Digital Transformation in 2021: Dos’ and Don’ts’
Some enterprises do an outstanding job at transforming their business to the new digital format, others not so much. In this Digital Transformation for 2021 article, we’ll list common mistakes that lead to an astounding 70% failure rate among businesses starting off on this perilous journey; with a 95% admitting that they never achieved their initial goals.
But to be fair, the horrible COVID-19 pandemic has somewhat aligned people on the right path, not all is lost. In fact, according to “Statista.com” a whooping 97% of responders state that COVID has massively accelerated their plans on their own DX journeys.
And 68% of those claim that digitally transforming their business has had a massive improvement on their organization.
Approximately half a year ago, we’ve started our long and dedicated series into Digital Transformation. Back then we took a glance into the history of this trend that is in fact more than 30 years old. In these past 6 months we’ve explored many parts of our subject.
So today we’ll list some reasons that lead to mistakes commonly happening to companies during their attempts at DX.
Then we’ll use what we’ve learned and try to fix those same errors and thus help you pre-emptively save a ton of money and avoid a massive headache!
Business Digitalization or Digital Transformation
Before we begin however, let’s take a tiny refresher on the basics.
We’ve primarily touched upon the essential pillars of Digital Transformation (hence forth DX) in our article here.
Here’s a short across-the-board definition:
A path an organization takes as they adopt new ways to do business based on technological advances. Fundamentally changing something using digital tools or adopting new innovative technology and/or cultural changes to improve or replace existing paradigms with new ones.
In essence, DX is not a software, an attitude shift, or even change of main practices. It is all those things and much more. It is a complete shift and makeup of your business to look, feel and act under new conditions in this world.
The following list comes in no special order, for all these things under specific circumstances demand your full and committed approach.
However, to completely invalidate our previous sentence, we shall start with arguably the most important mistake and solution.
DX: Attitude and Culture:
Expect your whole company, upper and middle management all down to the common worker to be exactly on the same page all at the same time.
Disregard patiently aligning each member of your team to the common cause. Refuse explaining the reasons for your decision to go digital.
Simply expect that by introducing a few pieces of software, everyone will instantly use it and not simply find their own “secret alternatives” or work arounds.
Reprimand without explanation your team for not using new software or lack of proper cultural shift. Keep quiet on how exactly DX helps the company and by no means show the results that proper use of new models can achieve, keep everyone in the dark!
Understand that change comes gradually, with a lot of effort, especially on the upper managements side. Your colleagues must first understand the reasons and benefits of digitalizing your business, each individually.
Offer all the help you can, and absolutely make it clear that no question is dumb enough to not receive an answer.
Make sure that everyone understands exactly how using the new software, model of business and culture helps primarily them and the business’s ventures.
Initially have weekly meetings to evaluate departments on their success and most importantly don’t reprimand your colleagues for not getting it at first. Some people are reluctant to change their established comfort zones in their workspace. Introducing new tools can frighten or confuse your colleagues.
Pictured: typical employee
Offering proper coaching and by-monthly show of results is key to getting everyone on the same page.
And finally, always “lead by example”, if your employees are allowed to slip, or slowly adopt new practices, you have no such luxury as a manager. You have no excuse not to use the new practices.
DX: IT infrastructure
Assume that your old service provider, or your local server, will manage to instantly adopt to the new requirements. Make absolutely no preparations in advance, if your hardware was able to support your website as well as your local servers, why shouldn’t it be able to hand just a tiny bit more?
Also, disregard taking extra precautions to down-times, backups, alternative plans for unexpected circumstances. Simply roll small parts of your software and changes “into production” as they say and adjust as you go on.
Besides if your new CRM says it works flawlessly with third-party CMS or Digital accounting tools (DAT) why question it?
Prepare and assess all parts of your infrastructure before you introduce it to your colleagues. Stress-tests, proper data flow and analysis, various use-case scenarios must be planned and tested.
Understand that no system is perfect, especially a newly introduced one. There’s nothing worse than losing your team’s valuable work-related information. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, from corrupted databanks, hardware malfunctions, human error, software incompatibility and many other.
So, its paramount to set up the infrastructure beforehand, create multiple backups, and perform stress tests both on software capabilities and hardware. Plan ahead and create contingencies prior to introducing your colleagues to the various tools and practices from DX.
Finally double check all possible dependencies your web-app, server, new & old software and hardware has.
Use an old version of your web-app, created in AngularJS with server side built on PHP version 4, and keep it in a monolithic architecture. It has been like this for years, if it works, don’t break it!
Put off planning for possible scalability demands in the future. When we’ll need a new version, we’ll develop one then.
Make plans for the future while you’re still small, or in the initial stages of adopting new technologies and practices. Building a web-app with a proper software infrastructure is paramount when it comes to scalability, maintenance, and most importantly performance.
Remember that with the current future of marketing resides comfortably in the hands of SEO. And SEO specialists will all tell you that getting on top of SERPs is possibly the most important thing when it comes to exposure, direct lead generation and conversions.
