as openwork or continuous learning environments.


The other important step to take is giving people a chance to have a say on where digitalization should be adopted. When employees see digitalization as their ideas, they are more likely to support the business leading to great success.


Moreover, you should also allow people in key roles to reinforce change as a way of empowering workers. Success depends on those engaged in transformation and senior leaders, which means that you should encourage all the employees to change old working ways.


Therefore, leaders should encourage employees to try new ideas through rapid prototyping and allow them to learn from their failures. Seniors in the key roles should also make sure that there is a collaborative approach by encouraging their team to work with others on transformations.


Building capabilities ideal for the future workforce

Developing skills and talent at all levels of the organization is one of the key factors in ensuring your digital change efforts bear fruits. First, building capabilities for the future workforce should redefine your employees’ roles and responsibilities to ensure that they align with the organization’s goals. This helps clarify the capabilities and roles that the organization needs in achieving the transformation’s objectives.


The other key factors relate to engaging technology-innovation managers, integrators, and other people with specific roles, which helps bridge the gaps between the traditional and digital transformation. Integrators translate and integrate new methods in digitalization before processing them into existing working ways. Moreover, integrators also help connect the traditional methods with digital business parts as they have vast knowledge in technical aspects and business.


On the other hand, technology-innovation managers have excellent technical skills that enable them to lead the company in digital innovations. The company should also be able to fund and possess a more robust approach to skill and talent development to experience winning transformations. Using a range of approaches during recruitment also plays a key role in ensuring success.


Communicating frequently through digital and traditional methods

Ensuring that there is clear communication during a digital transformation is just as important as traditional change efforts. Communicating a change clearly helps all the employees understand the organization’s direction and why the new changes are important. Good communication allows senior leaders to foster a sense of urgency in making the necessary changes in transformation within their units.


Therefore, clear communication of the organization’s key performance indicators is one of the most significant successful transformation elements. Companies using digital and remote communication to pass their vision to their employees are more successful in supporting growth than those conveying their goals through traditional methods.


Proving a day-to-day digital upgrade to your tools

Digitizing processes and tools is one of the most effective ways of empowering employees to work in new ways that favor digital transformation. For many companies that have achieved a successful transformation, using digital tools is one of the keys to digitalization. Adopting digital tools that ensure information is more accessible to people in all levels of the organization, promotes a successful transformation.


The other key step in giving a day to day digital upgrade is adopting digital self-service technologies for business partners, employees and other groups. Additionally, your company should also focus on introducing new technologies in company operations to help modify their standard procedures. The use of interactive tools and data-based decision making can also play a key role in ensuring a successful transformation.


Set Out the Expected Commercial Value

Most projects on digital transformation fail because those who are involved in the process can’t determine the economic benefits created by the adoption of new technologies. Fairing to set out and measure the expected commercial value makes the organization to only focus on what they are spending alone, and ignore what they are gaining from digitalization.


Consequently, you must come up with a clear roadmap that captures concrete descriptions of the expected commercial value or benefits. For instance, how much do you intend to save on maintaining your machines by introducing big data analytics in your organization? How many visits will you manage to avoid or how much time will you save if you adopt augmented reality support?


Consistently measure and monitor the success

You should consistently measure and monitor the success of the company and share the metrics across the organization. Doing this makes sure that you remain focused, learn, and able to adapt to potential challenges while helping you validate your approach.


Organizations should also identify the resources that they lack and try to create them externally and internally to be able to launch their projects easily. All the economic stakeholders will be required to embrace change to ensure there is great success and sustainability of your business.


Why Do Companies Fail in Digital Transformation?

Organizations fail to achieve a successful digital transformation due to different reasons. Here we look at the two major issues that hold most companies back.


1.       Hiring the right team, but forcing them to innovate within the existing ways of working


2.       Innovating using existing ways of working or process, which usually faces a wide range of obstacles including lack of competence, internal resistance, and poor organizational structure


Final Thoughts

Embarking on a project that allows your company to attain successful digital transformation is always quite a challenge even for companies with adequate resources. However, the strategies that we have discussed above will play a key role in ensuring organizations are able to meet their transformation goals. Companies should also understand that all the stakeholders, including employees, business partners and customers will have to embrace change in order to promote sustainability and growth of the business.