6 steps towards a successful digital transformation
A few years back going digital was a fashionable concept. Today, it is a must for any company that wants to grow and be relevant in the future. In this post, we will talk about six steps that your business can take to carry out a successful digital transformation.
Step 1: Realise that digitisation has the potential to increase your company's value
While digitisation itself doesn’t generate revenue, it does create a number of opportunities for your business. Step one is to appreciate these advantages and to have them as your goal during the digitisation process. Here are just a few examples of these advantages:
- Better customer experience
Everything to do with technology, social media and apps has a common foundation – they are supposed to make life easier. Your customers want it to be easy to use your products and services, and your job is to help them in that respect.
- Better data-based decisions
A digitised business has a better basis for making correct decisions. There are two things that all companies care about; costs and revenue. Both of these factors are greatly affected by digitised processes.
- Better collaboration between departments
Change isn’t easy. The idea of massive digital transformation can be daunting for both employees and management. But digital transformation is a great opportunity to get everyone in the business working towards a common goal.
Step 2: Review all your current processes
The most important step towards successful digitisation is to take full control over your current processes – even those that aren’t official. In larger companies, but also medium-sized ones, it often happens that processes aren’t properly documented, and even if they have been properly documented this often doesn’t correspond to reality.
This step therefore involves reviewing business processes and documenting what digitisation means for them.
Step 3: Review decision-making structures (and if necessary create new ones)
Digital business models often require different kinds of decision makers than analogue business models do. It is important that digital innovations don’t get caught up in bureaucratic processes, and that these processes aren’t seen as opposing your current ones. This is an excellent opportunity to review your decision-making structure and see if there are any opportunities to make changes.
Step 4: Identify a process you want to start with
Doing everything at once quickly becomes confusing for your employees and often ends with a failed digitisation project.
Instead, start with one process, write down the advantages, disadvantages and challenges of that process, and then move on to the next one. It’s important to choose a process that isn’t too complex and can be digitised relatively easily (even if it takes some time to do). The processes that require the most work aren’t always the ones that you gain most from digitising.
A good process to start with is any process that involves a lot of paperwork. Here you can begin by converting all your data-related physical documents into a digital format and then decide that from a certain date you will no longer create new paper-based documents. These might be invoices, deliveries, contracts etc.
Once all your paperwork is digital, rather than physical, you can use the wealth of data that was previously hidden in heaps of paper in a much simpler way. The great thing about digital is that it can used via automation, which in plain language means you can now generate reports and create information on which to base decisions by using the data you have (and always have had).
Step 5: Create rules and prepare your employees for a journey of change
There is a lot to say about how to work effectively with change. The biggest obstacle to effective change is people. By that, of course, we don’t mean that your employees should be seen as enemies to change – it’s just a fact that people are generally not very welcoming of change.
Fortunately, there are a couple of models you can use to implement your changes as efficiently as possible. One such model often used by SMEs is McKinsey's 7 S. The model is perfect when you know something needs to change (from analogue to digital), but when you aren’t quite sure how to do it, in other words how your processes should be changed. Read more about this in our post on a successful change process!
Step 6: Begin work on your digital transformation
You have now realised the value of digitisation, looked at your current processes to identify where the first changes should be made, looked at your decision-making structures, identified which process to begin with, and finally you have taken into account the human component when it comes to change. Now it’s time to get started.
First, start by mapping the process you have chosen in detail, identifying potential bottlenecks and deciding what improvements you can make. After that, create a detailed plan that involves costs, personnel, equipment and so on. Once this is done, you have all the prerequisites for a successful digital transformation. The only thing left to do is find a partner you can trust.
Your digital future is now
The work on your digital transformation has only just begun. Make sure you continue to work with your processes and continue to identify new processes that should be digitised. This is often much easier to do after you begin to see the results of your earlier digitisation work.
Feel free to contact us at Nordlo if you have any questions about how to get started with your digitisation journey, or if you need help with any of your processes!