According to the Worldwide Semiannual Digital Transformation Spending Guide, the worldwide spending on technologies and services that enable digital transformation is expected to reach $2.3 trillion in 2023.
At Systems Assurance, we’re seeing more and more businesses contact us about digital transformation – but we’re also hearing from plenty of organizations who are unsure whether they should be embracing digital transformation, or dismissing it as just another industry buzzword.
In this article we’ll be helping you decide whether digital transformation is right for your business, by cutting through the hype and exploring 7 of the most common myths surrounding digital transformation.
Digital transformation: Future-proofing your business
Before we tackle the misconceptions surrounding digital transformation, we need to pin down what people mean when they talk about digital transformation.
Defining digital transformation can be tricky, as the process can look entirely different, for different companies. In broad terms, digital transformation is the process of taking a critical look at every area of your business, and then adapting each area to make the most of the available technology.
Digital transformation is often described as “reimagining” your business for the digital age, as a successful digital transformation will involve many disparate changes, and should affect multiple parts of your business, or potentially even your entire business.
The changes you implement as part of a digital transformation can vary depending on factors such as how your business is currently structured, your target audience,and your overall company culture. For example, as part of a digital transformation strategy, you might perform some or all of the following:
- Create new business processes, modify existing processes, or abandon processes that are no longer working effectively.
- Create new experiences or modify existing experiences for employees, customers, partners and other key stakeholders. Alternatively, you might decide to drop certain experiences entirely.
- Tweak existing job titles, introduce new job titles, or even commit to overhauling your entire organizational structure.
When combined, all of these changes should fundamentally alter how your business operates, with the ultimate goal of making your business more resilient in today’s rapidly-evolving market.
Top 7 digital transformation myths
Now we have a high-level overview of what digital transformation is and some of the steps you might take as part of a digital transformation effort, let’s explore some of the most common misconceptions and myths surrounding digital transformation.
1. Digital transformation is just about technology
Upgrading your software or hardware doesn’t automatically guarantee a successful digital transformation.
Digital transformation is centered around getting the most out of the available technology, which almost always involves making changes outside of IT. Simply introducing a new piece of hardware or software is unlikely to benefit your business unless you also make additional changes in order to fully support that tech.
If you do decide to implement new technology or modify existing technology, then you should place it in the context of your entire organization. For example, imagine you decide to handle all future customer complaints using Microsoft Teams; instead of continuing to use your existing customer complaints process, you’ll typically want to tweak your policies to get the most out of Teams’ unique feature set.
While it may be tempting to create a separate strategy for your digital transformation project, it’s typically more effective to incorporate digital transformation policies into your existing business strategy.
By focusing on digitally transforming your current business strategy, any changes you implement are more likely to benefit your entire organization, rather than being constrained to your IT department.
2. SMBs and startups don’t need to worry about digital transformation
For SMBs and startups with limited resources, transforming every part of your business can be a daunting prospect. However, smaller businesses are much less likely to be restricted by legacy systems and processes, which often makes them more agile than their enterprise competitors. If you’re an SMB, then you may find it easier to digitally reimagine your business, compared to large enterprises who often have long-standing processes and legacy software that they need to continue to support.
For many SMBs, there’s also the temptation to dismiss digital transformation as unnecessary – if you’re not currently experiencing any major issues and you have limited resources, then why waste these precious resources on overhauling your business?
While digital transformation can be a time-consuming process, it’s also a crucial way to future-proof your SMB, as it ensures you have the processes and resources in place to deal with any sudden or unexpected growth. Not every business is going to become an overnight success, but by taking the time to digitally transform your SMB now, you’ll be equipped to capitalize on any sudden increase in demand, rather than buckling under the pressure.
In addition, tech is evolving at a rapid pace, creating new opportunities for businesses to improve the customer experience – and customers are very much aware of this! Regardless of whether you’re a brand-new startup or a global enterprise, today’s customers have high expectations. If your SMB fails to meet the customer’s expectations, then they’re going to take their business elsewhere – potentially to your biggest competitor who has embraced digital transformation, and can deliver the experience that today’s consumers have come to expect.
3. We’ll need to retrain our entire workforce
The fear that digital transformation will require reskilling your entire workforce isn’t completely unfounded, with Gartner predicting that nearly 80% of skills will need to be revisited during a successful digital transformation.
While most digital transformations will include some form of employee training, you can plan your digital transformation to limit the amount of training that needs to take place at any one time. Rather than immediately deploying a tonne of new technology that your staff are completely unfamiliar with, it’s recommended you invest in tech that closely matches their current skill set, wherever possible. By strategically planning your digital transformation, your business can start benefiting from new tech without having to immediately organize business-wide training.
In addition, most modern software and hardware is designed with the user experience firmly in mind, and often has a gentle learning curve. For example, Office 365 may be an advanced cloud productivity suite, but its user interface is designed to closely mimic the classic Office desktop apps, which have been the industry standard for decades are immediately recognizable to much of the modern workforce.
If the cloud forms part of your digital transformation strategy, then opting for tech that your workforce is already partially, or even fully familiar with enables you to capitalize on their existing skills. You can then roll out training at a pace that suits your business, and your budget.
4. Digital transformation isn’t my responsibility
Even if your company executives are enthusiastic about digital transformation, this kind of organization-wide shift requires organization-wide support.
To truly succeed, every employee needs to rethink the role and impact that technology has on their day-to-day work, and make a commitment to implementing all the changes that are put forward as part of the digital transformation strategy.
Need help convincing your staff about the real-world, tangible benefits that digital transformation has to offer your business? Check out our complete 7 step guide to implementing digital transformation.
5. Digital transformation requires a huge budget
The worldwide spending on technologies and services that enable digital transformation may be forecast to reach $2.3 trillion by 2023, but digital transformation doesn’t have to cost trillions of dollars.
Investing large amounts of money into any project doesn’t automatically guarantee that project is going to succeed, and digital transformation is no exception. Regardless of the size of your budget, investing your money wisely is key to getting the maximum return on investment.
Many modern technologies are also designed specifically to offer a positive ROI for businesses of all sizes, which means SMBs can often use exactly the same technology as the enterprise. For example, at Systems Assurance we provide a range of Office 365 subscriptions that are designed to suit all kinds of businesses, from local startups with limited budgets, right through to multinational corporations who have a tonne of money to invest in technology.
6. Our customers don’t care what technology we’re using!
When your typical customer needs to interact with a company, they expect to have a choice of platforms – whether that’s email, exchanging messages on Twitter or Facebook, or using an instant messaging solution such as Microsoft Teams. Increasingly, if a customer cannot interact with you using their preferred platform, then they’re going to interact with your competitors instead.
By introducing new technologies, or updating your existing tech as part of a digital transformation initiative, you can often give customers more ways to engage with your organization.
Supporting multiple channels is rapidly becoming one of the most effective ways to improve the customer experience, and we’ve helped countless businesses engage with their customers as part of their digital transformation strategies.
7. Digital transformation can wait
Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, so digital transformation is only going to become more complex, time-consuming and expensive the longer you wait.
While you’re delaying the inevitable, your biggest competitors may already be reaping the benefits of a successful digital transformation, putting your business at a significant competitive disadvantage.
Even if your current competitors aren’t embracing the latest tech, then your future competitors probably are! In today’s digital world, a single entrepreneur with a great idea can quickly become a disruptive startup that was founded on emerging and cutting-edge technology.
To keep up with the competition, future-proof your business against the startups of tomorrow, and save yourself time, money and effort, it’s vital that you embrace digital transformation today.
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