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How To Pave The Path To Digital Transformation

By Jonathan Bingham | October 12, 2018

This post originally appeared on Forbes

Digital transformation has remained a hot topic this year not only because of how integral it is for businesses, but also because so many conversations focus on predicting where it’s poised to go. Worldwide, companies are predicted to spend $1.7 trillion on digital transformation by the end of 2019, which will be up 42% from 2017. A minimum of 40% of businesses will have digital leadership teams on staff by the end of 2018 — as opposed to a single digital transformation executive — to better execute companywide digital initiatives.

But shifting to a culture of digital transformation is easier said than done. Organizations of all sizes and industries of all types — including financial services, supply chain, energy, manufacturing and retail — struggle to create success in their digital initiatives, regardless of how much money they put toward the problem.

So, how can your company create the right environment for success in your digital transformation efforts?

GET EVERYONE TO BUY IN

Digital transformation is a team sport. Getting everyone involved is the key to fundamentally transforming your company to make it leaner and more agile and cost-effective.

To be successful, you need to build innovation into your company’s cultural DNA, not just its boilerplate. This shift in mindset requires engaging stakeholders across various departments in the strategic planning process. Business leaders need to work with stakeholders to manage any resistance to the idea of digital change, ensure they’re aligning the company’s values to its outcomes, and mitigate risk and cost. An important part of this process is clearly mapping out the objectives for the key stakeholders and getting buy-in through third-party validation. By involving multiple voices around key objectives and gaining buy-in early on, you’ll better ensure long-term success for your digital initiatives.

GET YOUR TECH READY

“Of course, while the cultural shift is important, there’s also an obvious technical component to digital transformation. Reducing the complexity of your technology systems is the best way to prime your technical infrastructure for change. Pare down and streamline systems to open opportunities to optimize business processes. Establish a network of leaders ready to pave the way for digital transformation initiatives, and begin applying rigor and oversight that eliminates manual customization work and improves operational efficiency.

For many, reducing system complexity is another one of those things that’s easier said than done. Salvaging any value from legacy systems, retraining employees as needed and re-architecting your company for efficiency are all necessary. In turn, you’ll reduce maintenance costs and free up the budget for continuous innovation. It’s this ability to adapt to the changing digital environment that will set your business up for market leadership.

LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS TO ENABLE DIGITAL ONES

Instituting this type of cultural and technical change may seem intimidating, but in today’s competitive landscape it’s also an integral part of staying ahead. Building digital transformation into your company’s culture involves all facets of the business — especially in the initial strategic planning. Map out a plan, and address any internal resistance. And carefully align your company’s goals and values early on to ensure you’re fostering alignment among internal stakeholders. Perhaps equally as important is reducing any technology complexities, which frees up time and money that you can use to fuel future innovations.

By achieving these two things, businesses can let their efficiencies drive future digital transformation opportunities to quickly become industry leaders.

Forbes Boston Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners in Greater Boston.

Jonathan Bingham

CEO

View more by Jonathan Bingham

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