The road to digital transformation is not always smooth. Technology alone is not going to lead your organizations’ digital transformation. While industries and organizations are recognizing the need to prioritize this digital initiative, the scale of effort required to drive these changes is constantly overlooked.
Before diving into your own digital transformation, consider how these potential obstacles could impact your journey:
Lack of Clarity
There can be a lot of confusion as to what is really meant by the term “digital transformation”. Especially in the business environment, these words can mean different things to different people. Clearly defining the organizations’ project goals and intended solution, prior to beginning transformation initiatives, will provide the clarity needed to keep internal teams aligned towards the organizations’ initiatives.
Narrow, Top-Level Focus
When each member of the C-suite is focused on a narrow aspect of the digital transformation, it can create an “iceberg” effect where their focus is concentrated at the top level of the issue without consideration for what lies beneath the surface. Technology changes need to occur on both the front and back-end to achieve success and this is dangerous to overlook. Digital transformation should be approached from a holistic view of the organization, taking into account the entire breadth and depth of the project.
While a digital transformation can help organizations reduce operational costs in some areas, it can also produce unforeseen expenses. New technologies are changing and disrupting the way professionals work. Processes are shifting from manual to automated tasks, and workflows are moving to the cloud, reshaping organizations and impacting IT budgets. The urgency of implementing these changes can cause a ripple effect within organizations, draining resources beyond the initial scope or creating gaps within processes. However, organizations can avoid these costly impacts by conducting a thorough assessment of resources and accounting for both the positive and negative effects of undergoing a digital transformation.
Change is not easily embraced by all. Digital transformations usually involve significant changes that impact people’s jobs, compensation, management, and their day-to-day work. One all-too-common mistake is not including the employees who will be directly affected by introducing new tools and processes. Establish a rollout plan and openly address upcoming changes before employees are impacted. Expect some initial resistance and use that opportunity to open the conversation for employees to contribute their ideas and concerns.
Lack of Training & Digital Literacy
Organizations are becoming more reliant on digital technologies and online tools to improve their processes. This shift has established an unspoken and unrealistic expectation that all employees can become technologically savvy with the right tools. This forces employees into challenging situations, trying to learn new tools and accessing information presented in new and different formats. Learning about these tools and understanding how to use them is how employees become digitally literate, but they can only get there with continuous training and management support.
Lack of Talent
Finding the right people for your organization is always a challenge. Hiring an in-house resource with specific technology experience can be even harder to find, and it is also costly. However, organizations utilizing employees without the right skills or experience risk being unable to fulfill their digital transformation projects. While many organizations prefer an internal solution or resource, it is important to step back and ask, “do we have the staff to be successful?” If the answer is not an emphatic “yes”, then an external resource may be the best solution.
Understanding what consumers want and when they’re going to want it is one of the most challenging and important aspects of rolling out a new system. Getting the timing right is complicated, but organizations should consider what value is being provided and whether or not they are addressing the consumers current needs versus fulfilling their minimum expectations.
Cybersecurity is complex, dynamic, and fast-changing. It is also one of the most often overlooked aspects of digital transformation, despite the growing media coverage of the organizations who have faced security breaches. The consequences of mismanaging security are often more severe than changes that occur in any other area of organizations. Including security teams in the transition, from the beginning, can dramatically improve the quality of security moving forward.
Should the new technology integrate with digital giants, such as Microsoft, Amazon, and or Google? This question is often overlooked at the expense of potentially big benefits. These digital giants provide popular services like SharePoint, Amazon Web Services, and Google Developer API’s, that your new technology may benefit from utilizing. Even if these capabilities are not offered currently, any organization undergoing digital transformation should consider the potential impact of joining forces with these platforms.
Many aspects of how organizations conduct business today may be largely built upon the processes and practices conducted before technologies were implemented. Over time, innovations have challenged organizations to invest in new technology to adapt to the times, but often still based on those legacy systems. While it may be impractical to eliminate entire legacy systems, the organizations IT team will need a rollout plan that addresses any new requirements to modernize systems and support digital transformation.