3 Things Leaders Need to Know Before Implementing a Digital Transformation Strategy
Sep 12, 2022
Digital transformation has been an IT buzzword for years, but thinking about it only in terms of “updating technology” means companies are missing out on the full benefits of transformation. They also may underestimate the depth of organizational change required to get there.
The benefits of successful digital transformation are myriad. Implementing a proper digital transformation strategy opens companies to improved operational processes through data digitization and automation, leading to data-driven decisions and revenue efficiency. It can even help organizations overcome labor shortages by streamlining tedious tasks, enhancing employee engagement and satisfaction, and, consequently, improving retention.
However, when organizational leaders underestimate the full scope of what digital transformation entails, their unrealistic expectations can derail the change management process and set the team up for failure. Therefore, it’s imperative that leadership include both technology implementation and a human change management plan in their digital transformation strategy. When clear expectations are set about goals and timelines and are communicated by leadership in an open and transparent way, team members become involved and invested in the project and feel it is set up for success.
Before embarking on a digital transformation journey, decision makers must have a solid plan in place that accounts for navigating the human component of changing business processes. Start off on the right foot with these three steps:
1. Determine the Desired Business Outcome
Before creating a strategy for transformation, leadership should determine what aspect of the business needs to change and how digital transformation can support that outcome. Ask yourself, “What is the business outcome you’re aiming to achieve?” Organizations may be looking for higher productivity, better customer service, improved customer retention, stronger sales, or some other overarching goal. Identify the metrics the organization will use to measure the improvements — both end-state and for interim milestones.
Multiple goals or priorities often lead to a vague initiative, so setting a North Star goal and communicating it to the team is important. If organizational leaders are unaware of the process and fail to realize their digital transformation strategy, they might never encounter a successful change. That is why decision makers should have a laser-focused purpose to lead their team to the desired business outcomes. CTG has worked with a number of businesses across industries to reach their business outcomes and can bring insights and best practices from other clients to the table.
One insight CTG has gained is that companies shouldn’t limit the outcome’s scope to a technology standpoint. Digital transformation will touch every part of the organization, so leaders must consider those effects. Cross-department communications and strategies will ensure comprehensive change throughout the company.
2. Understand the Human Element—and Incorporate It Into the Strategy
Embedding a human change management plan into the overall digital transformation strategy is essential. Digital transformation is not a short or easy process, and it requires a lot of time and emotional energy from everyone involved. It may take time for employees to process and adapt to all the changes, so the company’s strategy should leave space for leadership to gain buy-in and for employees to adjust over time.
Communication is another key component of human change management: Leadership must explain to employees—in detail—what changes are happening and how these changes will affect them, as all workers will need to adopt new methods of working to produce the desired business outcomes. It’s also critically important to communicate why the changes are being made so that employees can buy in and actually help facilitate the desired change.
Once staff understands the scope of the planned transformation, companies should outline how this will improve the business and their day-to-day work. Organizational changes can cause a lot of fatigue, but highlighting the short-term and long-term benefits eases growing pains and keeps employees motivated along the way. Ultimately, any digital transformation implementation plan should improve operational processes, making it beneficial for both staff and the business’s bottom line.
3. Treat Digital Transformation as an Organizational Management Process
While digital transformation largely involves new technology implementation, relegating it to an IT project does a disservice to the company; instead, it needs to be treated as an organization-wide initiative. Prioritize communicating expectations in every department. Employees should be encouraged to actively participate. By involving them in the conversation and taking their questions and suggestions into consideration, employees will see the digital transformation implementation plan as something they’re a part of rather than something happening to them.
This also heads off potential conflict down the road. If people are used to working a certain way, asking them to change it can create frustration among departments. By including stakeholders in the process, companies can avoid these stressors and spend more energy focusing on the initiative itself, rather than mediating employee conflicts. CTG works with companies to develop change management plans, build out a logical roadmap for the initiative, and provide clients with the materials and talking points needed to get all employees onboard.
Digital transformation is a giant leap toward positive change. However, leaders and decision makers must understand the full impact of technology implementation to secure success. Companies need to set their priorities, leadership vision, and strategy to keep everyone in the organization moving forward with their plan. CTG has plenty of experience assisting businesses with this process—and multiple solutions to help them achieve those goals.
To learn more about how CTG can support your organization in implementing digital transformation changes, contact CTG today.
Vice President, North America Solutions and Delivery
Brett Hunt was appointed Vice President, North America Solutions and Delivery in April 2022. In this role, he is responsible for executing and evolving CTG’s solutions strategy in North America by creating and deploying innovative digital technology solutions that solve customers’ most difficult challenges. Previously, he served as CTG's Managing Director, Solutions, North America. Brett joined CTG in July 2020.