When everyone is talking about “digital transformation,” it can be tempting to dive into digital projects to solve immediate problems or keep up with the competition. However, approaching digital transformation before your organization is ready or tackling projects in an order that doesn’t create long-term solutions is a way to devise more challenges, not fewer.
Undergoing a digital transformation initiative can be hugely disruptive, especially if the initiative influences critical systems or processes. Some disruption is unavoidable, but leaders can minimize it by taking the time to make sure their organization is ready and then prioritize projects in a way that builds a robust technology platform for long-term growth.
Here are five ways to know when your company is ready for digital transformation:
1. You Know What Your Audience Wants
From customers to shareholders to team members, everyone who interacts with your organization will have a different expectation for how that interaction should go. Do you have a clear, data-driven, analytical picture of what each of those audiences wants? Customers will expect different things than team members, and if you only base your feedback on a few anecdotes, you may not have a detailed picture of what the audience wants.
2. You Have a Committed Champion of Digital Transformation at the Senior Level
Without a senior-level champion of your projects willing to spearhead and drive the initiatives with clear communication, digital initiatives are doomed from the beginning. Of course, it’s essential to have additional project leads and day-to-day managers. Still, a senior leader will have the platform and authority to keep the momentum for the initiatives.
3. You’ve Developed a Long-Term Plan for Technology Infrastructure
Before contacting a vendor, take some time to plan out an infrastructure roadmap for the next several years. Having a clear picture of where you want your technology to be in three, five, or seven years will help you build a foundation for expanded services. While it’s true that you can’t envision every technological advancement, you can build an infrastructure that is ready to support future expansion and growth.
4. You’ve Tied Technology to Business Outcomes
Throwing millions at technology fixes without understanding how they serve the business will set up your projects for failure. Know what outcomes you expect from your initiatives. Define what customer support means, and establish metrics for tracking improvement. Do you want to provide additional hybrid work options? Be clear about what you want new technology to do and how you expect it to improve employee engagement.
5. Your Leadership Knows How to Manage Organizational Change
The biggest obstacle to successful digital transformation initiatives is managing change across the organization. Before you begin any sizeable organizational project that will shift people and resources, ensure that your organization knows how to manage through the change. Do your leaders know how to listen and empathize with team members struggling with changing roles? Are they willing to engage with the wide range of emotions and adoption levels they’ll encounter throughout the process? Making sure your leaders are ready to handle the change management side of digital transformation initiatives before the projects begin could be the key to a successful project.
Digital transformation is one of the most critical ways to position your organization for the future—but only if you undertake it thoughtfully! Take the time to assess your organization’s readiness, create a roadmap, and then execute methodically. By approaching digital transformation with a well-considered plan, you will significantly improve your chances of successful project implementation.