Top 9 Myths About Digital Transformation
“So, what’s the earliest timeline for our CRM implementation? We believe that it’s a fairly quick process.”
“Since the new system will automate most of our processes, what’s your best estimate on our workforce?”
“Since our IT team will solely oversee the transition from here on, let us put you in touch with our IT team, shall we?”
These are a few of the common, initial client interactions that often outwit us during our meetings. And there are good reasons for that.
Recently digital transformation has gathered quite a lot of focus in the business community, thanks to the pandemic-induced changes in the way people work. But the idea of transforming organisations using innovative business technologies is not new. In fact, companies across the world have been implementing technologies to improve their business for over a decade now.
That’s plenty of time for many stories of successes and failures to come to light for everyone’s reference. But not all transformation projects are the same and not all lessons learnt are relevant because both the business environment and the technology are constantly changing. Plus, the world of business technology is saturated with plenty of unsolicited advice and misleading opinions about what digital transformation is and how to approach it the right way. Which makes it is easy for many decision-makers to mix up the facts with misconceptions, sometimes based merely on hearsay.
So, perhaps it’s time to stop giving into these myths and misconceptions about digital transformation so that you are all prepared for your next implementation project.
Top 9 Myths about Digital Transformation
1. Digital transformation shrinks jobs
Owing to its data centralisation and automation capabilities, many wrongly believe digital transformation ultimately eliminates human involvement in many areas. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need less workforce. What it actually means routine and repetitive tasks take fewer manual hours, which, in turn, gives employees more time to engage in more challenging and innovative tasks.
Even with AI and machine learning capabilities, the roles of humans do not actually decrease. Instead, it shifts towards driving efficiencies and proactive decision-making using digital technologies. Plus, you still need people to keep a close eye on the system and update its algorithms as your organisation continues to transform.
2. Digital transformation is quick
Another commonly held misconception is that digital transformation is a quick process because of the availability of so many off-the-shelf solutions. But the reality can be far from that.
That’s because a well-defined digital transformation is usually a long process that involves several phases, each of which needs careful planning, brilliant execution, and accurate analytics to ensure the system matches your requirements. Most senior executives simply want to rush it and add all of the seemingly cool features to their system without proper process mapping and finalising their needs. This only leads to unnecessary expenses over the features that may not be productive in the long run and also to the introduction of complicated new processes, which end up hindering user adoption.
Besides that, you also have to account for during implementation is a proper change management plan, which may need an extended timeline to ensure a higher user adoption rate. Add post-implementation analysis of the system and you are looking at an even more prolonged timeline.
3. The IT department can do it on its own
Many top executives readily consider digital transformation to be the sole responsibility of their IT team by default. On the contrary, what makes for a successful digital transformation is the involvement of every stakeholder of the system.
The reason is it’s not just the IT team that directly interacts with your system but your other operational, administrative and support teams also rely directly or indirectly on your system to achieve greater efficiencies.
Your IT department may be competent enough to address all technical requirements but would they be able to define specific financial, administrative or HR-related goals? Remember, it is a transformative process that demands contribution from all individuals and departments within an organisation.
What helps here is continuous interaction between the IT team and everyone else within the organisation to guarantee a common understanding of what the end goal of digital transformation.
4. Digital transformation is only about technology and process
Although it won’t be entirely untrue to say that digital transformation is about technology and processes, that’s just half of the equation. Why? Because all business technologies inevitably touch the people element of your business.
Afterall, it’s the people who rely on standardised processes and smarter technologies to get their jobs done faster. Without the people element in the equation, the latter two are merely inanimate tools with nobody to harness their true potential. On the contrary, when people, technology and processes come together, companies can get their outputs faster, better, and more efficiently.
The way this works is you scale when your people follow defined processes and you innovate when they use technology. Likewise, when you incorporate technology into your processes, you facilitate automation, which frees up your people to innovate and scale even more. So, essentially, it’s a self-feeding cycle and the winning formula here is to understand that all three elements are deeply intertwined and properly manage the way they interact with each other.
Furthermore, from a tactical perspective, it’s the experience of your workforce as well as your customers that will ultimately determine the adoption of your business technology. If one of these user bases resists, you won’t be able to successfully transform your business.
So, on one hand, until and unless, you provide employees with a system with high user-friendliness, it’s virtually impossible for you to complete your digital transformation, and, on the other hand, if you’re unable to ensure a superior customer experience compared to the previous system, you’re bound to lose your existing market share.
Ultimately, what it means is that digital transformation is not just about technology and processes but also about the people—both employees and customers. Lastly, on a much broader level, it is also about the transformation of culture and mindset, human resources, leadership, and organisational vision to accommodate and support the digital initiatives and projects in the future.
