Three Hurdles to Digital Transformation
3 Min Read

Three Hurdles to Digital Transformation

Three hurdles businesses must address in a digital transformation strategy.

Liferay Symposium North America is more than just a chance to study Liferay features and support, it’s also a space to explore the current challenges facing digital businesses. But what does digital transformation really mean? To prepare for this year’s event, it’s important to understand what digital transformation looks like, and what prevents many companies from achieving real transformation.

Liferay Symposium North America is equal parts instruction and invitation. This year’s theme, “Discover what real transformation can do,” is a challenge for attendees to consider how and why cultural and operational change is so important today. We invite you to discover, alongside the Liferay community, how real transformation can be effective and valuable for your business.

What Is Real Transformation?

According to analysts at Forrester’s Digital Transformation summit, “business transformation is digital transformation.” In other words, real transformation means transformation across the entire enterprise; it’s not enough to just keep adding digital front-end experiences. By coupling digital experiences with deep operational change, a total transformation makes it possible for companies to better serve customers and accelerate innovation. In a recent webinar, Liferay CEO Bryan Cheung discussed this transformation in his own words. He presented three main problems that companies must address in order to see success.

1. Lack of Urgency

It’s obvious that technology is changing quickly, but Cheung believes that this rate of change will continue to increase exponentially. As the pace of technological disruption increases exponentially, businesses must recognize this urgency and transform operating and revenue models in order to remain competitive; they must prepare to move faster. To do this companies must reframe the competition and recognize that the playing field is less segmented than in years past. For example, PayPal is not just in competition with Venmo, it must compete with Facebook Messenger now, too.

However, recognizing this urgency can also be a tool. The reality of a competitive climate can empower companies to take risks and make changes they otherwise would not. Today, one of the largest barriers to digital transformation is competing for priorities with other departments. Businesses must recognize this urgency and overcome departmental differences, for immediate and future benefit.

2. Failure to Value the Customer

Even though conventional wisdom reminds us that “the customer is always right,” this does not mean the customer is always valued. Cheung points to his own experience with a major airline as an example. Despite being a frequent flyer with nearly one million miles to his credit, the system still doesn’t recognize that Cheung lives in Los Angeles. When he books a return flight to LA, he is offered a coupon for a rental car, for which he has no need. But having one wrong choice is as impersonal as having too many right choices. When banking online, Cheung explains that he has seven options to transfer money, but no context for what tool is most appropriate for what task. Too many options make the process more complicated and less convenient.

The issue with these products is that they lack an indication that the company really knows him; the service isn’t personalized. Companies that recognize and engage customers on a very personal level stand the best chance to increase customer loyalty. To respond, companies must support a culture that can respond to failure and quickly improve. Companies must invest in knowing the customer, using this knowledge to serve and delight the customer’s needs.

3. Inability to Change Business Culture

With so much emphasis on efficiency, it can be problematic when a business prioritizes process over people. In order for a culture to innovate and adapt, it must support a fast-paced and agile work environment, with some permission to deviate from the rules.

But culture can be very hard to change. To start, it’s useful to isolate small projects and test accordingly to prove results—before tackling the next small project. At the Forrester summit, executives at Gap discussed their real attention to speed, by only allowing only 48 hours to make business decisions. This forced them to embrace a “learn fast, fail fast” mentality, without getting restrained by indecision and inaction. According to Mary Ransom, the Global Vice President of Ecommerce at Bloomingdales, “Data should have the loudest voice in the room.” Using data to set goals and review success is an authority that can make this kind of transformation easier.

Make Real Transformation Happen

Disruptions across every channel of business will continue to impact digital businesses in a significant way. Forrester predicts digital transformation will separate the leaders from the laggards in even just the next few years. In essence, transformation happens when digital business leaders change business culture to match customer expectations. To prepare for this change, and to equip your company with the necessary tools and practices, attend Liferay Symposium North America to learn more!

Liferay Symposium North America 2017 will be held in Austin, from October 16–17. Register now, or learn more to convince your boss.

Originally published
June 4, 2017
 last updated
December 17, 2021
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