- What is Digital Transformation (DX)?
- Why is Digital Transformation Essential for your Business?
- The Key Elements of Digital Transformation
- Steps for Creating an Effective Digital Transformation Strategy
- Appinventiv’s Three-Step Digital Transformation Framework
- What are the Biggest Digital Transformation Challenges Organizations Face?
- Failure Stories of Digital Transformation and What You Can Learn from Them
- How We Measure the ROI of Digital Transformation-Directed Efforts?
- How We Helped Top Brands in their Successful Digital Transformation Journey?
- Popular Myths About Digital Transformation
- Digital transformation trends to look out for in 2022
Investments in digital transformation for enterprises have skyrocketed, especially after the pandemic outbreak. Organizations have pivoted to new business models to increase flexibility, scalability, and cost control. Mission-critical services of all kinds are being digitalized such as remote learning, online shopping, and supply chain management
By offering services digitally, organizations can effectively deliver the experiences their stakeholders and end-users expect. They can also expect to see growth in employee satisfaction, customer engagement, and business innovation. Many big brands like Domino’s and Walmart are already implementing digital transformation methodologies and seeing dramatic results.
In fact, a report by Markets and Markets reveals that global spending in digital technologies is expected to reach USD 1247.5 billion by 2026. Various factors such as the changing landscape of customer intelligence to drive the market and increased spending on marketing and advertising activities by enterprises are expected to drive the adoption of digital transformation technologies and services.
In this digital transformation guide, we will discuss the various aspects of digital transformation, including the key elements of digital transformation for enterprises, failed stories, and steps for creating a digital transformation strategy. So, let’s get started!
What is Digital Transformation (DX)?
Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology in every business area, fundamentally changing how businesses operate and deliver value to customers. When we look deeper inside, the achievement of digital transformation goals can be seen as a cultural change that makes businesses sometimes even let go of the business practices that they had been following traditionally, in order to welcome new-age practices.
Why is Digital Transformation Essential for your Business?
Digital transformation is a growing trend for businesses all over the globe. It enables them to meet and actually anticipate the needs of their customers and other stakeholders. Companies can also work faster and more efficiently to better compete in the marketplace.
On that note, here are the top benefits of digital transformation as you embark on your digital journey.
Increases efficiency and productivity: Digital technologies increase efficiency and productivity by speeding up processes and streamlining operations. For instance, robotic process automation (RPA) can outperform humans by multifold. A research by IBM showed that bots completed tasks 20 times faster than humans, and they generally don’t make errors as people do.
Moreover, data analytics and business intelligence tools can collect and analyze data at a speed and accuracy unmatched by humans. Workers then use that analysis to make decisions faster than they could without advanced technologies.
Improves customer engagements: Digital technologies allow businesses to collect, store and analyze customer data to learn more about their customers’ preferences and needs. Companies can use technologies like artificial intelligence and data analytics to gain greater insights, allowing them to create products and services tailored to each customer’s unique preferences.
Promotes digital culture: By providing employees with the right tools, digital transformation encourages a digital culture. While these tools provide a seamless way to collaborate, they also help to move the entire organization ahead digitally. This digital culture shift is crucial for businesses to remain sustainable. It forces the upskilling and digital learning of team members to take advantage of the benefits of digital transformation.
Increases revenue: Digital transformation provides a roadmap to deal with uncertainty and changing customer expectations, resulting in higher profitability and reduced business costs. As per a report by the SAP Center for Business Insight and Oxford Economics, 80% of executives said their digital transformation efforts have resulted in increased profitability, while 85% of them experienced increased market share.
Betters resource management: As companies transform, they replace legacy systems with modern IT architectures designed to consolidate processes and seamlessly enable the flow of data across all departments. This end-to-end digital technology approach helps executives and IT leaders eliminate duplicate and superfluous technologies, as well as associated costs.
Moreover, as-a-service platforms and on-demand computing resources enable organizations to optimize their technology spending by providing as much computing capacity as required.
In addition to these perks, there are several goals that businesses seek to achieve with their digital transformation efforts, as given below.
