Digital transformation is the methodology by which companies use technology to create or modify business processes, marketing methods, and customer experiences.
Digital transformation is the utilization of technology to improve the efficiency of your business and increase customer satisfaction. It covers such items as the apps you use to improve your workflows and processes, communication methods used internally as well with your customers, the efficient employment of data to drive decision-making and the pursuit of new or better products or services, as well as growing technologies related to the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.
Adding Technology Alone Isn’t the Solution
Over the last 20 years it has been easy to add new technology to a company and see some improvement and even at times substantial improvement. However, those gains have peaked. Why is that? Because most organizations have added technology to solve a singular problem or a singular set of problems. The reality is that this is often done in silos without taking into account the bigger picture of how it is one puzzle piece in the overall puzzle and if not properly fit the puzzle can never be solved.
Business Transformation Example
A simple example is that of a company providing training to an employee on how to use Microsoft Office, and specifically Excel. This enables the employee to gain knowledge of the technology. However, upon their return to work they find a few uses for the knowledge but continue to perform their duties the same way except for calculations and information being added to an Excel spreadsheet. Their job was not transformed by the new knowledge. It was incrementally improved, which is what most technology added to an organization does. It incrementally improves knowledge, instead of having transformational effects. The reason is the employee simply gained knowledge but does not have the required knowledge, experience and skill set to apply the knowledge. Application of knowledge is where true transformation occurs.
Why is Transformation So Hard?
This happens all too often. The business side of the company knows it has a problem and asks the IT side to help resolve it. The IT side then finds a technology product that claims to solve the problem. The sales person for the technology product makes grand claims during a presentation, and the business and IT sides of the company both buy into the product. Over the next number of months the product is purchased, set up and configured. The business side begins using the product and at first is happy to have a new tool. However, issues quickly arise. Employees are not able to use the new technology with the same workflow they have used since they have been with the company, and begin to either go around the new tool or to hack the new tool to work the way they used to. This causes problems with information outside the system that it doesn’t know about, and also issues inside the system because it was used incorrectly. The new technology also doesn’t integrate well with other departments in the company such as accounting, customer service and order fulfillment. This leads to inability to get proper reports from accounting, information to customers and orders fulfilled in a timely manner. Soon the new technology has caused as many issues as it solved and there is discontent, so the business goes back to IT to start over again.
This cycle happens far too often. The reason is that there was not a full picture. The focus was on one section of the puzzle, trying to find one puzzle piece, instead of taking the whole puzzle into account. The solution fit the section they were looking at, but without the comprehensive knowledge the employees were unhappy and integrations were incompatible, and the entire organization suffered because of it. The truth is, most organizations don’t have IT personnel that understand technology, the business and overall strategy. This is a specialized and rare skill set and even if someone has the skill set, the knowledge and experience of how to apply it is the key to transforming a business successfully. Our process has been designed with the skill set, knowledge and experience we have gained over the last 23 years to provide repeatable success.