For business leaders who have ever struggled with whether or not to embrace digital transformation, the pandemic has made that decision easier. Just as no one predicted COVID-19, no one foresaw the changes it would bring to companies in all industries.
Organizations unprepared for the sudden shutdown and challenges that followed – including limited face-to-face contact, remote working, and digital paper-based processes – struggled to survive. Digital organizations have meanwhile been able to adapt quickly and agilely to changing requirements.
The pandemic has not only made it clear to companies how important it is to plan for the unexpected, it has also made a strong case for accelerating digital transformation. It left no room for the excuses some business leaders used to delay their technology investments.
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Here are four excuses no company should use to delay digital transformation:
Excuse 1: Digital transformation is just a catchphrase; we don’t really need it
If you believe that, you are living in denial.
With increased customer expectations and dynamically changing business requirements, digital transformation is no longer an option for companies. Instead, it is a matter of survival and is fast becoming a reality in the competitive business landscape.
If you don’t transform your business today, your competitors will overtake you. An inspiring example is Domino’s Pizza, which reinvented the brand by pursuing a multi-pronged strategy for digital transformation. In a recent case, UK Capital One launched its digital transformation initiatives at breakneck speed during the pandemic to avoid disrupting vital services.
Today’s customers are also quickly adopting digitization. They want results fast and they expect organizations to be efficient and responsive. In addition, today’s employees demand the flexibility to work beyond the confines of the workplace. In the meantime, evolving regulatory requirements require agility on the part of businesses. In order to meet these requirements and to meet the changing expectations of everyone involved – customers, employees and partners – speed is crucial.
These new realities reflect the fact that the digital transformation is not only happening at an unprecedented speed, but that it will remain: A. McKinsey global survey in 2020 showed that companies accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply chain interactions by three to four years, with the proportion of digital or digitally activated products in their portfolios accelerating by seven years. Home Depot, for example, is betting $ 11 billion that the digital transformation will give it an unassailable position in the market.
Even if you don’t have a foolproof blueprint, don’t hesitate with your digital transformation plan. Engage your stakeholders, help them integrate with the idea, and start strategizing step-by-step on your digital transformation roadmap.
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Excuse 2: Digital transformation is all about the customer experience
The customer experience is at the heart of digital transformation, but that’s only half the story. The other half comprises lean business processes.
Outdated, manual, and isolated processes not only slow down your business, but also increase costs because it is more expensive to maintain broken, outdated processes. With the pandemic behind us, most companies are realizing that their existing business processes are not sustainable in the new normal. With remote and hybrid work becoming the norm, companies have had to get on their feet to keep business running as usual, and digital transformation is making it possible.
COVID lockdowns made it imperative for companies to enable secure remote operations, which in turn made them aware of the importance of migrating their operations to the cloud. After the pandemic, the adoption of cloud technologies has grown exponentially. It has enabled businesses to work in a remote environment without sacrificing the speed and quality of services.
If you haven’t already, start by identifying the “low hanging fruits” – that is, the processes that are best suited for your first automation roadmaps. Then start scaling. The transition to the cloud offers you countless possibilities, from reducing IT infrastructure costs to scalability according to business requirements.
If you haven’t already, start by identifying the low-hanging fruit – that is, the processes that are best suited for your initial automation roadmaps. Then start scaling
Excuse 3: Customers prefer the old-fashioned human touch
2020 will go down in history as the year that challenged and changed everything. It broke old habits and created new ones that extend to how customers interact with businesses.
According to a Jungle Scout survey, 43% of consumers say they would be fine if they never went to a physical store again, and nearly three-quarters of consumers (73%) believe that the majority of consumer shopping will be online in the future.
Convenience and price points started this trend, and the pandemic has accelerated it. When the lockdowns went into effect, companies in all industries had to act quickly to move to digital – and a digital facade was not enough to enable a fully digital customer journey. Companies have completed years of digital transformation initiatives in months to avoid disrupting services for their customers.
The right balance between human touch and automation is the core of successful digital transformation projects. In order to become a modern digital company, it is of the utmost importance to map your processes and connect them with the right technology.
Excuse 4: Digital transformation leads to downsizing
The digital transformation often leads to employees feeling insecure about their workplace. But the reality is that digitization and automation have created a pool of opportunities for new jobs. The nature of work has clearly changed, but the number of job vacancies has grown in the digital age.
When digital transformation is done right, processes are faster, more accurate, and more efficient, freeing human employees for more strategic tasks that require emotional intelligence, reasoning, judgment, and face-to-face interaction with customers.
Educate your employees about the need for digital transformation and show how it will empower them in their current jobs. Upgrading and retraining your employees is also an effective strategy to ensure that your employees support your digital transformation initiatives.
Build a more resilient future
The pandemic has confirmed the relevance of this often quoted sentence: “Change is the only constant”.
Today’s workforce is more resilient and better equipped than ever to meet challenges. Thanks to rapid innovation and accelerated digital transformation, companies are not only surviving in the present, but are also equipped and ready to scale their processes and react with agility in the long term to unprecedented circumstances.
The excuses are broken. An effective digital transformation strategy is now essential to stay relevant, competitive and crisis-ready.
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