Digital Transformation is the Way Forward. Stop Making Excuses.

Digital Transformation

The business case for rapid adoption of digital technologies has never been stronger. The global COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that companies need the agility provided by digital solutions to tackle unexpected challenges.

The pandemic also highlighted how quickly companies and government organizations can change. Changes that seemed impossible before the pandemic were suddenly possible. For example, telemedicine and telework were adopted to the mainstream in a matter of weeks, if not days.

These cases of overnight digital transformations help debunk many excuses companies and leaders often use to delay or avoid investing in digital transformation.

As the pandemic lingers on, all indications suggest that businesses won’t ever return to pre-pandemic normalcy. With that in mind, it is time to quit making these excuses and embrace digital transformation to ensure long-term, sustainable success.

Excuse #1 – It’s too expensive and takes too long

Maintaining the status quo will likely be the costliest option in the long run as new technology is making it easier and cheaper to transform business operations. The pandemic showed that organizations of all types can quickly piece together technology to transform highly manual processes into more efficient digital experiences.

Cloud technology further enables businesses to operate anywhere without negatively impacting speed or quality of service. Transitioning to the cloud provides countless possibilities from reducing IT infrastructure costs to achieving scalability for unique business needs and more.

It is important you don’t fall behind your competitors who are likely investing in new technologies. Stay on top of the technologies your customers, partners and competition are using.

Even if you don’t have the perfect plan, don’t delay digital transformation. Start by identifying low-hanging fruit, processes that are most suitable for automation. Then scale up.

Excuse #2 – Employee resistance

Don’t underestimate your employee’s ability to adapt, transform, learn, and grow. Fears of change, change management, education, and training are among the top reasons businesses stagnate and fail to grow.

Prioritize quick, easy, pre-built tools that don’t require internal tech skills to introduce employees to the idea of change. Don’t forget to involve your stakeholders in the process. This will help them buy into the idea to start strategizing your digital transformation roadmap. Introducing change in bite-sized pieces will help everyone to buy into the vision of change.

It is also critical to communicate how employees’ jobs will change. Show them how digital tools will benefit their workflow as well as the company. The ideal is a balanced mix of artificial intelligence (AI) driven automation and cognitive processing combined with high-value skills and expertise from employees in specific industries and systems.

It is also important to recognize that employee expectations have changed, and many expect flexibility to work remotely. Digital transformation will help organizations ensure that a certain degree of remote work boosts productivity, sustainability, and employee well-being in the long term.

Excuse #3 – Customer experience and expectations

Customer expectations are changing rapidly. They expect quick results and companies need to be efficient and responsive. COVID dispelled the myth that customers need old-fashioned, human touch. Instead, the right balance of human touch and automation is at the base of any successful digital transformation project.

These trends in changing customer expectations were already driven by convenience and price points, and the pandemic accelerated it. Organizations across industries had to transition to digital business seemingly overnight. As lockdowns were instituted, some organizations implemented years of digital transformation in just a few months to avoid disrupting customer services and expectations. A digital façade is no longer sufficient, as complex digital solutions are needed to provide a complete digital customer journey.

Remember that your competition is likely investing in digital advances and customers will gravitate to the company that provides the most convenient experience.

Excuse #4 – Updating legacy systems saves money

Increasingly, IT departments must choose between updating, fixing, and maintaining legacy hardware or outsourcing infrastructure management to a cloud service. Maintaining the legacy hardware often leads to increased costs that ultimately limits agility. The answer is to be strategic rather than simply cost-conscious.

There is also an important difference between digitizing the existing business model and a digital transformation that implements a new business model. Most companies still focus primarily on process automation and efficiency gains. This is important, but it is also important to evaluate existing processes before simply re-implementing them with digital enhancements.

Outdated, manual, and siloed processes slow down business and increase costs. In the long run, it is more expensive to maintain any broken and outdated processes.

Excuse #5 – Things will go back when the pandemic ends

Even when the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror, business will never return to a pre-pandemic state. Pre-pandemic business practices are not sustainable during COVID or in post-COVID business. However, the agility provided by implementing digital solutions helps companies adapt to things like remote work and online commerce to help maintain “business as usual.”

COVID demonstrated what is possible

The pandemic revealed the power of digital transformation to benefit businesses and their customers. Industries and government organizations transformed seemingly overnight. In addition to telemedicine and telework, grocery and restaurant deliveries evolved at light speed. Government agencies transformed how they provide critical services. The pandemic forced them to challenge long-held assumptions on quickly implementing new systems.

Organizations that are not prepared to adapt to these types of seismic changes will continue to struggle. Digitally transformed organizations will be able to adapt to new challenges with speed and agility and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

The pandemic increased the need for companies to accelerate digital transformation. There is no room for excuses that delay technology investments.