What is Digital Transformation?
Digital Transformation refers to the reimagining of a business by both implementing new technologies as well as optimizing legacy systems to improve the way operations are conducted.
Often driven by changing customer expectations, digital transformation involves re-evaluating how an organization utilizes technology, people, and processes to achieve business goals and keep customers happy. It can also lead to new business models and revenue streams for companies.
Typically, the process of digital transformation is initiated by the CEO and led, in partnership, with CIOs and other senior leaders. It requires collaboration across departments to align business objectives and application development models.
Customer-Facing Digital Transformation
Digital adoption and innovation are driven by customer experience. Customers want faster, more responsive, and increasingly interactive experiences, but they also want accessibility and availability. Digital transformation helps your organization provide a consistent, efficient, consumer-centered experience throughout the customer journey.
Example: A clothing company with in-store and online shopping has customers that want a better digital experience. The company could transform its backend to be more accurate in terms of inventory. This would unite both the brick-and-mortar and online stores to offer a seamless experience.
Integration of New Apps
The evolution of technology has resulted in new, highly function-specific applications that support business operations and processes. These apps can simplify workflows. But, there are some things to consider first.
Start by asking these questions:
- Which apps fit within the current tech stack/ecosystem?
- What training and onboarding will be required?
- What are the upfront costs?
- How can you measure the ROI and what are the expected results?
Integration is a key component in the digital transformation journey. Legacy and new processes will be able to coexist through the transformation process, rather than just be consolidated. The number of apps it can take to run a business now can number in the hundreds. Having an integration strategy is crucial in undergoing digital transformation. However, one of the main problems is that a company’s technology suite isn’t solely owned by the IT department anymore—it’s spread across functions and teams, and can often become siloed.
Ultimately, there will need to be some ownership by IT to integrate apps with core systems. Core backend systems need to be able to connect with the apps because they provide valuable data the company can use, but only if they’re connected.
Creating a digital transformation roadmap can help guide the journey, ensuring all apps, data, and new and existing processes are connected to work in synchrony. There will be more data, more software, and more analytic work. The roadmap must begin with a picture of where you want to go and how you’ll get there, including costs, staffing changes, training, ownership of processes, and more.
Revamping of Legacy Apps
Legacy systems only get more time-consuming and costly as they age. With all this time and money spent on maintaining legacy apps, companies can find it difficult to fully embrace digital transformation.
Digital transformation also means leveraging the best technology for your business and customers, whereas legacy solutions generally aren’t as flexible or agile as modern solutions.
It’s necessary during digital transformation to address legacy systems, upgrading them and dropping the dated languages, databases, and architecture. In order to evolve at the modern digital pace, companies must increase efficiency with technology wherever possible. This could mean adopting agile principles and automation technologies.
Ryan Skinner, Principal Analyst at Forrester, said “…we’ve hit a watershed moment when all of those activities—discovering a product, researching it, and buying it—are more likely to happen online than off.” So, if you don’t have a digital-first approach, you’re already behind your competition. If you can offer a great digital experience, you’re more likely to succeed.
Consumers have nearly unlimited options available at their fingertips. This leaves companies in endless competition for attention. The digital-first customer demands a lot: instant, seamless experiences from buying to customer support to the delivery of a product or service. Customers seek safe, immersive digital experiences. Your digital customer experience must therefore be intentional.
But before pleasing the consumer, there’s someone else to satisfy: the employee. The digital workplace you provide for your employee will directly affect your customer’s digital experience. There are a ton of apps CIOs can turn to in order to create an effective digital workplace. Where possible, try to personalize the experience to increase productivity and create a total experience.
Being able to adapt your existing business models to the digital-first employee and customer will alter the way companies develop and grow. Small interactions shape the perception of an organization, and digital channels majorly affect this. Considering how the pandemic has affected the world, bringing digital to the forefront more than ever, a critical component of success nowadays is being accessible digitally. Embodying this digital-first culture as a company is one step in the journey to complete digital transformation.
Digital Adoption Solutions
In May 2019, Gartner coined the term Digital Adoption Solutions (DAS). These tools help companies adopt digital solutions. DAS began as point-solutions, with pop-up bubbles offering basic engagement elements to guide users through websites and new software.
Today, though, DAS have evolved. WalkMe developed a DAP—Digital Adoption Platform—to help users adopt, learn, and truly understand new digital tools. DAPs like WalkMe’s have expanded to analyze and comprehend the user experience across multiple devices (mobile, desktop, web) in order to guide and engage users, automate workflows, and ultimately empower employees and customers alike.
Overall, a DAP can help streamline and simplify the evolution process, taking businesses through their digital transformation journeys with ease and precision.