The digital transformation process can be difficult for companies to measure, due to the wide variety of changes that need to be made and the continual process of refining systems in order to effectively transform. If your company is in the process of, or planning for, digital transformation, it is crucial that you have the ability to understand how fast you are progressing and how much your changes are positively or negatively impacting the bottom line. While no two companies are the same in how they should measure their transformation, there are certain tell-tale signs that can signal trouble in the digital transformation process.
Pay attention to the following signs. If any of the following should occur during your process, it may be that you are off track in your digital transformation. If so, the related course corrections below can help you find success.
1. Still Using Legacy Systems Late in Transformation
Do you still rely on your company's core systems in order to perform regular, daily online tasks despite being far along in your transformation plans? Many companies decide to keep their legacy systems to save time and simply tack on new software, but this creates slowness and complications that bar true digital transformation. While legacy systems can be retained in order to use them as systems of record, using them as the system behind most processes will prevent helpful innovations. The results of a PointSource survey show that 84 percent of respondents’ organizations have disparate legacy systems that impact the speed of digital experience development.
Course Correction: Transition Off Legacy Systems
Legacy systems may not be suitable for your company’s present and future needs, but they can be leveraged for future software systems. Develop new core systems for your organization alongside your legacy systems and switch processes over when ready in order to ensure a smooth transition. Legacy systems can then be used as systems of record in order to maintain valuable data collected over the years.
2. Relying on Old Business Practices
Are you only optimizing existing business processes, instead of significantly shifting your business models to take advantage of untapped technologies or unmet customer needs? As discussed by Finance Monthly, a major aspect of successful digital transformation involves moving core business functionalities to new digital platforms. Successful digital transformation comes from both the optimization of processes, such as moving data storage to the cloud for faster access from a wide variety of platforms, as well as rethinking business models, such as Zara’s complete overhaul of how they test and sell styles in order to embrace fast fashion. While the spirit of how business was done in the past can be retained, there are modern and more effective approaches to business that positively affect time, money and employee satisfaction.
Course Correction: Create a Roadmap for Improvements
Take the necessary time to consider how you can truly rethink your business processes to suit a modern audience. While past processes may have brought success, they may not be evergreen in how they affect both audiences and your bottom line. The amount of changes that may occur deserve time, effort and thought based on large amounts of data that can help you better predict future trends and the path toward success. Once you are ready, you will need to create a detailed and realistic roadmap for your improvements. While some of these changes may take less time than others, having detailed plans concerning when and how you will implement changes over the coming years will be very useful.
3. Having No Measurable Goals
Every company should have real, measurable goals for their digital transformation to stay on track. While these may shift to accommodate new technology or new insights, goals make digital transformation effective, rather than a scattershot and vague idea of upgrading. Companies may spend a large portion of their budget and time on developing new applications and experiences that are pleasing for users, but neglect developing or adopting new systems that can accurately measure the success of their new strategies. As discussed earlier, the process of digital transformation is continuous, and long-term success is dictated by being able to accurately measure performance and adjust according to both successes and shortcomings.
Course Correction: Set Measurable Goals
Set goals concerning the amount of business processes that have been digitized, track how much faster and more efficient your company is becoming through the process and consistently survey both your workforce and your target audience to measure how much their experiences are improving thanks to your efforts. All of these goals will need to rely on strong analytics systems. Back-end systems based on modern, fast software platforms and fully integrated with front-end experiences for target audiences can help measure how the transformation journey is progressing. This includes pulling accurate, measurable data from users without experiencing complications caused by improper integration, such as system slowdown or inaccurate data. By measuring achievements against plans, companies can prevent future re-working of plans, technical debt or the need to introduce new software in order to compensate for unmet goals.
4. Not Integrating Across Platforms
A major aspect of many digital transformation strategies is connecting front-end with back-end systems, which will also integrate all types of experiences, such as desktop and mobile devices. If you are not integrating these aspects of your company’s online presence, you will miss out on some of the true benefits of digital transformation and be stuck with many of the same obstacles present before you underwent change. According to a Network World survey, only 51 percent of respondents stated that their organization addresses specific user needs across all platforms, pointing out a common weak point in unifying cross-channel digital experiences for many organizations.
Course Correction: Build on a Single Platform
Building on a platform that connects your processes as well as your various digital presences can create true, beneficial omnichannel experiences. The complete integration of front-end and back-end systems can result in large amounts of usable data that can be used to make informed future decisions regarding audience experiences and marketing.
5. Not Continuously Improving
If you think that digital transformation has an endpoint that will mean you no longer need to innovate, then you are not taking full advantage of this process. While there are certain aspects of digital transformation that can be completed, such as the implementation of new platforms and the digitization of various processes, digital transformation should not have a foreseeable end. The data and insights that come from customer engagement and digital integration after digital transformation provide a wealth of information that shows how to consistently improve. These improvements can include both major overhauls to business operations and minor tweaks to customer experiences, such a website redesigns and new online processes. If the continuous nature of digital transformation is not an aspect of your strategy, know that you are not alone. According to an MIT Sloan Management Review survey, only 38% of respondents said that their company’s CEO had digital transformation as a permanent fixture on their agenda for the company.
Course Correction: Make the Most of Analytics
How will you know that you are evolving correctly and in the right direction for your unique business? Put strong analytics tools in place and use these measurements to experiment and optimize for continuous, long-term improvements for your company. Use your analytics tools to measure how your workforce is becoming more efficient in time spent per project. Gauge where your target audience’s interests lie by seeing how often they convert while shopping and what marketing efforts create the best responses to refine your product and service offerings. Look at complications that arise and what unnecessary steps can be eliminated to better understand how business processes can be refined for less money and time lost per day.
What Can Digital Transformation Do for You?
While every company has its reasons for digitally transforming, the major benefits of digital transformation can be felt in similar ways, no matter the industry. From effective uses of analytics to platform integration that creates great online experiences, digital transformation evolves companies in the ways they need. Successful digital transformation that encourages continued growth will have long-term benefits and can begin by choosing the right platform, which will provide the tools and capabilities needed to prevent or correct the complications discussed here.