Digital transformation can be challenging, but the results are worth it. It enables enterprises to take advantage of modern technologies. It also helps to improve customer experience, increase operational agility, and reduce costs. To achieve all of that companies, need to build a digital transformation strategy. Let’s see what are the key elements of a successful digital strategy.
What is digital transformation strategy?
A well-planned digital transformation strategy is the road map to your business success. That might sound strange, but a digital transformation strategy isn’t only about technology. A true digital transformation strategy creates the story explaining how the business will change for the better because of new technology. Such a strategy includes changing the company culture and customer experience. It may also require changing the old business model.
What are the most important elements of a successful digital transformation strategy? What makes a digital transformation strategy effective?
Determining the goals and the digital processes
A effective digital transformation strategy should start with an end in mind. Enterprises must define what they want to accomplish. What digital transformation will change for customers, their engagement, and their experience. After establishing the objective, leaders should choose and adopt technologies with a clear focus on improving the overall business. Defining the overall objective drives transformation at every level of the organization. It helps create a lasting competitive advantage.
Executive vision and leadership
Every company that is undergoing a digital transformation needs executive vision, leadership, and thorough knowledge of the transformation roadmap. Strong leadership ensures smooth implementation of the process. It offers guidance to employees who may struggle during these changes. A clear vision of digital transformation can help to make the transition easier.
Companies without strong leadership are chaotic during digital transformation. Harvard Business Review expands on this subject:
“While it is important to encourage local ownership of ideas and projects, turning them into game-changers requires clear, sometimes ruthless direction from the center around which projects to scale and in what order. Only the CEO has the power to provide this kind of direction across the entire enterprise. To do that effectively, CEOs need a holistic view of the digital threats and opportunities facing key parts of the business, and a way to link them to an overall vision for how digital is reshaping the competitive landscape.”
Aligning company culture
One of the "Examples of effective digital transformation" is Adobe. In 2012, the company decided to make a switch from traditional software to a subscription-based service business model. They knew they needed all employees to share a common perspective that they do contribute to the customer experience.
To achieve that, Adobe designed the 'Experience-a-thon' - a program that puts employees in their customers’ shoes and spurs change. It turns employees into users. Users who provide immediate feedback to the organization. Adobe successfully engaged its employees. That was the key to a successful digital transformation strategy during their shift to being a cloud company.
“By combining employee and customer experiences, we are able to create rich customer experiences through high levels of employee engagement.” - said Donna Morris, executive vice president of customer and employee experience.
It's also good to consider the example of Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford. The man who led the company through a digital transformation after a very painful 2008 recession. He is considered one of the most significant corporate leaders of the last decade.
Mulally created a good business plan and then shared it with the executive team during a weekly meeting. Later that meeting took place at every level of the company - from C-level, executives through managers, all the way down to front-line employees. Feedback was collected, analyzed, and some of it was applied in the strategy. That move helped not only to improve the business plan, but also to engage employees and the execute strategy.
Researching the customers
The goal of a digital transformation strategy is to create and improve value for the customer. But to achieve that goal, the company needs to know and understand its customers. What are the pain points? What drives them to buy? What devices do they use? How many times do they browse before they buy? Research is the key. A deep understanding of how your customers use digital will help you to design a digital solution that will give your users a unique customer experience. An experience which customers should ideally not be able to find anywhere else but in their interactions with you.
The Wrap Up
Companies with a digital transformation strategy can grow faster. They put themselves ahead of their competition. However, every company has a unique business case and unique problems to solve in their way to digital maturity. The way is much easier with an experienced partner that understands the problems and knows how to solve them. See how Netguru can help you.