In the post-pandemic world, digital transformation is one of the top priorities for companies globally. Having seen the role that technology played during the initial stages of the pandemic, companies have realized that technology, if leveraged timely and in a business-results-driven manner, can play a massive role in not only business continuity but accelerating the business forward.
If technologies like collaboration and communications tools, cloud, and SaaS did not exist, it would have led to more difficult times and possible economic devastation for businesses.
Though digital transformation has been a goal for most companies, even before the pandemic, the progress made on this front in just the last year is significant and faster than what has been accomplished over the previous few years. Now that businesses have seen the value that they can drive from this effort, there is a greater desire to progress further and faster on their digital transformation roadmap.
Many organizations face several roadblocks on their digital transformation journey, the most significant and most damaging barrier being the myths surrounding it. This blog debunks the critical myths surrounding digital transformation so that organizations feel confident in taking those forward steps in their journey and not being deterred when challenges present themselves.
Myth 1: Digital transformation is ONLY about technology
Most discussions regarding digital transformation revolve around technology. While technology is important, it is not everything, and what companies really want is "value."
For example, from a customer delivery standpoint, the company would want to deliver the highest-quality service to its customers in a cost-effective manner and would need technology to drive a differentiated outcome. However, technology is a means to achieve the outcome, not the outcome itself. Successful digital transformation needs strategic planning, organizational adoption and not just IT investment.
Myth 2: Digital transformation needs to be driven by the IT team
Most digital transformation initiatives fail because they do not find enough support from leadership. Rethinking the business, how products and services are delivered, how customers are engaged and retained is too huge a change to be driven solely by the IT team. Digital transformation is the responsibility of the management team and key stakeholders within the organization, and without their commitment, the employees at the grassroots level will not be able to drive and adjust to the cultural and functional changes required for the initiative to be successful. It is a technology and business concept that needs acceptance across the depth and breadth of the organization.
Myth 3: Digital transformation is expensive
As consultants, we often hear "cost" to be the biggest deterrent for digital transformation. However, successfully transforming the way the business operates and driving increased productivity is the first step towards strategic cost optimization and can help an organization better align its IT budget to business objectives. Transitioning budget from keeping an inefficient and ineffective environment running to implementing enabling technology can save significant IT waste and debt in the long run. For example, cloud-based technologies and subscription-led services form the technology base for digital transformation and are cost-effective if implemented and managed properly.
Ultimately, a successful digital transformation increases data transparency, reduces paperwork, boosts cross-team collaboration, and helps in resource optimization. Let’s not forget the flip side of the coin as it relates to cost, which is revenue. Digital transformation should always be aligned to achieving a return on investment, and if planned properly, the benefits and return achieved far outweigh the initial cost to implement change.
Myth 4: Digital transformation means reducing your workforce
Digital transformation does not mean workforce reduction. In fact, digital transformation creates greater opportunities for employees. With increased automation, tighter integration, greater visibility and transparency into key processes and systems, employees can thrive, grow and unlock their true capability and contribution. Digital technology is intended to complement the skills of the workforce, not replace them.
Myth 5: Digital transformation is quick
Digital transformation is not a quick, single initiative that you allocate a few resources to and can be completed in a few months. Digital transformation is a continuous process and needs focus, commitment, and measurement from teams to be successful. In addition, the amount of change, along with its pace, requires a programmatic approach to effectively manage on a going-forward basis. While some results can be realized immediately, it may also take more than a year to recognize the material, tangible value from digital transformation initiatives.
Myth 6: Digital transformation can wait
While the COVID-19 pandemic has, to a great degree, shattered this belief, many companies still think that they can hold off on implementing change and adopting modernized and digital capabilities. With these organizations, there has to be a change in mindset. What got you here is not going to take you where you need to get to. Companies cannot afford to delay digital transformation. The broader ecosystem is not waiting. The customer demographic and expectations are shifting. Partners are modernizing and expect the same from those with who they will continue to business with.
How to drive digital transformation successfully
Digital transformation works when leaders in the organization champion the initiative, drive engagement at all levels, educate the workforce on the benefits, and build enthusiasm. By doing this, strategic thinking and creativity come into focus and become a part of the business process and culture.
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