What Causes Digital Disruption?
Clearly, digital transformation is no longer an option, but an inevitable part of today’s uncertain and evolving marketplace. It applies the power of data science and other technologies to shape your business around new possibilities. The major driver of digital transformation is the digital disruption caused by emerging technologies and new business models. It is a paradigm shift that is here to stay, with bone-deep effects for all organizations.
Again, what’s causing this massive digital disruption? Let’s find out below:
Technical innovations: A series of technologies with obvious transformation abilities like AI, IoT, and Blockchain are the first cause of digital transformation for businesses. It is not only the development of these technologies, but also their adoption by the government, businesses, and customers to offer newness that drives transformation.
Customer demands: Customers’ needs and demands are not wholly dependent on technical innovations. They can be driven by societal changes, new trends, and changed ways of interacting with a business, amongst a number of other driving factors.
The fact that customers are at the center of business efforts and value offerings, their changing needs also become a primal cause why businesses seek enterprise digital strategy consulting services.
Ecosystem changes: Companies are a part of much broader ecosystems – business and social. Demand from stakeholders for adopting, collaborating with transformational businesses are some of the examples of business ecosystems. While regulatory changes, political changes, natural disasters, or pandemics are a part of social causes that can demand businesses to transform digitally.
For instance, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has massively accelerated digitalization in businesses. Companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years. Additionally, the share of digital or digitally enabled products in their portfolios has accelerated by seven years.
The Key Elements of Digital Transformation
In this section, we will discuss the important elements of digital transformation. Although their implementation will look different for every organization, there are six key elements that every successful digital transformation needs to consider and prioritize.
Digital transformation drives customer experience towards ultimate brand resonance. Businesses across sectors are using digital platforms and technologies for gaining insight into customers’ needs, communicating with them directly, and inherently transforming the digital customer experience. A Harvard Business Report survey found that 40% of respondents named customer experience their top priority for their digital transformations.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in new communication channels, e-commerce shopping, and personalization across industries. Each of these advancements aims to create unique, better digital customer experiences.
One of the main reasons for adopting digital transformation is to eliminate the pain points of your business for your team and customers. But how will you know what these pain points are? Data integration and analysis can help identify them. Many times, businesses don’t analyze their data while creating transformation strategies. This is not the right way to work.
If you don’t analyze data, you may miss out on the loopholes that your customers have to deal with regularly. Data-driven insights can help your team identify the best solutions to problems, thus leading to creating a better digital transformation strategy and process.
Digitalization of processes lowers the amount of resources and time needed for maintaining operations and innovating. Companies are enabling workers with digital tools and platforms for improving collaboration on the go while using digitalization tools for streamlining their operations through data capture and analysis automation. For instance, many companies have implemented robotic process automation to simplify their back-office processes, including legal and accounting as examples.
Modification of business models also acts as a key element of digital transformation. While a number of traditional businesses are shifting to digital platforms to change their offerings, there are a number of other businesses that are simply adding new digital-centric models in their business offerings.
Identifying fitting technologies for your business is one of the crucial elements of digital transformation. Implementing new technologies in your company requires a lot of financial investment. Hence, it must be done carefully and correctly. Whether you are dealing with application modernization, updation of legacy systems, or implementation of entirely new digital systems, you must select the most fitting technology.
Being clear about your technology implementation can help you to:
- Carry out the transformation process smoothly and efficiently
- Ensure that you invest within your constraints
- Build a future-ready business
- Overcome flawed processes
Usually, clients and employees of an organization are reluctant towards major changes, which makes it difficult to execute any transformation. Hence, it is helpful if you prepare your employees for it in advance. You can achieve this through effective communication.
- Talk to your employees about the digital transformation strategy and how it will benefit everyone
- Conduct training sessions for team members to prepare them beforehand
- Provide regular updates and be consistent with your efforts to reassure them
Steps for Creating an Effective Digital Transformation Strategy
A digital transformation strategy is a plan of action for introducing and driving a digital transformation initiative forward. Your strategy will define what business goals and objectives you want to achieve through digital transformation initiatives.
