What’s Standing In The Way Of Your Company’s True Digital Transformation?
When the pandemic’s initial shock hit businesses across the globe, companies had to make moves to meet their customers online — and fast. This shift online has largely been dubbed a “digital transformation” by media, entrepreneurs and analysts alike. But what exactly is a digital transformation, and what lessons have we learned from those who have attempted to make one?
First, it’s crucial to point out that “digital transformation” has become a buzzword, especially during the pandemic. It’s often thrown around loosely and used to describe any move an enterprise makes to go digital, such as incorporating simple videoconferencing, adopting standard remote collaboration tools or even creating a corporate website or mobile application. While these are vital, they’re not necessarily transformative or cutting edge.
Through my time leading a company that’s developed a real-time engagement platform, I’ve found the real pioneering enterprises took a leap of faith in the face of the pandemic and turned to technologies that can power some of the most dynamic virtual environments on the market. Innovators leveraged technologies that engage, provide shared context and have legs long after the pandemic. It’s these efforts that embody a true digital transformation.
For many, the path online was anything but paved in gold. Attempts to undergo digital transformation were rocky. Mistakes were made, and money was lost. Despite this, these first adopters paved the way for other companies to learn from their mistakes.
As we exit this initial wave of Covid-19-induced digital transformations, we are entering a new era that will be defined by companies that realize the basic adoption of technology will no longer suffice. The world has changed for good, and it’s no longer about finding a solution just to get by or making it through the next meeting. Companies need to prioritize putting transformative technology solutions first to sustain business growth.
As a business leader, it’s crucial to reimagine your business model and how you can reinvent your company to be online first. In fact, in a CIO Pandemic Business Impact Survey conducted by the International Data Group, 59% of respondents said the pandemic is accelerating their digital transformation efforts. Not sure where to start? Read on to learn about what has historically held companies back from making a digital transformation so you don’t fall into the same traps.
Roadblocks To Innovation
We’ve all heard the cliché “good things come to those who wait.” When it comes to undergoing a digital transformation, I believe this couldn’t be further from the truth. So what exactly drives enterprises forward and entices them to dive in and adopt new technology? And what could be some roadblocks?
First off, budgets don’t always account for the extra spending involved with trying new things. Take, for example, the monumental impact augmented and virtual reality are supposed to have on the workplace. While experts are clamoring around the possibilities of how these technologies can connect remote workforces, make workplaces safer and boost productivity, many companies aren’t budgeting for integration.
Why? Anyone who has helped lead a company can attest to the fact that you’re always thinking about and protecting your bottom line. Once you find a successful business strategy, it’s easy to hold onto it and not prioritize integrating new processes.
But, it’s this “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality that prevents a significant amount of enterprises from having the foresight to budget for risk-taking. By now, many leaders likely realize that if they invest in new technology to get ahead of their challenges, the reward is far greater than the risk. They will likely see an increase in customers, revenue and engagement, as well as reduced fluctuations both internally and externally.
Second, plain old conservatism gets in the way. Often, if business leaders don’t take the time to understand technology, they will simply write off its value. In the business world, we call this being “risk-averse.” More prudent types prefer to wait until other people crash and burn before they throw their hat in the ring. While this feels safer, it’s one of the most common precursors to a failure to start.
More so, smaller companies waiting for giant brands to evolve are doing their own customer bases a disservice. Even when some large companies are criticized for having hard-to-reach, automated customer service, because they are so well known, successful and widely used, there is little motivation to implement new technology to reach their customers.
Small and midsize companies are uniquely positioned to employ more personalized solutions to “wow” their customer base and make a name for themselves in the market. In this sense, waiting for big brands to pave the way is a critical mistake.
The big question is: Who will win? I believe the answer is those who favor proactivity over reactivity. Consider how the pandemic forced every business leader’s hand and made the inevitability of going digital unavoidable: Those who were “planning” on adopting next-generation technology no longer had a choice, and they are acting now. Similarly, those who had no plans were forced to spool one up quickly. As a result, half-baked strategies were put into effect, forcing enterprises to make mistakes in real time and course-correct on the fly. The end result? Profit losses, headaches and startling changes.
As we head into this second wave of digital transformation, rest assured that making digital investments is no longer a consideration but a necessity. In 2020, the need to create an engaging, hybrid business identity — one rooted both in the physical world and in the virtual — is crucial to staying afloat today, tomorrow and into the future.
This article originally appeared on forbes.com To read the full article and see the images, click here.
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