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2020 has been the year for widespread digital transformation. But is your organization getting the most return out of its efforts to go digital?
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation will mean different things to different organizations. But at its core, digital transformation is effectively integrating the right digital tools and technology into every relevant aspect of a business. It ultimately improves the employee or customer experience and eliminates the inconveniences of analog processes.
What successful digital transformation means for businesses
Digital transformation is more than going paperless – though that’s certainly part of it. A complete, successful digital transformation reimagines all aspects of an organization’s processes, and encourages business leaders to ask the following questions:
- What are the biggest pain points for our employees or customers?
- Where are we losing time or efficiency?
- How can we restructure these working processes?
- What tools will help us get there?
Its driving force is to get rid of outdated processes that have been “grandfathered in” but aren’t efficient or helpful for employees and customers anymore.
When done right, it can make work easier and more enjoyable for employees, increase efficiency and productivity, provide a better customer experience, and give your business a competitive edge.
But all too often, it doesn’t work the way a company hoped it would. Some research finds that less than 30% of digital transformation efforts are seen as successful by employees.
So, how can you make sure your plans don’t fall into that category?
How to successfully prepare for digital transformation
1. Determine your vision
You should never start by purchasing new technology. Instead, start with a vision and key questions. What problems do you want to solve? How do you want your workflows to look after a digital transformation initiative? How will you quantify and measure your success?
2. Define your goals
Be as specific as possible. This will not only help you identify exactly what you want to improve; it will help you measure the success of your efforts later. Here are some examples:
“Reduce paper waste” becomes “Reduce paper waste, especially in HR with signed forms and in the finance department with reimbursement requests.”
“Improve remote working conditions” becomes “Improve remote working conditions by making it easier to collaborate on documents with real-time workflow progress.”
3. Identify tools and people that will help you get there
For some companies, certain steps toward digital transformation require hiring consultants or even creating new positions and departments. However, digital transformation often starts with simple, easy-to-implement tools that address your most common analog pain points.
When looking for digital tools, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- The shorter the learning curve, the better. Consider simple, user-friendly solutions as they’ll be more widely adopted.
- All-in-one solutions. App overload is a barrier to successful digital transformation, so try to use products that solve multiple problems.
4. Don’t wing the rollout – create a change management strategy
Any IT veteran knows that most people don’t like change – at least at first. At Nitro, we’ve found that a change management strategy is almost as important as the tool itself for successful digital transformation.
Change management helps you present new tools to employees in a way that isn’t overwhelming and creates “buy-in.” It also takes the burden off IT by prioritizing manageable rollout strategies. Change management strategies will vary by company, but they should always address these basics:
- Foster user “buy-in.” Provide a rationale for why you’re making this change. Communicate how it solves problems and will ultimately make work easier for employees.
- Even if you think your employees don’t need the training, provide it. It’s consistently associated with higher user adoption of your new tool.
- Be strategic in your rollout. Everything-at-once isn’t always the best approach to deploying new technology. Starting with individual departments can help you refine your onboarding and training process. You’ll get a feel for the most common challenges and will be more efficient as you onboard the rest of the organization.
5. Track user adoption and success metrics
Concrete data lets you gauge the success of your digital transformation efforts. It offers insight into where your issues are so that you can focus your efforts on the right areas. For example, if you find that one department has low user adoption and higher rates of printing, you know exactly who’s getting the next “buy-in” pep talk and training session.
Digital products that allow you to easily track these metrics make this part of digital transformation significantly easier and more likely to succeed.
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