An effective digital transformation strategy will help create a framework for you to follow throughout this ever-evolving process.
Here are the steps to consider when implementing a digital transformation strategy:
Identify your goals and objectives: A digital transformation strategy should outline what your objectives are, and what steps are needed to achieve your goals. As digital transformation looks different for every organization, it’s important to note that the objectives of each organization vary as well. But there are some basic objectives every organization should consider:
- How can you increase customer engagement?
- Can you create a cost-effective and more efficient business model with the adoption of new technology and processes?
- Do you have processes in place to gather data and insight from analytics?
Answering these questions will help identify areas within your plan that require immediate attention, or which components of your strategy should be addressed first.
Get leaders and employees on board: If you want your digital transformation strategy to succeed, you need the support of people. The first step is to get executive sponsorship for your efforts. Having executive buy-in makes it easier to begin the digital transformation planning process. Getting C-suite on board can also expedite your digital transformation journey.
Listen to the problems of your employees and team members. If you can solve their problems with digital transformation, they will be more willing to be part of your transformation journey. Make sure your employees understand what digital transformation is and what it means for your brand. You can also organize meetings with key stakeholders to discuss the DX process and identify key issues before you begin.
Establish new business processes: Your ‘business as usual’ approach may not match your digital transformation initiative. Creating and adopting new processes can only help your organization succeed.
For some organizations, a digital transformation plan will require a complete overhaul in processes. To organize this change, it’s critical to ensure that everyone, including employees and other stakeholders, understands the updates, knows who is accountable for what, and what systems are being implemented to support them.
Set KPIs: The next step is to establish KPIs to measure success and track goals. You can start with objectives that your team cares about. For instance, IT teams can begin monitoring KPIs for a certain type of infrastructure. Service delivery and assurance teams can start by monitoring business activity trends and volumes. KPIs will help determine how well your efforts are doing and give you a goal to work towards.
Also, you can identify the best-case scenario, the worst-case scenario, and your expected outcome to help assess the success of your KPIs.
Choose your technology wisely: Make sure to choose the technology that supports the processes you’re optimizing. Find a technology that meets your needs and helps scale your business. Ultimately, the technology you select should align with your goals and help your organization meet its objectives.
Allocate time and budget: Your digital transformation needs to be treated like a series of projects the company plans on undertaking. This means both time and money need to be dedicated to its success. Establish regular meetings to go through each of the issues that arise and to communicate progress.
Allocate a budget for implementing the digital transformation process and discuss the impact on business resources to keep everyone in check. Also, define a process for communicating changes in allocated budgets and time resources to your team and external personnel who might be impacted by the project.
Select the right technology partner: It’s crucial to select the right partner for the successful implementation of the digital transformation process. You should hire a trusted digital transformation consulting firm with the required expertise and knowledge in digital transformation services. The experts will offer top-notch digital solutions and technologies that will drive your digital transformation journey and help scale your business without any hassle.
[Also Read: An Entrepreneur’s Guide on Outsourcing Digital Transformation]
Post-implementation feedback: After you’ve implemented your enterprise digital strategy plan, it’s imperative to collect feedback and measure how successful you have been.
Survey people and partners impacted by the implementation and assess the external responses to the changes.
Determine whether users outside of the core transformation stakeholders were able to buy into the project, ask what they would have done differently, and then refine the process to correct for any shortcomings.
Scale and transform: By now, your company will begin to see results. Leverage this success to gain momentum and scale your business. There will always be new customer needs and emerging technologies that need to be accounted for. Take the momentum built up from your achievements and handle the new needs as you strive to make your company as competitive as possible.
Now that we have seen the steps to transform your business digitally in this digital transformation guide, let’s take a look at the three-step digital transformation framework that our team follows.
Appinventiv’s Three-Step Digital Transformation Framework
Our digital transformation roadmap is designed to give business leaders a starting point. They act as a checklist of what needs to be done and a sequence of steps that have to be taken. If we had to list down the differentiating points between our framework and ones popularized by other digital transformation companies, we would highlight their role in:
- Helping executives see the bigger picture
- Drilling down the concept to a stage where we talk in tasks and sequences
- Transformation of back and front office
- Being customized according to every business precise needs.
