Is your business prepared for digital transformation? Part 2 – Implementing Change

In our never-ending search for the latest news and trends in the world of business management software, we’re taking a look at the concept of digital transformation. Specifically in relation to a series of articles written by Tricia Morris, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Microsoft Dynamics 365.

In Part 1; Digital Darwinism, we looked at what digital transformation means, the driving forces behind it and some sobering statistics that showed how ill-prepared some organisations are for the digital disruption to come.

Now we’ll take a look at how you can implement strategies that will encourage your business to embrace digital transformation.

Why culture comes first in digital transformation

Having highlighted the significance and fast-moving nature of digital transformation, it’s important that employees work together to support an organisation’s digital strategy.

Digital transformation culture

For many businesses, this will involve a cultural transformation before the digital one can occur. It will need to encourage experimentation and get people to rethink the way they work. It should revolve around a shared sense of purpose and empowerment and be quick to respond to both external and internal influences.

Constellation Research founder and principal analyst Ray Wang believes digital transformation has to start from the board level. “It’s hard because what you’re asking yourself to do is to develop a business model that will disrupt yourself. That’s not in human nature to do. In order to be successful in digital transformation, the cultural dimension is really about finding those people who know how to colour outside the lines (and colour inside the lines when they have to).”

So you have to seriously ask yourself, “Is my company creating a culture conducive to digital transformation?”

Why design thinking is good for digital transformation

Given that we’ve already seen that almost half of business owners don’t believe they’re prepared for a state of digital disruption, how should you get ready for what’s to come?

Digital transformation design thinking

One approach is to use the methods of design thinking.  Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO and author of Change by Design, defines design thinking as “a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically possible and a viable business strategy to convert into customer value and market opportunity.”

Essentially, implementing a design thinking exercise not only allows you to prepare the business for digital transformation but also encourages everyone in the organisation to get involved.

While the culture of digital transformation has to come from the top down, the implementation and acceptance of it should come from a free movement of ideas from the bottom up. A key element of design thinking is diversity and encouraging different people from different teams to come together and share their experiences. Something that can be replicated when implementing new solutions such as project management software.

Joe Dickerson, technologist, author and UX Lead, Microsoft UX Team, MS Services, has seen this first-hand. “I’ve facilitated design thinking sessions with multiple organisations (at all levels),” says Dickerson, “and at the end of every session there is always at least one innovative idea that the group decides to move forward on, and this idea quite often never existed before the workshop began.”

What do organisations need to succeed in digital transformation?

Digital transformation challenges

We’ve already mentioned Ray Wang, Constellation Research founder and principal analyst. In an exclusive interview with Microsoft, he explored the latest technology trends, how to overcome any obstacles, and why and how you can be an agent of change within your own organisation. You can download the full interview here.

The ‘why’ of digital transformation seems obvious but the “how” can be less clear. Wang thinks that there are some fundamental aspects to succeeding in digital transformation. “When we look at digital transformation, people tend to think about the technologies, but it’s also about how you change your business models and how you change the way you engage with stakeholders.

“Once you get the business model down right, then you can figure out what technologies you need to support. And when you bring those two together, that’s when you actually get to digital transformation.”

5 top challenges to digital transformation

Digital transformation success

Given the many aspects of digital transformation that we’ve already covered off, it’s not an over-exaggeration to say that many businesses are going to face challenges in the years to come.

Do nothing and digital transformation will be happening around you, despite your unwillingness to embrace it. Change is hard but the very nature of our technological world means that a static business won’t be functioning efficiently for long without implementing a plan that recognises the latest digital trends.

In Part 1, we mentioned the 2016 State of Digital Transformation Report from the Altimeter Group. It listed the top five challenges faced by 500 executives and digital transformation strategists.

  • Understanding customer behaviour
  • A lack of data or ROI to justify the value of digital transformation
  • Risk management, compliance or legal complications
  • Resources required
  • Changing the company culture to be agile

In their own research, Microsoft found that business executives were facing the same issues, as well as having to deal with outdated legacy systems, a lack of collaboration, and an inability to access data and intelligence.

The good news is that businesses who already have a plan in place for transformational change are starting to see it pay off. The Altimeter Group report found that organisations with a focus on digital transformation had seen increases in market share, customer engagement, employee morale, customer revenue and attracting new talent.

Digital disruption is coming. What will define business success is the plan that organisations have to implement change and welcome digital transformation.

Automating and streamlining processes with Enterprise Resource Planning software like Microsoft Dynamics NAV or 365 is just one way of doing this. Luckily, we’re here to help you find a partner that will suit your needs perfectly. So embrace transformational change and get in touch with us today.

Images from Microsoft Dynamics blog

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