And in turn SEO is heavily affected by the performance of your web-app, and overall content and user satisfaction. So, if you still don’t have a web-app as your front, or you’re using a simple website for those needs, we Highley suggest changing tactic.
DX: Planning Processes and Customer Experience
Rush forward acquiring new tools for your departments, without having a clear picture of your enterprise mapped out. You’ve been doing your thing for years, you’re sure you know how everything works… in your head. And nowhere else.
Forget to set up proper customer support tools and maintain a high degree of training for your customer service staff.
Never forget that golden rule of business “is returning customers cost 10 ten times less than getting new ones”. We’ve delved deep into this topic in our CRM piece. And to achieve a high degree of customer satisfaction (and thus return rates) you must map out your customer’s journey.
Only then you’ll truly grasp the potential customer pain points and be at the ready to improve or outright solve the problem completely with digital tools.
In order to do that however, you first need to learn how to read, craft and understand BPMN 2.0.
Before you start integrating modern technologies/practices into your business, its paramount to have a clear picture, where exactly those are needed most. By mapping your enterprise from both your client’s perspective and your team’s perspective; you’ll get a clear idea of what you need to prioritise first.
DX: BigData and Analyses
Dismiss the need for carefully crafted analysis for your market, live updates and congregation of all the data under a single umbrella. Attempt to do everything by hand, with unstandardized excel sheets to “predict” trends.
Dispose of all that pesky extra data coming from all directions, surely there’s nothing valuable there for your enterprise? Just use publicly available databases and just hire a marketing analyst to cross reference any information you need manually in a period of weeks or even months.
The reality is that in today’s world, there is a lot of data, massive amounts of it. And though it’s not exactly Big as the name BigData implies, there’s simply a colossal quantity of it. But it certainly has a big impact on the success of your business.
It’s all about connecting the dots, millions of bytes of data, congregated into various stat sheets to give you a possible glimpse into the future of your business.
BigData – as a concept, is the combination of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data collected for forms and organizations’ projects, predictive modelling and other analytics uses.
This stream of data comes in forms of business transaction systems, customer databases, logs, social networks, open/closed surveys, medical records, and far too many to count.
But the road to analysing this data is difficult, yet possible. By setting up a full fledged tier 1 ERP system, or a best-of-breed approach, you will be one step closer to achieving foresight. You want to have all that data streaming into one place if you want to pass the quest of Digital Transformation!
DX: Cybersecurity Practices
Pretending that you’re either too small or insignificant in the grander scope of things to get targeted by APT or a million of different attacks.
Use the same password for all your personal and business needs; it’s a great idea! Who needs proper protection when all you need is be “smart” enough not to do something horribly stupid?
Embrace the reality that we’re in the amidst a complete hacker-geddon. You must adopt proper security measures – from full-fledged decoupling of your infrastructure, strict protocols, permissions, monthly trainings and most importantly no reuse of passwords.
Understand that everything has vulnerabilities, but it’s no reason to give up. This is mostly because the damages from neglect can be colossal in comparison to the potential savings on skimping for cyber-security measures.
As we’ve mentioned multiple times before, experts predict the global cost from cyber-threats will rise to 10.5$ trillion by 2025. No one is completely safe, not huge corporations, not small enterprises, not your close ones and family ones.
But proper prevention measures and contingencies in place can mean the difference between losing a comparatively small investment and incurring huge, possibly deadly costs.
DX: Employees and HRMS
Attempt to do the human resources job by yourself or using primitive practices with Excel and good old human ingenuity. We’re sure you can totally wing it!
Open a few hundred different LinkedIn profiles and cross reference them manually with their CV’s, perform manual background checks in various databases. Surely, it’s easy?
Use proper HRMS – it’s incredibly important, both as a software tool, as well as a complete reform of everything you know about hiring people, inducting new personnel, finding worthy candidates and so much more!
Finding qualified top of the tier team members is an art-form and can’t be truly solved by BigData (math) as if it were an equation. But you can get pretty darn close.
Much like our BigData analysis, performing full-fledged investigations into potential candidates is far easier with the use of proper tools. And supporting the morale of your team is crucial to achieving not only the results needed for successful digital transformation, but also for providing excellent service to your clients!
Don’t forget that the days of easy replacements, when positions were easy to fill out and hence the value of the common worker was very low, are far behind us. Everyone now understands the tremendous need for qualified, veteran, hardy co-workers, especially when it comes to keeping everyone together during DX.
Reality is that qualified workforce is hard to come by, so spending a little extra on keeping your associates happy is a huge money saver overall!
And that’s about it when it comes to the topics we’ve touched up, we hope you found this article informative.
We still have a very long road ahead of us, and this is by far not the last piece we’ll do in the series.
But before you go, we have one final piece to add:
Ignore our advice. Stay behind the new digital trends and maintain outdated practices and hardware!
Begin adopting DX, if you need any help or consultation, give us a quick call and most importantly:
Tell us about your experience with Digital Transformation in our comment section down below! Or tell us what we got wrong!
And remember, stay classy business and tech nerds!