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Companies emerging from the pandemic are soon realizing that going digital is the only way forward. Digital transformation is the buzzword, a buzzword that needs to be approached with a change. 

We’ve seen plenty of digital transformation measures in the past, with many of these failing to unlock cross-functional capabilities and create the desired impact. Reports point out that less than 30% of transformations succeed in general. The success rates for digitally savvy industries such as high tech, media, and telecom are even lower at 26%. Traditional industries such as automotive, oil & gas, and pharmaceuticals fare worse in their transformation efforts, with success rates of 11% or below. 

This article looks at ways in which companies could use digital transformation to retain the much-need competitive edge, that factor which not only helps them survive but thrive.  

You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail  

If an organization is committed to a grand effort, so must be the people representing it. Preparing clients and employees for a change is easier said than done, as change is always met with resistance. Effective communication and frequent training sessions are key aspects of a work culture that not only adapts to change but embraces it. Every employee must thoroughly understand the digital transformation strategy and the many ways it will benefit the stakeholders. Note this, underline it perhaps, improper change management makes people do what they do regularly – stick to their old, ineffective workflows. 

Focus Oriented 

Digital Transformation is two little words, with unending significance. The process is huge and entails a large number of interactions, transactions, changes (tech or otherwise), internal and external factors, industry-specific thought processes, etc. What might work in one scenario need not in another, despite the many possible similarities in goals and challenges. 

The Pandemic witnessed a large-scale transformation, with over 85% of CEOs accelerating their digital adoption. But not many of them were able to articulate their strategy behind the adoption and the progress they created. This implies that their digitization efforts may not have resulted in a meaningful transformation. 

There is no better time to hit the digital route than today’s emerging new normal, but the manner it is carried out scores even more importance. Tech matters, but strategy matters first. 

The Need for a Common Language 

A company, and the many C-suite executives it houses, would have different goals and focus areas. And most of these can only be addressed by a combination of technologies. It is true that many organizations have a digital strategy in place, but without a common language to strategize across functions. This leads to ineffective communication among executives in the face of a digital transformation, resulting in incohesive, uncoordinated decisions, without relevant opportunities and risks being addressed. A common language can help C-suite executives to have tech-adjacent and tech-agnostic conversations that go beyond any individual technology and into the very heart of processes, culture, and people. 

“If you want to get closer to and become more vital to the business and its strategy, you need to speak the same language as the business. Every company will become more technologically and digitally focused in the coming years. The ones who will be successful are the people who have already bridged that gap and are already speaking the same language in the business as they are in technology.” – Tighe Wall, Chief Digital Officer at Contact Energy

Those Who Play the Game 

Once the goal is set, the roles and responsibilities of every individual should be aligned with that of the organization’s goals. This must be followed by engaging the specific roles of integrators and technology innovation managers. Given the roles integrators play in translating and integrating innovative methods and processes into existing ways of working, they can importantly bridge the gap between the traditional and digital parts of the business. Technology managers, on the other hand, possess specialized technical skills that can help them lead work on a company’s digital innovations. 

Companies who champion their digital transformation efforts are always better funded, with a more robust approach to talent. It is said that the success of any transformation is three times more for organizations that have made adequate investments in digital talent.

Avoid That Crash 

The business world of 2021 presents mammoth, exciting opportunities for companies to hit the deck running and have a significant competitive edge through the many digital platforms like Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Big Data, and a plethora of other technologies that are being designed to render standalone values to businesses. But with opportunities come threats; in this ever-competitive market, businesses that aren’t strategically driven could face major disadvantages that endanger their quest for survival and growth.