Coping With Forced Digitization - Challenges, Pitfalls and Road to Success

Authored by Keyur Dhami, VP-Customer Success, WebEngage

With businesses becoming more consumer-focused, digitization has become a top priority to business leaders. As per surveys, about 75% of businesses view digital transformation as a means of boosting business revenue and being truly consumer-centric, contrary to the traditional cost-cutting measures. 

What is Digitization?

Digitization refers to the process of using digital technologies to create or optimize existing business processes, culture, and the overall customer experience being delivered. There are four main areas of digital transformation include:

● Process transformation

● Business model transformation

● Domain transformation

● Cultural/ organization transformation

The pandemic forces businesses to adopt digitization

According to a study by Forrester, about 67% of organizations accelerated their digital transformation strategy due to and during the COVID-19 crisis. The forced and rapid digitization led to complexities in many operations and processes such as supply chain management, data management, and the overall security of the organization.

The most common digitization challenges

1. Charting out a digitization strategy: According to McKinsey’s survey, misinformed transformation strategy and a lack of clarity were the two leading challenges for companies to overcome. An effective strategy should involve assessing the current needs and challenges of the business, root cause of inefficiencies, researching and best solutions, and creating a well-documented plan for implementation of those solutions.

2. Complex digital solutions: While digital solutions solve a number of challenges for a business, they are also overwhelmingly difficult to get started with – sometimes, taking months to complete an end-to-end implementation to address a single business process.

3. Navigating organizational pushback: Businesses that have been running for years, often see pushback from their employees when they change processes. This is owing to the habitual way of working as well as the comfort employees, as well as stakeholders, find in the existing processes, which results in incomplete or slow adoption of digital transformation.

4. Lack of skills for digitization: A study by Futurum Research found that 26% of companies say lack of employee skills has been a major challenge in their digital transformation. With new technologies and processes, comes a need to continually upskill and learn the various aspects of digitization.

5. Adapting to evolving consumer needs: The pandemic has changed consumer behavior. Most organizations still view digital transformation as a one-time project, bringing rigidity into processes that need to be more agile to keep up with the ever-expanding digital landscape.

6. Leverage available data: Organizations haven’t been able to collate insights from different systems such as their CRM, ERP, customer support tools in a more comprehensive manner. This has resulted in making misinformed decisions to solve the current and future needs of the business.

7. Understanding and navigating cybersecurity risks: Businesses are not able to completely understand the cyber threats they are prone to. This has resulted in them not being able to implement security strategies to keep their data secure while adopting new technologies and moving to new platforms for digitization.

8. Lack of budgets for digitization: Changes in consumer needs, IT errors and similar mistakes due to a lack of digital transformation strategy have led to increased costs. The lack of budgets to evolve has slowed down or halted digital transformation for most.

Tips to overcoming digitization challenges

1. Conduct an audit to discover identify your needs and challenges: Look into your current business processes and conduct a thorough audit of the same on all fronts. The goal is to identify loopholes and opportunities in your existing processes before starting out with digitization.

2. Prioritize your current and future needs: Once you have uncovered where your business lags, you need to prioritize how you want to adopt digital transformation. Take into account both your current and future needs, and categorize them based on the amount of impact they have on your business growth.

3. Research the options available to you: Before starting to adopt digital tools, look into what other businesses in the same or similar industry are making use of. Also take a look at all the alternate solutions and paths available to you, exploring each in detail – both in terms of resources available to you and the time it will take for you to implement them.

4. Create a well-documented strategy: The next step is to align same with your overall business objectives/ goals. It’s important for everyone in the organization to understand the intent behind digital transformation and the key performance indicators of success. Smart Insights has created a clear template and explanation of each stage that you can use as the base framework for your strategy.

5. Invest in a digital adoption platform: The success of digitization is also dependent on how effectively you’re able to implement. You’ll need to provide proper pre-boarding, onboarding, training and support to your employees throughout the journey. A good digital adoption platform (DAP) provides the organization with tools to create contextual onboarding journeys for their employees across various departments and processes.

6. Create a digitization team: Having a digital transformation team allows organizations to proactively implement digitization and ensure alignment. Ideally, these should also be people who have a complete understanding of your business objectives and the roles they are responsible for.

7. Onboard a digitization consultant Digital transformation is not a one-time project. It is a good idea to onboard a digital transformation consultant who comes with prior experience in the same. The expert should help you see through creating as well as implementing your digital transformation strategy, providing you a concrete foundation and framework for success. 

8. Focus on agility: Adapting to the rapidly changing consumer needs and preferences is important for the success of a digital transformation strategy. Make sure that your strategy is agile and has the ability to adopt new processes, technologies, and workflows without changing the core framework and the business objectives you want to address.

9. Make customers delight your epicenter: While digital transformation is focused on bringing efficiency across the organization, it is also meant to address the changing consumer expectations. Your internal, as well as external-facing processes, need to be optimized to deliver a positive customer experience. Apart from market and industry research, feedback from customers will help you uncover insights that may go unnoticed otherwise. So make sure you equip your team with the right digital tools to proactively collect customer feedback and derive insights from the same.

Digitization is a detailed process and an extensive journey that businesses need to embark on. But with the ever-evolving market needs and technological advancements, coping with digitization can be overwhelming and prone to mistakes. It’s important for businesses to strategically think through their need for digitization, keeping their values and core objectives at the center of everything they do. But at the same time, it also emphasizes the importance of embracing data in day-to-day processes to make them more optimized for performance and success.

 DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it.


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