5. Transformation means remodelling your business
More often than not business leaders tend to worry that digital transformation fundamentally changes their business models. The common misconception is that after implementing digital technology, a business will turn completely digital, new processes will replace the old ones, and it will become an entirely new company—the one that may too complex to run.
But that’s rarely the case. Successful companies adopt digital technology not to get a quick facelift but to improve their core strengths over time, develop a strong competitive advantage, and keep themselves from going obsolete. What you need to internalise before starting any digital transformation is that the endgame of any implementation project is to radically transform the way a business runs, NOT the business itself.
6. The digital transformation ends at implementation
Thinking that digital transformation ends right after implementation is yet another myth that’s needs to be debunked because, after deployment, you’re still left with a few tasks critical to successful digital transformation.
One of those things is the availability of adequate support services for your users after deployment. Transitioning to a new system can be a little trickier for your users particularly when they are not very familiar with all the functionalities. That means they will initially require support from the system experts or professional consultants.
Another thing is the post evaluation of the system to test if it is actually doing what it is supposed to be doing for your business and people. Skipping system analytics after implementation means you are unlikely to accurately assess if the system actually meets your business needs.
So, it’s quite safe to say that no digital transformation project ends right after you finish implementing a system. Instead, it presents you with more opportunities for system improvement and reconfiguration. And, as an ongoing process that’s based on ever-changing technologies, it helps you capitalise on new trends and developments as soon as they emerge.
7. Bigger is always better
Many businesses prefer a full-blown, large-scale system implementation in a false belief that all you need is a brute force to break through the technology barrier that’s holding back your business.
On the contrary, the right approach is to break the entire project into smaller, achievable steps that are centred on attaining a bigger, more important business goal. In other words, the smaller and less generalised your objectives are, the more effective your implementation will be.
When considering massive and abrupt technology changes, you need a deep understanding of how it affects your business, employees and customers. Your top management should fully support the project for a smoother digital transition by ensuring key user buy-ins. That’s because any abrupt change in process can lead to loss of data in transition or confusion in the process or poor user adoption, and so on.
Therefore, it is wise to implement smaller, more sustainable technological changes rather than making any massive and drastic transition to get more value out of your new digital system.
8. Executive buy-in is guaranteed
You might be sold on the idea of transforming your business digitally but is everyone else in the top management on board? Even if you are in sole control of your organisation, it’s imperative for you to get all your senior executives and heads of departments on the same page as you so that your business can enjoy a seamless and successful digital transformation.
But that’s easier said than done. More often than not, due to the complexity of digital transformation and the lack of a deeper understanding of its underlying benefits, senior executives may easily shrug off the idea of adopting a new business technology. What you ought to do is change that uninformed reluctance of theirs into acceptance and validation of the need for digital transformation.
But how do you do that? You could start with research data pertaining to successful digital transformation initiatives, real-world case studies from across the globe, and user group surveys. Follow that with digital transformation assessment to understand where your company currently stand on the technological landscape and where it wants to be after investing in digital business solutions. You could also use technology readiness survey to evaluate if the technologies and systems are mature and ready enough to be integrated into the main system without much issues.
9. Digital transformation can wait
The digital landscape is constantly changing with new technology disrupting traditional business practices. While you are trying to keep up with your old competitors with your legacy systems, a fresh batch of young entrepreneurs and new companies are leveraging AI, machine learning, 5G and other latest innovations to dramatically eliminate inefficiencies and lower costs from the existing business models. The real-world examples are Amazon, YouTube, Airbnb, Uber, and Netflix. The advantage for these new companies is that they can readily implement a digital business model right from the start without ever having to go through any digital transformation, unlike most existing organisations.
This puts long-established companies with orthodox business models at a greater risk particularly, if they are still using legacy systems. Without leveraging new business technologies, it is impossible for businesses to keep up with the market. And, the longer anyone waits, the tougher it will be for them to catch up to their competitors later on.
But with a modern business technology, you will be able to come up with the right strategies and new competitive advantages to effectively match your potential competition.
Want to understand more about digital transformation?
The most effective way to tackle all these myths is to partner with professional technology consultants who can help you successfully transform digitally. They’ll be more realistic and neutral when it comes to assessing the health of your company.
With more than a decade of experience in business technology implementation and as Gold partners of, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Salesforce elite partner, we can offer you the best advice and assistance to clear up your doubts about digital transformation as well as catch up to all these digital trends and put them to proper use in your organisation.
You can call us at 01296 328 689 or email us at email@example.com