Step 1: Understand Industry-Specific Digital Disruption Opportunities
Digital business transformation solutions impact industries differently. Even though it creates opportunities that enable businesses to adopt alternative business models, every industry requires a different transformation approach.
While we advertise digital innovation led by mobile apps, Internet of Things, AI, Blockchain, etc to every business, the use cases differ. For example, Manufacturing can make use of digital transformation in supply chain management, while Healthcare can use the technologies to solve insufficient access. Digital transformation in banking can be used for blurring geographical boundaries and digital transformation in fintech can be used to detect fraudulent activities.
Two key stages of our digital transformation consulting services: product discovery workshop and kickoff meeting start with identifying the challenges that are unique to every industry and finding use cases for disruptive technologies to solve those challenges.
Step 2: Create a Customer-Centric Business Strategy
Beneficial digital transformation efforts begin with customers. They are, from their essence, built for delivering a great customer experience.
When we talk about putting customers first, we make businesses understand how modern customers, loaded with the power of digital technology on one hand and wealth of information on the other, compare, shop, and share.
Our first step of action is to bring businesses on the platforms their customers are on and availing them with technologies that their customers are making use of. We create a framework for them to capture, analyze, and act upon the insights captured from customers’ data.
During this step, we draw a line to where businesses over-deliver against their customers’ expectations or the point where delivering customer service blurs the cost at which it comes. We help businesses understand their customers and the speed at which their needs change. This helps us reduce the cost of overdelivering while enabling businesses to create value that meets their customers’ needs.
Step 3: An Enterprise-level Strategy Which Connects Back, Middle, and Front Office
Appinventiv professionals strongly believe that in order to fully realize the potential of digital transformation, it is important to not just add it in platforms that act as customer touchpoints but also in the supply chain, IT, operations, finance, and human resources.
Here’s how we translate into the front office – We help businesses identify the services, products, and business models which do not contribute to a better customer experience. We incorporate tools and processes built on AI-driven data capture and analytics for tracking and anticipating customers’ behavior in real-time while offering them personalized experiences and products.
In the middle office, the transformation stage looks at delivering a superior experience to employees. We use our enterprise software development expertise to develop solutions that better connectivity, improve transparency and agility, and lower friction.
Above all, we create digital solutions that connect the middle office with the front and back office.
Lastly, in the case of the back office, our efforts in back-office digital transformation revolve around better automation, abandonment or modernization of legacy systems, and creation of a more scalable IT system that is built on the cloud ecosystem. Most importantly, we concentrate on making the back office an enabler in offering real-time data which supports predictive actions.
In addition to these steps, we take measures to help our partners understand that digital transformation is not a one-off step but a continuous journey. And although our role as one of the trusted digital transformation consulting companies ends here, they continue in the face of helping their employees understand the need for digital transformation and bringing a change in the work culture.
What are the Biggest Digital Transformation Challenges Organizations Face?
While the digital transformation roadmap presents unique opportunities for organizations to innovate and grow, it also comes with several challenges. From organization-wide resistance towards change and the presence of legacy systems to the uncertainty in terms of what customers need, the list of challenges can go on for ages.
On that note, here are some of the common and biggest digital transformation challenges organizations face:
- Lack of proper IT skills: To succeed in your enterprise digital transformation efforts, you’ll need a skilled, high-performing IT team. And this is difficult to put together – especially in the current tech worker shortage. According to an enterprise study, 54% of organizations said that they’re not able to accomplish their digital transformation goals because of a lack of technically-skilled employees. In such situations, organizations can hire consultants and digital transformation experts to help bridge the implementation and migration gap.
- Security concerns: One of the major concerns of data-driven industries is security and privacy issues. And that is valid. Most digital transformation efforts involve leaving behind on-premise solutions to move to the cloud, as well as integrating all of a company’s data into one centralized system. While it comes with several advantages, it also brings in the increased threat of cyberattacks and stealing of customer data and company secrets. Be sure to have a plan in place to proactively mitigate these threats before they happen.
