Digital Innovation is a day-to-day challenge faced by all modern businesses. And to demonstrate how big a deal it is, the global digital transformation market is projected to grow from $469.8 billion in 2020 to $1,009.8 billion by 2025.
That being said, not all businesses have fully digitized their business. And those that are will face significant challenges in the process. Not only does digitization require a specific skill set that’s not necessarily present in every company, but it also needs a certain shift in culture and mindset. As a result, business owners often aren’t prepared for how the introduction of new technologies might impact their business.
In fact, according to research carried out by McKinsey, only 16% of employees said that their company’s digital transformations have improved performance and are sustainable in the long term.
So what about the remaining 84%? What are business hurdles and how can they be mitigated so that the digitisation process runs as smoothly as possible?
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital innovation is simply the process by which businesses adopt new technologies to develop their business processes, customer experience. And company culture to keep up-to-date with the demanding and ever-evolving market requirements.
For existing companies, digitising their businesses will mean a big shift in the culture and day-to-day processes, and will penetrate all departments of the company. But businesses just starting out can ensure they’re building the business with a digital mindset integrated into operations from day 1.
That said, digital upheaval goes beyond simply moving from analogue to digitised processes. Rather, it requires businesses to look at themselves and think about how digital technology can improve the way things are done. Create a more efficient working environment, and, above all, give the customer/client the best possible experience.
Main Benefits of Tackling Digital Innovation
With digital upheaval, businesses are able to not only collect customer data but use it as intelligence to drive the business forward. Data insights can be gathered from a CRM, for example, will help businesses understand the customer journey so that they can tailor it more effectively to achieve more revenue and customer loyalty.
A digitally innovative business will have the systems and processes in place that will enable teams to save time and increase productivity. Simple yet time-consuming tasks can be automated and scheduled so that more time is freed up for more strategic tasks.
Cost savings and increased revenue
The initial cost of digitally transforming your business may seem like an expensive outlay, but that investment pays off over time. The time saved by automation, a more loyal customer base and quicker problem identification and mitigation will all lead to business growth in the long run.
In fact, according to SAP Center for Business Insights and Oxford Economics, 80% of businesses that had undergone a digital transformation reported increased profits as a direct result.
Higher level of transparency
By implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, businesses can more readily track internal processes. And identify trends and patterns that can influence business decisions.
A more engaged team
Digital innovation provides employees tools that are tailored to what they do to enable them to work more productively and flexibly. A digital culture leads to a more engaged and skilled workforce, enabling more flexibility and collaboration.
Improved cyber security
Cyberattacks are increasing dramatically since businesses have moved to Cloud-based computing. And as cybercriminals are finding increasingly clever ways of carrying out attacks. Businesses need to keep up with the appropriate digital technology if they’re to remain secure.
Why Tackling Digital Transformation Can be Difficult
Digital upheaval isn’t necessarily a natural fit for all businesses. Especially those that aren’t used to working in a digital environment. Digital upheaval requires a certain skill set that not all businesses have. And so the first step may be company-wide digital training.
Aside from this, businesses that go into digital revolution without really understanding their goals will find it difficult to navigate the transition to a digitally innovative business.
But what are the main hurdles businesses need to look out for. And learn how to overcome when they tackle digital upheaval?
Five Hurdles to Overcome When Tackling Digital Innovation
1. The culture of the company
Digital upheaval is more than just upgrading a company’s tools and processes to a digitised level. It involves an entire shift in how the company operates day-to-day. And how it interacts with its customer or client base. Simply put, digital upheaval isn’t just about technology.
One of the biggest hurdles a company going through a phase of digital upheaval will be how the entire company can adapt to the change. One of the first issues is how a company communicates planned digital transformation, and why it’s necessary for the business. If communicated well, employees are more likely to be on board throughout the process.
Early communication is one thing, but inculcating a digital culture is another. If digital transformation is to be successful then business leaders need to encourage their teams to get used to digital technologies through training programmes if necessary.
But more than this, a culture of openness to change should also be encouraged. Where employees can feel that they’re part of the process. And that they can feel fully on board with what lies ahead.
2. Unclear goals
When a company undergoes a period of transformation. It runs the risk of overlooking the fact that different parts of the business may be working towards different priorities and goals.
If digital innovation is implemented in each department, aligning with that department’s specific goals. It can mean that an overall organizational goal is missed, and the business loses its direction.
When digital transformation strategies are set out, they must be aligned around one goal. For many businesses, this goal will focus on the needs of the client or the customer. This will make sure the right resources and support will be directed to the right places and that everyone knows what they’re working towards.
3. Unclear budget
When businesses embark on digital upheaval, one of the biggest hurdles is costing it out in advance.
There’s a misconception that digital transformation requires a big upfront and ongoing investment that will pay off over time. In fact, businesses on a modest budget might benefit from a step-by-step approach to digital transformation, testing what works, and scaling as they see success.
Rather than the question of how much digital innovation costs, is when businesses fail to budget in advance. This affects decision-making throughout the processes and can cause big problems in achieving success.
Start by being clear on your project priorities and who will be involved in them. This will make it much easier for you to make a budget plan. It’s also useful to identify the project’s value so you can work out what investment would give you the best return.
Before you start allocating budget, work out your metrics against which you’ll measure success. These might be increased revenue, improved customer ratings, employee efficiency, technology downtime. Find the key things that will make your digital transformation impactful on your business.
4. Lack of IT resources
It’s estimated that 77% of businesses point to missing digital skills as the key barrier to digital transformation. This apparent lack of digital human resources will be the difference between whether digital innovation is successful, if it happens at all. As such, businesses need to be very clear about what digital skills they have in-house. And whether they need to outsource to a specialist company.
The success of digital innovation needs a skill set that can either already exist in-house or be outsourced to an expert IT support company.
Before starting out, look at your internal IT resource and invest in pooling the right talent needed for a digital business. This might mean recruiting extra digital talent. It might mean training up your current workforce using an IT support company.
Whatever the case, be sure to know what technical skills are needed for your digital transformation and make sure your team matches up to the challenge.
Becoming a business that can fully function well in, and keep up with the demands of the digital age is a question of how not if. It’s a necessity for any business looking to grow in an increasingly competitive digital world.
That being said, the challenges are complex. Organisations need to start with adopting a culture that welcomes the challenge of change. From there, a robust strategy with defined goals and budget will help to prevent some of the most common hurdles from happening.
Companies that either have the internal IT resource will have a good chance of digital success from the outset. But those that don’t might benefit from seeking the expertise of an external IT resource,such asFirstline IT. Who will help roadmap the journey to digital innovation. Train their employees and plan for hurdles before they become a problem.