Aligning People, Processes & Technology for successful Digital Transformation

Technological innovation has continually enabled the digital transformation (DX) of industries and processes throughout the years. Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the pace of these transformations accelerated significantly, as enterprises worldwide sought to upgrade infrastructure and capabilities to adapt to new working environments and demands. In today’s business climate, digital transformation is a top priority for enterprises worldwide to remain competitive while meeting modern working requirements.

While technology — whether it’s hardware or software — is a major cog in the DX machine, it’s not the only component that matters. So, how did the world start out thinking that DX is all about technology?

The early beginnings of DX

By its modern definition, DX is broadly considered to be the implementation and incorporation of digital technologies, services, and solutions to improve efficiency, productivity, quality and, more. Although it is often thought of as a fairly recent phenomenon, the concept and process actually first emerged in the 1940s and 1950.[1]

During those early years of DX, change was not experienced at the same rate as it is today. Often, new technologies would be introduced one by one, and their impact would be felt more gradually. But in the 21st century, DX usually involves the adoption of multiple technologies at once, and the effects of the transformation typically impact the organization at large. It’s now apparent that for DX to be truly successful, enterprises must invest not just in technology, but also in the people who use it — arguably the most important aspect of modern DX [2] — and the processes in which the technology will be embedded.

Maximizing DX effectiveness: a constant process incorporating business and technology goals

Even before COVID-19 reshaped the business landscape, enterprises were already coming to the realization that in most cases, successful DX is a major business concern.

This was evidenced in a survey forecasting the biggest business risks for 2019[3], conducted by North Carolina State University Poole College of Management’s Enterprise Risk Management Initiative, in collaboration with global consulting firm Protiviti. Directors, C-suites, and senior business leaders indicated that DX and digital readiness were top-of-mind issues to prepare for, highlighting the need for enterprises that were not digital-ready to improve transformation efforts to keep up with the competition.

But successful DX is only possible when driven by sound business strategy. Without the right plans, enterprises face the risk of disjointed systems and a lack of cohesive effort, leading to hundreds of billions of dollars[4] in wasted expenditure.

Before embarking on any DX, enterprises first need to develop a clear transformation plan with well-defined goals based on business strategy that considers the current business context, to maximize the chances of success.

Examples of digital transformation goals include:

Increasing process efficiency

Process efficiency is something every business leader will strive for. With modern digital tools and solutions like artificial intelligence and automation, enterprises can look forward to reduced manpower and resource waste, optimized task management, in-depth data analytics and monitoring for better forecasting, and more.

Increasing flexibility

A rapidly transforming business landscape means enterprises must be ready to adapt and recalibrate their business plans on the fly. The right DX plan to adopt agile technologies, along with organizational change management so that employees are open and flexible, enables enterprises to be better prepared to face changing business demands and achieve long-term success.

Improving the customer experience

Customer experience plays a large part in the success of any business. Incorporating advanced technologies to enhance customer experience can lead to greater customer loyalty and satisfaction which can ultimately improve business outcomes.

Reducing costs

By targeting cost reduction, enterprises will have a clearer idea of which tools and solutions can help optimize processes, leading to more cost-effective outcomes as part of their overall DX and business strategy.

The plan should also delineate the enterprise’s areas of focus[5] — as well as how to prioritize these, given resource constraints and changing consumer demands — and ensure that change is implemented effectively, so it is properly integrated into the organization.

How to achieve successful DX: 3 practical tips for effective alignment

How can enterprises have a successful DX? Here are three tips to enable a cohesive business and technology strategy.

Unify stakeholders

Align the mentality of the enterprise’s top leaders so that there is clear messaging across the organization. Once that is done, the DX objectives become clearer and easier to strive towards.

In any enterprise, DX will largely be driven by the top leadership[6] in the organization. Often, this may mean having tech leaders as the primary drivers of the transformation project as they possess the knowledge and understanding of the entire process. But it’s important to note that all leaders — not just the CIO or CTO — should be involved in this endeavor, to ensure the DX and associated technology goals will be grounded in a good understanding of business realities.

Change in mindset — go beyond the technology buzzwords

Focus on overall organizational change and not just technology. While technology underpins this transformation, the process needs to be holistic and inclusive. Without aligned organizational objectives, the enterprise’s DX may not be as effective as it could have been. With sensible business strategies and goals forming the bedrock of the technological roadmap, DX becomes realistic and effective.

Empower people

Ensure the organization has the correct and thorough understanding of new digital tools, technologies, and processes, and the power to help the enterprise achieve its business goals. This means providing people with the opportunities and support to gain new skills and stay up to date with learning and development to ensure longevity. Having a managed or co-managed service provider like Coevolve as a strategic partner provides an additional layer of support to your internal IT team by providing expertise and skills related to the latest networking and security trends, technologies, and best practices.

If you’re looking for managed or co-managed services that provide next-generation solutions to support your business growth and needs, schedule a chat with our team today.