Everyone is talking about digital transformation, but there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about what the term means. Much more than just a buzzword and doing things “digitally,” digital transformation means reimagining your business and driving it forward in a better way.

When done correctly, digital transformation can fundamentally change how you deliver value to your customers. That’s what you need to focus on if you want to thrive in this market. Customers today have high expectations and a lot of options, so carefully considering your customer journey is critical to success.

How do you set yourself apart from your competitors? While many businesses might think it’s best to play it safe right now, the opposite is true. COVID-19 and its impact on the economy have actually made it more urgent to take the first steps.

Before you get started on your journey, here’s a brief overview of what to know about digital transformation. When you’re ready, we’re here to help you execute.

Digital transformation: What it is and isn’t

Digital transformation is the integration of technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers.

Digital transformation enables you to interact with your customers in a new way that is constantly evolving to meet both their needs and your own business needs. By ideating and implementing better business processes and technologies, you’ll not only create an elevated customer experience that will result in increased profitability, but you’ll also save you significant time and money in operating costs.

What digital transformation is not

Some people confuse digital transformation with digitization or digitalization, but they are actually all different things.

Digitization is the process of taking information and converting it from a physical format to a digital one (e.g., typing up paper notes and putting them into Microsoft Word or scanning in a PDF).

Digitalization, on the other hand, uses these digital files to take the processes already in place and make them more efficient using the new digital format. Digitalization allows you to make your processes faster but doesn’t evolve the process itself.

The challenges of digital transformation

While digital transformation is worth it and necessary to the survival of your organization, there are challenges that come along with reimagining any new business process.

To make your digital transformation truly successful, you need to ensure that you have a good understanding of your brand and your customers. Without that, the entire digital transformation strategy you build will be misguided, and you’ll end up back on square one.

Budget can also be a big hindrance for a lot of companies looking to begin their digital transformation. Often, there are additional resources and training needed up front. Although the cost savings and increased profitability are worth it in the end, the initial up-front expense can be very intimidating.

Additionally, poor data quality can become a huge challenge for organizations as they go down the digital transformation road. Poor data analytics often lead companies to make important decisions based on misguided data. Poor data also prevents companies from being able to use emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, since they prove useless when fed with bad data.

Sound strategy and good data will ensure you start your digital transformation journey on the right foot.

Digital transformation is about more than just technology

Although the focus of digital transformation is often on emerging technologies moving the business forward, true transformation has to encompass so much more.

Business leaders at the top level must be involved in this change and must be willing to invest in and empower your employees, as well as focus on building your culture.

Recent studies have shown that many companies going through a digital transformation think it is more difficult to implement the cultural and organizational changes than it is to implement the new technologies.

As employees begin to see changes occurring around them, many begin to wonder how it will affect them and their coworkers. They may question their own position within the organization and try to figure out their own best next steps.

During this transition, leadership must communicate with employees to help them feel secure in their own positions as well as the direction of the organization.

Head off potential issues by making sure your employees understand what digital transformation is and how they can be a part of it. Additionally, it may be best to communicate how rapidly things can change throughout this process. Many new technologies allow you to change your process at rapid speeds.

Being as transparent as possible and preparing your employees for future changes can make all the difference in ensuring your digital transformation is successful.

Digital transformation is your next step

Especially for new businesses, now is the perfect time for digital transformation. Instead of creating processes and leveraging technology platforms that you will later have to change and update, if you take the time to set them up now, you’re setting your business up for success later.

More established organizations may find digital transformation challenging because their processes and culture are more defined, plus they established them before the true digital age. Many legacy brands have found themselves in trouble because the transformation can be so drastic and many executives don’t take action, fearful of that change.

But when done right, digital transformation allows your organization to deliver the right customer experience to the right people and not only remain relevant in your market, but actually build your brand.

Although digital transformation may look different for every company, one thing is consistent: customers today expect a flawless and customized customer experience, and you’ll need digital transformation to deliver it.

Contact us today to get started.