Organizational change in the digital era is not easy, which is why it is important to understand and adopt the right digital transformation principles.
Adhering to those principles can mean the difference between a successful initiative and a failed one – and in today’s uncertain economy, the outcome of a digital transformation program can have major ramifications for a business.
Below, we’ll cover some of the most important principles and best practices to stick to when pursuing digital transformation in the modern economy.
Must-Know Digital Transformation Principles in 2020
There are several guiding principles that can help companies improve their organizational performance and resilience in today’s volatile marketplace.
1. Develop a digital-first business strategy
Technology-driven innovation has been the driving force behind the digital revolution which, as we all know, has fundamentally reshaped our entire economy.
From the internet to mobile technology, digital tools have been responsible for the growth of new businesses, new business models, and new ways of working.
Yet the digital revolution is far from over – to stay competitive in the years ahead, companies will be required to continually adopt and innovate with new digital tools.
When redefining business strategies for the post-COVID era, it is important to implement:
- New and innovative forms of customer value
- Business models suited to the new reality
- Strategies that place technology at the heart of the business
Adopting these priorities can mean the difference between profitability and failure in tomorrow’s economy, especially given the deflationary effect of digital technology.
2. Cultivate a digital culture
Any business that wants to become a digital-first business must first have a digital culture.
If employees are not open to new technology and ways of working, for instance, their resistance to change can become a major hindrance to progress.
Through talent management, effective communication, and the reformation of a company’s values, business leaders can develop a culture that is more suitable to the digital economy.
To succeed in the digital era, workforce cultures should be:
- Open to new ideas, tools, and technologies
- Ready and able to use technology to its fullest extent
Cultivating these traits can ensure that employees not only stay productive, but it can also ensure that they are enthusiastic and engaged, which can ultimately improve the workplace experience.
3. Become digitally mature
Digital maturity refers to an organization’s overall digital capabilities.
Digitally mature organizations are those that can quickly adopt new technology, use it effectively, and leverage that technology to maintain an advantage in the marketplace.
Yet digital maturity depends on more than the actual tools a company uses.
It also depends on factors such as:
- Employees’ attitudes towards technology
- Workforce skill levels
- How effectively business processes utilize technology
- How modern the company’s IT systems are
Digital maturity, in short, is a holistic measure that can help companies assess their progress in the context of their marketplace and the economy as a whole.
4. Create a robust digital adoption process
Digital transformation is the pathway to digital maturity, and successful digital transformation depends directly on an organization’s ability to adopt new IT systems and digital tools.
Product value, in this context, is crucial, since that value directly impacts the success or failure of digital transformation programs.
It is important to understand that product value is not static – it depends on employees’ skill levels, employee engagement, business processes, and other factors. A well-executed digital adoption process can help organizations make improvements to these areas.
Digital adoption strategies revolve around agenda items such as:
- Employee onboarding
- Employee training
- Software performance and ROI
When designing a digital adoption program, it is important to have the right strategic guardrails, while also using the right tools for the job.
Digital adoption platforms (DAPs), for instance, are specifically designed to streamline the digital adoption process, boost productivity, and improve the user experience, among other things.
5. Be ready to pivot now
Organizational change refers to any intentionally directed business change.
These changes can impact virtually any area of a company, from its strategy to its operations.
Though many changes are aimed at capturing new growth opportunities or enhancing performance, they can also be driven by marketplace shifts.
Even before 2020, the economy was undergoing significant disruption, but COVID-19 has accelerated change in virtually every sector.
To survive and thrive in the post-COVID era, or “the next normal,” companies must be prepared to pivot as early as possible.
- Cultivating a change-ready culture, as mentioned above
- Implementing business processes that are agile, lean, and resilient
- Continually reassessing customer needs and expectations, then responding accordingly
- Pivoting now for the changes that lie ahead
In 2020, the global economy experienced one of the worst financial crises in recent memory – but in the years ahead, we can expect to see even more change and volatility. And, if the predictions of leading research firms are correct, this volatility will dramatically reshape the global economy.
To prepare for the post-COVID era, companies should begin their digital transformation efforts as soon as possible.