What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to change the way businesses operate and deliver value to their customers. It involves incorporating digital tools and platforms to streamline processes, improve customer experiences, and enable data-driven decision-making. The goal of digital transformation is to make businesses more efficient, responsive, and adaptable to changing market conditions and customer needs.
Signs Your Organization Needs Digital Transformation
As with anything, there are some tell-tale signs your organization needs digital transformation. You don’t need to have all eight signs, in fact, I hope you don’t have all eight because if you do the situation is critical and your organization needs digital transformation ASAP. Fortunately, that’s something Silicon Mountain can support your organization with. But I digress. Without further ado, the eight signs in no particular order are:
Also known as legacy systems, outdated technology tends to lead to decreased productivity and increased downtime. These systems are often slow and prone to errors. If your organization is using outdated technology, it may struggle to keep up with client demands and its own operations. In this case, it’s definitely time to update your tech.
Marked by a high degree of isolation, siloed departments don’t collaborate or communicate effectively with each other. Unfortunately, that frequently means missed insights and opportunities. It can also lead to duplicated efforts, which is a waste of time, money, and energy. Interestingly, siloed departments can be the result of another one of the signs your organization needs digital transformation, inefficient processes. Of course, it can also be the cause of inefficient processes, or a bit of both result and cause. No matter the case, siloed departments usually need to adopt new collaboration tools and streamline processes.
If your organization relies on lots of manual processes, it’s likely time for a digital upgrade, especially if those manual processes are repetitive. At best, these processes are time-consuming, more prone to error, and not easily scalable. In their more annoying and costly incarnation, manual processes result in multiple people doing duplicate work; leading to multiple versions, confusion, and inconsistency. Bringing in digital solutions to support completion or even automate these processes results in less wasted resources, ease of scalability, and often increased customer satisfaction as time to delivery is usually reduced.
Note: I know automation can be a touchy subject because most people hear “automation” and immediately think “job loss.” But I want to remind you that’s not inherent in automation, that’s an organizational choice to take the path of automation to replace my employees. Another path, automation to optimally leverage and continue to develop my employees, exists and is also an organizational choice.
Lack of Operational Visibility
You submitted the request for that report last week and you have no idea of the current status. So you message the person you sent the request to for a status update. They loop in the person actually assigned to compile the report for an update. The person compiling the report replies with a status update. Now, in a single instance, that may not seem like a lot to some people. But when’s the last time you had to run a report that wasn’t recurring?
This is just one example of a lack of operational visibility. Conversely, in a digitally transformed organization, this would look more like you never asking for the status of that report again because it’s automatically generated and sent out to you, or on the lesser digitized end of the spectrum, you’d be able to click into a dashboard and see a current status. Speaking of reports, poor data management is another one of the signs your organization needs digital transformation.
Poor Data Management
If retrieving files requires a physical trip that’s reminiscent of being in a horror film and walking into the creepy basement, run, as fast as you can, to find out more about digital transformation for your organization. I doubt your organization’s data management is as drastic as the scenario above, but if you have bits of data here and bits of data there with little logic as to what is where and why; you’re probably not managing your data as effectively as you could be. Ineffective data management can cause any number of issues within your organization but the two most notable are inhibition of your organization’s ability to make decisions and increased risk of data breaches.
Lack of Agility
When a new demand, opportunity, requirement, or threat emerges, how fast can your organization respond? In a competitive environment, organizational agility is a critical component of success. Those organizations who can innovate and stay ahead of the curve, and their competitors have a better advantage. Quick decision-making and quick execution helps keep your organization relevant. But if your organization seems to struggle to keep pace with changes, it might be due to inefficient processes, outdated technology, ineffective decision-making, and any other number of factors that appear elsewhere in this list.
Inability to Scale
Speaking of demand, can your organization handle more customers, more requests, more projects, etc.? And perhaps the better question is, could it handle the increase and still perform at the same level of quality and speed?
Almost every organization hopes to grow, and the ones that don’t are usually the ones that aren’t scalable and whose resources are already maxed out. The thing is, you can’t effectively grow with questionable infrastructure, outdated systems, and inefficient workflows. So, if your organization is struggling to scale, consider it an invitation to look at the other signs your organization needs digital transformation and identify which ones might be contributing to your inability to scale.
Inconsistent Customer Experience
Last, but certainly not least, inconsistent customer experience. This one can single-handedly destroy your organization. And no, that’s not me being dramatic. Without someone to serve, your organization cannot exist. Part of ensuring that an organization continues to have customers is creating and maintaining trust and an inconsistent experience does not support that initiative.
So what does this look like in the real world? You’re considering buying a product and the sales team tells you there’s a 90-day return policy so you go ahead and make the purchase under that impression. 35 days later this product is not meeting your expectations so you go to customer service to return it and they notify you they can’t process the return because it’s past the 30-day return policy. Instant irritation as a customer, right? After you get past the irritation and get things sorted you might wonder how a company does not know its own return policy.
Well, let’s take an internal look at this hypothetical situation. The sales team has newer technology and can quickly navigate online to view an update company return policy of 90-days. The customer service team has older technology, someone made the decision that this department could hold off on upgrading their systems, and it takes a painfully long time to navigate with their systems, so the customer service team has several reference binders because the manual lookup is quicker. The return policy was updated on an internal page online but no other communication about it was made. Thank you, outdated tech, siloed departments, and inefficient workflows.
The Signs Overall
As you can see, each of these eight signs that your organization needs digital transformation rarely occur in isolation. If you spot one, it may mean some others are lurking just below the surface of your organization, which is why I recommend that if you’re considering digital transformation, you approach it with a holistic view and you make sure there’s a discovery phase to the process. Of course, if you’d rather simply hire a partner to guide your organization through its digital transformation, you can contact Silicon Mountain.