Corporate culture is no stranger to buzzwords and buzzword-driven decision-making, but one particular buzzword seems to be inspiring even more activity than normal: "Digital Transformation."
Even the definition of "digital transformation" is in flux, although it generally refers to the conversion of physical processes to ones conducted mostly or entirely via computers and networking. More specific definitions like to focus on data fluidity and the standardization of processes across multiple channels.
This has led to a rush for companies to update their processes, even if those updates may not be particularly needed or helpful. We saw a genuinely eye-opening study recently, from Couchbase, suggesting that more than half of "digital transformation" projects are doomed to failure. Worse, many of them were being pushed by people who knew they wouldn't work
That really indicates the need for decision-makers to take a step back and consider just how much they're
Considering Digital Transformation? Here Are A Few Tips.
1 - Do it for the right reasons.
The right reason for a digital transformation is when there is a technology which can truly take an existing process and improve it in a way that benefits you, your partners, your customers or -preferably- all three.
Wrong reasons for digital transformations include:
- "Because our competitors are doing it."
- "Because I need to prove I'm technologically savvy."
- "Because we want to pioneer new technologies."
2 - Go slowly; have pilot programs.
Another big mistake we often see in our own consulting work is companies trying to "go big" with their transformation projects, too quickly. No major workflow overhaul is going to be without its bugs and problems in implementation. Trying to impose a huge change on an entire operation, at once, is a recipe for failure.
Go slowly. Do plenty of testing. Create pilot programs which implement the changes on a small scale, so you can look for bugs and unintended consequences before doing a large-scale rollout.
3 - Look to lay foundations.
In our view, the best digital transformation projects are those which lay a groundwork upon which other projects can be built. An obvious example would be moving existing customer records and customer service data into a single CRM-style database. Once you have your customer data centralized, that opens up huge possibilities for future use of that data.
This outlook also encourages a step-by-step mentality, and that's going to be healthy for digital transformation projects going forward. Lay the foundation, make sure it's working, and then start thinking about more specific applications.
4 - Have a well-specified scope and stick to it.
One of the biggest signs of a digital transformation project going awry is that its scope and focus continues to change, even once the project is underway. It's rare for such projects to recover without becoming extremely costly, or even destructive.
Do plenty of research on potential solutions beforehand. Have clear and well-defined goals for the project, with scope to match. Don't change those goals unless there's a genuinely compelling reason. Want to add more features? Do it in a future project, after the groundwork is laid, rather than trying to do everything at once.
Hummingbird Networks can provide future-focused consulting and networking expertise to help your digital transformation projects succeed where others fail. Fill out the form below for a free network consultation.