Digital transformation is an extremely well-worn term in IT circle.
But that’s for a good reason as organisations are increasingly being forced to change the way they do business in order to stay relevant and ultimately, survive.
The term ‘digital transformation’ comes with the promise of cost savings, increased productivity, and customer satisfaction, among other things. However, Y Soft co-founder and CIO Martin de Martini says it’s not as simple as it sounds, and organisations need to make sure their digital transformation is on the right track to be able to thrive.
"There are two digital transformation approaches. The first is focused purely on improving internal operations; the second is looking for ways to support future growth. Ideally, organisations should combine both approaches, however if this can’t be done then they should agree on the approach so the goal is clear,” says de Martini.
"It’s important to take the entire organisation into consideration to avoid difficulties such as delays and scalability. Aligning culture, leadership, structure, tasks, staff, organisational goals, and strategy, will enable the organisation to transform from the inside out."
According to de Martini, there are five key aspects to consider when starting a digital transformation, which are:
1. Clear and communicated digital strategy. Look at real business problems, internal and external, and see if digital tools and processes can help. Every digital transformation journey must start with a vision and strategy that solves a real problem.
2. Collaborative approach. Using a collaborative approach can remove silos and lead to positive cross-functional working. Removing silos and connecting the organisation is important for significant, positive change.
3. Strong digital culture. Promoting innovation, risk-taking and adaptability, can support a digital culture. Teaching and motivating staff to use new tools is important for digital integration, letting the organisation embrace risk and use new technology while closing the skills gap.
4. It’s not all about the technology. Technology is nothing without the right people. Attracting and retaining the right talent is important to digital transformation. Look at employees' real day-to-day problems and design the digital tools, applications and processes that help them succeed and grow.
5. Don’t stop moving. A vision must have space to evolve and grow over time. Technology is not going to stand still and neither should organisations. To stay relevant businesses need to adapt, change and move.
"There is much more to digital transformation than implementing the latest and greatest technology. Organisations need to address real business problems and look to transform the entire organisation. To do this organisations need a vision for digital evolution,” de Martini concludes.