- Budget constraints: Digital transformation is not a cheap investment. For organizations that have a less-than-stellar transformation strategy, scope creep can slowly start to push back deadlines and add in new work – all adding to the cost of a project. Also, with evolving customer needs or IT errors, the cost of digital transformation continues to increase.
- Organizational culture: Shortcomings in the organization’s culture are one of the biggest business transformation challenges. The most common misconception that business owners have is that digital transformation is possible if a company upgrades its tools and technologies.
However, the reality is that digital transformation is not just about technologies. It is also about your organization’s ability to adapt to these changes. Even if you develop a robust digital transformation strategy, governing organization-wide change can be one of the most prominent digital transformation problems. Failing to communicate the importance of digital transformation across the enterprise might lead to resistance amongst the employees to change.
Now that we have seen major challenges related to digital transformation, let’s take a look at a few companies that failed to adapt to disruption and paid the ultimate price.
Failure Stories of Digital Transformation and What You Can Learn from Them
There are many well-known businesses that have today become some of the biggest failure lessons of the world. Let us peek into what went wrong for them, and what learning we can draw from their mistakes.
Blockbuster – CEO John Antioco, as a response to Netflix’s growing demand, funded a challenger service known as Total Access. The board thought of the move as an expensive one and fired John Antioco while reversing his changes.
Lesson: Ensure your board has your back in a digital transformation project.
Xerox – With its main platform falling in the pit of low demand, the company came up with a new secretarial machine designed to be automated, which was way ahead of its time.
Lesson: Focus on the timing.
Kodak – When the brand’s revenue magnet – developing film – lost demand, the company which was once at the top of the photography equipment industry filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Kodak failed to adapt to advances in technology following the invention of the digital camera in 1975.
Lesson: Realize the digital capabilities and transform before the business model dies.
Worried about digital transformation challenges in your road to success?
A key lesson that we draw from these failure stories is the need to have a measure set up for measuring the return on investment. But it is a lot easier said than done.
How We Measure the ROI of Digital Transformation-Directed Efforts?
In order to validate digital transformation success, we always ask our partnered business leaders to quantify the returns on investment. We understand that the nature of digital transformation is to be evolving and ongoing, which means that traditional business calculations and financial governance methods can be less effective. But quantifying success is mandatory for continued investment.
Here’s Appinventiv advice on how to approach measuring digital transformation solutions success –
When gauging how the digital transformation investments are performing, take a portfolio view in place of a project view. Imagine yourself as a venture capital firm and look at the overall performance for determining how things are going in place of noting the difference project-by-project. In addition to this:
- Set the initial level metrics before applying digital transformation changes
- Build micro-metrics for an agile environment
- Add in business outcomes like LTV, time to market, operational effectiveness, and cost-benefit analysis.
How We Helped Top Brands in their Successful Digital Transformation Journey?
Digital transformation has crossed the stage of just being a trend. It has now become essential for businesses to survive and thrive in the competitive landscape. As a leading digital transformation company, we have developed many digital solutions based on our clients’ requirements. We have a highly skilled team of professionals who have mastered all the latest technologies such as AI, ML, IoT, and Cloud needed to develop top-notch solutions that drive your digital transformation strategy.
ERP solution for a leading furniture retailer
We recently developed an ERP solution for IKEA, one of the world’s largest furniture companies. The powerful ERP solution helps walk-in customers go through the store’s product catalogs right from the in-store tablet panel.
The result? Our dedicated efforts led to the creation of a solution that is today getting expanded to the 7+ IKEA stores in the UAE. The retail outlet touts the solution as the biggest source of ROI measurement.
You might also want to explore ERP software development cost estimation for your business
AI solution for a global bank
We recently helped a global bank automate its banking processes using artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Our team deployed an AI-based chatbot assistant in the bank’s web and mobile apps that runs in seven different languages. To improve ATM cash management and determine optimal cash levels for each ATM, our team used advanced ML techniques to analyze millions of transactional data points and variables.
