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Why Digital Transformation is Impossible Without Organizational Alignment

Why Digital Transformation is Impossible Without Organizational Alignment

Why Digital Transformation is Impossible Without Organizational Alignment
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By Tamara Rosin

Failed digital transformation initiatives tend to have one common denominator: lack of organizational alignment.

When you’re developing your digital transformation strategy, it’s easy to become laser-focused on the technology element. New software. Implementation. Process development. Increased productivity. Go. 

But successful digital transformation requires the coordination of many moving parts. Before you start investing in technology, you need an infrastructure that’s built to support an evolving business strategy, expanded digital capabilities, and a culture of change-readiness.

Achieving organizational alignment is a fundamental prerequisite to digital transformation. For many organizations, it’s an unidentified barrier. 

What is organizational alignment?

When a company is aligned, every employee — from the CEO to the intern — share the same understanding of the company vision, purpose, and goals. They work collaboratively while keeping transparency and accountability at the forefront. 

Strong alignment helps leaders execute goals with greater efficiency, create a unified customer experience, and make internal processes seamless. 

For organizations pursuing digital transformation, leaders who take steps to cultivate organizational alignment will be poised to lead effective change.  

The Strategic CIO: Redefining What it Means to Lead Digital

2 priorities for digital leaders

digital transformationAlignment is a challenge for many organizations because they are used to operating in silos. 

But when every department develops processes, purchases software, pursues goals, and manages data on its own, achieving even a minimum of synchronization is a challenging feat.

When this is the case, sharing information, collaborating on common objectives, and ultimately driving an enterprise-wide initiative like digital transformation becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible. 

Overcoming this requires a two-pronged approach.

1. Aligning each department to the business strategy.

The first aspect is aligning each function to the business objectives that are driving the digital transformation. The goal here is for each individual across all departments to understand their role in the overall strategy and know how their work contributes to the bigger picture.

2. Aligning each department to one another.

The second aspect is creating alignment across all departments and domains. While certain departments work closer together than others, understanding each one’s KPIs, sharing knowledge and resources, and developing joint goals can propel your digital transformation forward.

Digital transformation: Your opportunity to achieve alignment

employee onboardingOrganizational alignment is integral to digital transformation success, but its benefits extend far beyond it. 

By dismantling silos, creating new channels of collaboration, and establishing systems of coordination across formerly disparate divisions, you’ll be positioned to embrace change and increase agility in the long-term.

5 key benefits of better organizational alignment

The following benefits will empower you to drive your digital transformation forward while also improving organizational health.

1. Greater collaboration between teams

Once you break down the walls that traditionally kept departments separated, you’ll realize the benefits of enhanced collaboration. Greater employee engagement, faster problem resolution, and clarity around roles and responsibilities throughout the digital transformation will raise the quality and efficiency of joint efforts. 

2. Sharing best practices and learning from one another

A key tenant of organizational alignment is creating a framework that supports information sharing. By enabling better cross-department communication, sharing best practices and learning from prior mistakes, team members can tackle new challenges with confidence. 

This is particularly relevant when it comes to software onboarding. Often, organizations pursue digital transformation efforts in small groups before rolling them out across the enterprise. By being communicative about challenges and tips related to software onboarding, the subsequent teams can proactively address obstacles.

3. Faster decision-making

organizational alignmentAnother important benefit of better communication is rapid decision making. When all important information is centralized and accessible, leaders can use data from across the organization to make more accurate decisions faster.

4. Smarter allocation of resources 

When each department is transparent about their software needs and investments, you can become leaner and more cost-efficient by eliminating redundant tools and overlapping initiatives.  

On the other hand, siloed organizations commonly waste valuable resources — in dollars, support, and employee productivity — by unknowingly implementing tools that serve the same purpose. When the organization is aligned, you have a better idea of which technologies to scale and which to eliminate.

5. A better customer experience

For siloed organizations, delivering a consistent customer experience is a major challenge. Customers and external stakeholders expect to receive the same level of service, support, and information across all touchpoints. Only a truly aligned organization can have the cross-department processes in place to deliver a seamless customer experience. 

During long-term initiatives such as digital transformation, safeguarding the customer experience is integral to maintaining a positive brand image and retention. 

Promote your unified vision

Cultivating alignment across the organization isn’t easy. It requires new processes, new workflows, new tools, and importantly, a new mindset. 

Ensuring the success of your digital transformation depends on creating a unified vision and developing the framework to support it. With the right approach, you can achieve the objectives of your initiative while developing a more productive and engaged workplace.  

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Tamara Rosin
Tamara’s unique perspective on the impact of digital trends on business strategy has elevated her voice to the leading edge of the digital transformation discussion. She is adept at untangling the complexities of organizational culture, its evolution, challenges, and needs in the digital era. Previously, Tamara served as managing editor for the leading national healthcare publication Becker’s Hospital Review.