Last week the news broke that several iPhone apps won’t work with the newest iteration of iOS 11, which will be released in Fall 2017. While most of us spent the afternoon Googling which of our favorite apps would soon be obsolete, there were likely a few to ask simply, “What’s iOS 11?” Those are what we call “late adopters.”
Despite the speed at which digital transformation is overtaking the business world, there are still some companies that have not yet bended to the force of technology. Surveys show nearly 30 percent of businesses identify as either “late majority” or “laggards” when it comes to making the digital leap. Maybe they never warmed up to it. Maybe they’re just overwhelmed by the ever-changing options. Whatever the case, if they don’t get on board soon, they will likely miss the train altogether.
Part of a successful digital transformation is having a clear understanding of what digital transformation means. The Altimeter Group recently defined it as “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.” In other words, it means using technology to improve your relationships with your customers—and I’d also argue—your employees.
Yes, change can be scary. But with the right road map, it doesn’t have to be difficult. And even better, it can make your life easier, and make money for your company at the same time. Below are a few tips for navigating a successful—albeit late—digital transformation.
Focus on Your Vision
You’ve heard it a million times: if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. And yet, according to Forrester, less than 30 percent of businesses have a coherent digital strategy for creating customer value in place. Take time from the outset to define your vision for your company. Are you still passionate about it? How can you use technology to help you achieve your people-facing goals? Create benchmarks that will support that forward movement, and include clear metrics that will allow you to measure the success of your transformative process.
Identify Areas for Improvement
You likely know better than anyone else where your company is lagging in the technical realm. If not, do your research. Compare your company to other strong performers in your industry and identify areas you could be using technology to move faster, smarter, and more economically than you did before. Find out how technology is improving your competitors’ relationships with their customers—and employees, as well.
Make Change Manageable
Technology can be overwhelming! Help make the process as easy as possible by biting off small, easy-to-manage increments with clear and easy successes, especially in the beginning. Remember: evolution usually trumps revolution, especially in the long-term.
A transformation never happens in a silo. Focus on improving communication throughout your entire company—both horizontally, across departments, and vertically, from front-line employees to those in the executive suite. Help them all understand why the digital transformation is important, and why their role is valuable in making it a success.
Make Data-Backed Decisions
Data is here to help you. Use the metrics you established early in the road map to guide your decisions as you move forward. Numbers can never replace common sense or passion. But they can help you understand how to make better use of that passion to help your company thrive.
Make Feedback Part of Your Process
This is a feedback-oriented age! Social media is all about sharing and receiving, and your new digital workplace is no different. Involve employees in the process, and make it a priority to use their feedback to refine the process moving forward. It’s never been easier to gather real-time performance data; don’t let those numbers go to waste.
And lastly, relax. Just because technology is moving quickly, that doesn’t mean you need to sign up for every cloud or “as-a-service” service you find. Adopting a fragmented technology strategy is just as bad as not adopting one at all. So, take your time. Make choices that truly align with your culture and mission. And perhaps even consider “earlier adoption” as one of your long-term cultural goals.
Additional Resources on This Topic
Top IT Trends to Watch in 2017
Digital Transformation: Breaking Through the Noise
Data in New Report Signals Culture is Critical to Digital Transformation