You have heard about it, read articles about it, or are potentially even practicing it today. A relatively new, often misunderstood term, Digital Transformation has become increasingly popular in the business scene.
And it is not going away.
In less than 2 decades, we have seen more than half of the Fortune 500 companies disappear, whether it be through mergers, acquisitions or bankruptcy. Guess who has replaced them? The businesses that are paving the way in a new digital world - The Facebooks, Amazons, Ubers and Zappos of the world.
Technology has not only happened to us, it has caused a paradigm shift within us (society), and the way we live our lives. Inevitably, it has reached businesses who now struggle to meet the challenges of an aggressive pace of digital disruption, often left at a loss as to where to begin changing.
As surprising as it may seem, digital transformation starts with people. The biggest change is not about the shifting technology, focusing on customer experiences, or finding the right product set to run a business. Although not easy, these shifts are all doable!
The magic happens when people are able to break through legacy business culture.
As straight forward as this may sound, our leaders are struggling with taking on, supporting, and encouraging digital transformation.
A testimony to this challenge is the way most leadership teams run.
We are still looking at past data, instead of looking forward. We are still operating based on spreadsheets, rather than having live reporting forms. We still push back on giving our staff an effective way of being able to work remotely.
In New Zealand, although we agree that we need to transform, we struggle with having the right people in the right seats. We simply can't find technology leaders who are capable of aligning technology to businesses. In another words, the problem goes back to where we began in this post: the people.
Image source: Microsoft New Zealand
So how do you begin to challenge the status quo?
Because this post is about providing solutions, I'm going to offer some advice based on experience and what we do here at Lancom.
1. Start by accepting you have a challenge ahead, and get ready to take action
You can keep denying and let your competition out do you, or you can just accept that things are changing (by this I mean businesses, people, processes and technology) and start investigating what that means for you, for your industry, for your staff, and for your clients.
2. Let your people be a part of your digital focus
This starts by dropping down the super formal management style and silos and by letting your people get to you and feel that they are a part of your business transformation.
It is about creating an environment where ideas are welcomed and rewarded.
A simple, practical advice is to hold a monthly "great idea contest" (we do this at Lancom).
Here's how it goes:
We created a specific monthly meeting for idea generation. We ask each team member to prepare and submit one idea ahead of joining the meeting, then they have 2 minutes to present it.
The idea can be anything: A cool piece of technology we could look to implement to benefit ourselves or our clients, a process that could be introduced to help internally or externally, ANYTHING GOES!
The point here is to get people accustomed to communicating, to break the barriers and to steer creativity! You will be surprised to what you might get.
→ Want a starting point? Click here to get a copy of the best practice contest template we use
As you progress into this journey you can start to lock down a monthly theme. But at first keep it simple and open, so people feel encouraged to participate.
3. Get expert advice
There is a huge chance that you are not in the business of solving problems through technology (I get that not everyone is as passionate as we are!). That's where an expert will serve you!
The best part of being in the information age is that there is a plethora of expert information freely available, at the click of a button. So, you can start small by just doing online research.
⇒ We have a great channel for educating businesses on the things we are being exposed to. Have you subscribed to Lancom TV yet?
(This is the medium where we get to interview our staff and business leaders, and discuss relevant topics that serve anyone wanting to learn more about digital transformation. I'm biased, but I think you should subscribe!)
If you prefer face-to-face interactions (like me), have an expert visit you and "pick their brain"!
After, get into the habit of rating the meeting.
Have they added value to you from the first interaction? That is usually a sign that they might be as committed as you.
Threat or opportunity? The choice is yours
Business leaders are being driven by the prediction that within the next decade 40% of businesses with disappear, 70% will attempt a digital transformation however only 30% will succeed. The timing of digital transformation is imperative, the sooner action is taken, the higher the chance of success.
The change paves the way for huge opportunities for business leaders to shape their companies, and reform their position in a dramatically different market. Despite the over looming fear of extinction by agile, tech-savvy start-ups, there can be a profound advantage realised when combining industry knowledge with the insights of how technology is shaping the future.
Start your digital transformation with Lancom
We have added our 2 cents with a free guide written with the intention to help you adapt your business to being technology driven. Download your copy of "A business leaders guide to optimal business growth by leveraging technology", and stay ahead of the change.
Don't like reading eBooks? Get us to come to you for a chat (and rate us later!). Our first engagements are commitment free. We are primarily interested in delivering value to you first.