What Does Digital Transformation Mean For Digital Companies?
If you think digital transformation is only for century-old companies that need to update their IT system, you’re mistaken.
Digital transformation is for every organization, whether you’re a traditional business or digital native startup. Irrespective of your current tech capabilities, digital transformation still demands a place in your organizational strategy.
But what does digital transformation mean for companies that are already technologically advanced?
What does digital transformation mean?
Digital transformation is defined as an ongoing process in which businesses update and expand their technology in order to achieve higher productivity, innovation, and differentiation in the eyes of their customers.
The crucial words here are “ongoing process.”
As technology evolves, so must companies. A digital transformation is never complete because, as technology continues to advance, digital maturity remains a moving target. Change must be constant, even for businesses that emerge with innovation in their DNA.
George Westerman, a principal research scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy, defines digital transformation as “rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people and processes to radically change business performance.”
Since the drive to improve business performance is ongoing, so must your digital transformation.
What does digital transformation mean in reality?
That’s the theory. But what does digital transformation mean in reality? Ultimately, it’s different for every organization.
Unsurprisingly, there is no silver bullet solution, which is probably why leading effective digital change is such a challenge for many organizations.
Seventy-eight percent of CIOs in the 2018 KPMG Harvey Nash CIO Survey say their digital strategy is only “moderately effective” or worse. Just 32% say their digital strategy spans the entire enterprise.
“Digital transformation doesn’t come in a box — or a cloud.”
Clint Boulton, CIO.com
The way digital strategies should be designed and implemented varies for each company, depending on its goals, resources, and market.
For instance, digital natives don’t need to worry about updating manual or legacy systems as traditional enterprises do. But they do need to keep a constant pulse on emerging technology, what digital capabilities their competitors boast, and how they can make innovation a constant wheel of progress.
Digital transformation is a continuous effort for both, but it manifests in different ways.
The many faces (and phases) of digital transformation
There are always new opportunities for technological improvement.
For example, Nissan’s current digital transformation involves “mobile-enabling” employees and using technology to break down internal silos.
The company has also just opened a digital hub in India where staff will work on chatbots and other emerging technologies to improve the work experience for Nissan’s 240,000 employees.
Domino’s Pizza’s, which is already really digitally established, has recently launched its AnyWhere platform. This latest product of their digital transformation allows you to place orders through smartphones, smartwatches, and smart TVs.
These examples just go to show that digital transformation encompasses a wide range of digital change. McKinsey’s James Bilefield stresses that updating technology is not the whole picture — it’s not even the hardest part.
“In my experience, culture is the hardest part of the organization to change. Shifting technology, finding the right talent, finding the right product set and strategy—that’s all doable, not easy, but doable.
Hardest is the cultural transformation in businesses that have very deep legacy and cultural roots.”
So while young, more innovative companies might have a headstart on mature, traditional organizations in this regard, it doesn’t mean their work is done.
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Successful digital transformation demands digital adoption
Every company’s digital transformation is different, but there’s one thing that ties all digital change initiatives together: the need for digital adoption.
As companies continue to boost their digital arsenal, it’s critical to ensure users have the support and resources to fully adopt these tools — to use them at the optimal level.
What does digital transformation mean when there’s poor adoption? Nothing, basically. There cannot be successful digital transformation if users aren’t able to actually use the technology.
That’s why it’s essential that CIOs focus on adoption as much as the development of an up-to-date digital business strategy.
As digital marketing influencer Lilach Bullock puts it:
“Adapting to new technology and fully leveraging its features is imperative to the modern organization and it is what leads to digital transformation.”
–Lilach Bullock, Forbes
In fact, experts agree; digital adoption must be a priority in order to make digital transformation happen and secure a future for your organization — regardless of its current tech capabilities.