What is digital transformation? To put it simply, digital transformation is the adoption and integration of digital technologies to transform all areas of business functions. It can fundamentally change how a business operates internally and transform employees and the customer experience. Not merely a technology intervention, digital transformation is also as much about cultural change over an organization’s traditional and static way of working.
George Westerman, MIT principal research scientist and author of Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation, believes that digital transformation marks a radical rethinking of how an organization can use technology, people, and processes to change business performance fundamentally. What value does it hold in modern enterprises? According to a recent study, 77.3 percent of Fortune 500 CIOs named digital transformation as their biggest budget priority in 2021.
However, even before the pandemic, during the first quarter of 2019, Gartner predicted that companies can move two times faster with digital transformation and that leaders must adopt a new playbook for business model change. In another study, almost everyone (87 percent of the respondents) told Gartner that they believe digital would disrupt their industries, but only 44 percent felt that their companies are doing enough to respond to this disruption. However, there are challenges galore. While 45 percent of CXOs believe that their companies don’t have the right technology or resource to get there, less than 30 percent of the organizations’ technology vendors are equipped enough to support such initiatives. That was 2018. Two years later, Dell Digital Transformation Index 2020 pegs the number at 20 percent. That means 1 in 5 companies don’t feel they have the right partner ecosystems to enable transformative success.
To future proof 2021 and beyond after a devastating pandemic and chart a new path towards sustainable high performance, the leaders must set their eyes on priorities like digital adoption platforms, automation technologies, and next-generation analytics.
Digital Culture: A Necessity for Success
What is the number one roadblock against digital transformation? No, it’s not a lack of leadership vision. And it’s not a shortage of digital skills nor the presence of archaic IT systems and applications. A Capgemini Digital Transformation survey considers “cultural issues” as the top hurdle to digital transformation.
Broadly, services businesses suffer from three digital cultural deficiencies: functional and departmental silos, reluctance to change, and lack of unified customer-centricity. Often employees favor their preferred technology or legacy solutions without much collaboration. They not only create inconsistency among internal and external stakeholders but also slow down process and profitability.
To create, deliver, and capture value from transformation, organizations worldwide are advancing from pilot programs to wide-scale adoption. Yet, success in a lot of these transformations remains elusive. Because it calls for more than just upgrading software or technology — it’s about organizational adaptability and agility. It’s about keeping pace with the change. A real change can only occur with the company and employee buy-in, where everyone is curious and willing to welcome the host of benefits that digital can bring in. It’s about powering core operations and client-centricity.
Guy Baroan, President of Baroan Technologies, a managed IT service provider, agrees with this sentiment. “The two key layers of the digital transformation process are the business capabilities layer and the digital maturity readiness layer. This is where the process confirms that the whole organization is engaged and all the goals, current state, and needs are identified, and then the solutions that are considered need to meet these. For the digital transformation implementation to be a success, these two layers have to be completed properly.
When a digital transformation implementation is a success, it catapults the enterprise to new heights in efficiency and success. It ensures that everyone in the organization has buy-in to the solution and it greatly improves the chance for success of the new solution.”
How Digital Transformation Helps Productivity in the Workplace
The productivity impact of successful digital transformation spans across employees, suppliers, and customers. Digital transformation is not a real transformation unless we help our employees succeed with all the services and collaboration tools. Every employee wants to be empowered, engaged, productive, and successful at work. Yet, a recent study tells us how more than half the employees think that their company’s digital culture inclines heavily towards growing revenue instead of employee engagement and agility. The right digital culture — a mix of people, technology, and practice — can drive efficiency, optimize performance, enhance productivity in the workplace, and create harmonious working environments.
1. Enhanced Collaboration
To create a collaborative landscape, businesses connect their employees with the right processes and tools. Digital is all about breaking down silos, and it works for everyone’s benefit to engage in tighter cooperation. We often see different business functions compete rather than collaborate, which results in businesses not getting the most out of their digital investments.
Baroan agrees that considering all teams and functions together is the best route for digital transformation: “Most organizations that want to implement solutions that will enhance their business need to start with a review of the different areas of their organization currently. … The areas within the business that they want to improve should start with questions with the stakeholders about what is working well in the organization and what needs improvement. All of this will then lead the stakeholders down the right path where the most impact can be made to the enterprise through the implementation of a solution.”
Despite the global pandemic, direct digital transformation investment is expected to reach $6.8 trillion by 2023. But despite that, for every $1 billion invested, about $112 million is lost to digital projects that fail. By fully embracing digital solutions, services companies can collaborate seamlessly among time, project, people, and profit. Leaders can collaborate resourcing workflows and enable conversations between project and resource managers around the right resources for projects.
2. Seamless Project Management Capability
Project management holds a key role in digital transformation as it requires a correct balance between cultural setting and technological intervention. Instead of wasting time on complex project tracking software, project managers can effectively manage their projects in real time with live resource inputs around effort and completion estimates. This means that digital transformational tools help them redefine cross-team communication. Because traditional tools are cumbersome and not meant for real-time dialogue, they also empower project managers to plan and manage team members better, execute projects more efficiently, and at the end of it all, better serve the customers.
Today, automation has become the necessary pitstop on the road towards digital transformation to remain competitive. As automation software makes routine tasks easier and more efficient, businesses get more results for fewer hassles. Project managers can have a sigh of relief as project time tracking software can do the heavy lifting, analyze real-time data, and recommend the best possible choices to decide from. All these make their tough decisions easy and support them respond to problems before they occur.
In a similar manner, HR teams can benefit from automated hiring tools to make the best hiring decisions. Tracy Sestili, the VP of Marketing at the ATS company Fountain, believes that automation is key for an enterprise: “When you think about enterprise companies and where digital transformation starts, it starts with the hiring process. Digitally transforming HR makes enterprise recruiting teams more streamlined and efficient in hiring the best talent. Having the right applicant tracking system (ATS) to help connect you with candidates and employees pre- and post-hire is essential. On average it takes an enterprise with a legacy applicant tracking system over 42 days to hire, whereas with more modern applicant tracking systems, the time to hire can be cut in half simply because of the built-in automation and integrations these newer tools have.”
4. Real-time Visibility of Remote Workforce and Management
Many service-oriented businesses have implemented policies around remote working in the last year. But creating a productive remote workforce is far from being easy. From delayed decision-making to managing global resource pools and lack of accountability to productivity issues, there are many challenges in front of a remote project manager. But with the right project time tracking, analytics, governance, and practice-centric digital products, project and resource managers can create a productive remote workforce while protecting and securing company data.
As Baroan shares, “At an enterprise level, digital transformation could mean the difference between success and failure for an organization.” Embracing digital transformation will smoothly move your company into the future and beyond.