This helped our client to reduce manual processes by 35% and improve accuracy by 50%. Also, they are now able to handle over 50% of customer service requests through chatbot, thus reducing the manpower costs by 20%.
End-to-end application for a sports merchandise brand
For another client Adidas, our experts worked on creating an end-to-end application for their Middle Eastern users. We used industry-loved technologies and frameworks across native Android and iOS to build an engaging shopping experience for their customers.
The app has been downloaded 2 million times to date. Also, the company has acquired 500k new users.
Well, these are just a few examples of the brands that we helped with in their digital transformation process. Check out our complete portfolio of success stories here.
Popular Myths About Digital Transformation
Up until this point, we have looked into digital transformation adoption in a business context from multiple facets. However, the one thing that can put all these efforts into vain is believing the popular myths that surround digital transformation. Let us take a look at some of the common myths related to digital transformation:
1. Business transformation is all about technology
Although technology plays a massive role in making a company a digital brand, the DX process is an endless mix of user-specific processes. At its crux, it is about bringing businesses to a point where they understand their customers’ needs and market in a way that they are able to benefit from trends before their competitors.
2. You will have to launch a new product
Businesses don’t necessarily have to launch an app or create a new website to make their digital customers fall in love with them again. They can also revisit their offering and marketing communications, ensuring that they are aligned with the modern-day customers. A simple tweak in certain business aspects can also play a huge role in offering impactful user value.
Digital transformation trends to look out for in 2022
From 5G, cloud to hybrid work model, below are some of the digital transformation trends business leaders can expect to become more prevalent in 2022:
Cloud technology: Cloud-based technologies and solutions are becoming increasingly popular due to their exceptional benefits, including cost savings, scalability, and ease of use. Many organizations are migrating from traditional on-premises software to cloud-based solutions as they are more efficient and cost-effective ways to run business applications. Moreover, cloud computing-based services provide improved cyber-security features and keep companies’ data safe.
5G: In 2022, 5G will finally become mainstream. This tech trend is expected to dramatically improve how services are delivered to users, thus transforming business operations and models. This network will provide lower latency, faster speeds, and a higher density than 4G. Read more about 5G and IoT endless use cases.
Hybrid work model: Hybrid work environments are going to be the most common enterprise digital transformation trend in 2022 and beyond. They are rapidly growing, and workplaces are evolving. Companies are being forced to deliver and adapt digitally connected experiences in a bid to increase efficiency and retain talent.
According to Accenture’s recent report, 63% of companies have already adopted a ‘productivity anywhere’ model. The onus is on employers to ensure that their workforce is equipped with proper resources and support to be successful.
With the change in workplace norms, employees’ expectations have also evolved and the work-life balance has shifted to allow more room to spend time doing things that there are not a part of their job.
Artificial intelligence: According to PwC estimates, AI will contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Artificial intelligence is becoming an essential part of everyday life.
By democratizing AI, digital transformation within a business can be accelerated. This advanced technology can be regularized by making it accessible to every organization and even every employee within that organization.
By using AI-based solutions, you can forecast trends, make decisions, learn, and improve. Whether it is a startup or a large corporation, every company is trying to incorporate AI into its processes and systems to enhance customer experience.
Everything-as-a-service: Everything-as-a-service (XaaS) is gaining popularity due to its ability to boost agility and lower costs, and hence improve workforce efficiency. With cutting-edge technologies that are easily deployable, innovation is accelerated and products are brought to market faster. With the help of XaaS, businesses have created new ways to increase customer engagement, thereby gaining a competitive edge. XaaS capitalizes on emerging technologies through Hybrid and Intelligent Edge services. Additionally, cheap and easy internet access has contributed to the growth of XaaS.
We hope this digital transformation guide was helpful in understanding the various aspects of digital transformation initiatives. Every enterprise and organization must eventually make digitalization a strategic cornerstone if they want to remain competitive and better serve their constituents.
Also, if convenience, scalability, and security are your top priorities, then implementing digital transformation initiatives is a smart move.
In case you want to start your digital transformation journey, or need help mid-way, contact our experts. They will guide you through the process and help in your digital transformation initiatives.