A poll conducted by Gartner in 2023 revealed that 87% of C-suite executives had digital transformation as a major concern. This has been clearly evident, with many businesses in different sectors attempting to revolutionize their strategies and operations by incorporating advanced technology into most aspects of their operations.
It is impossible to overstate the advantages of digital transformation. It is revolutionising the way businesses operate, providing benefits including increased profitability, streamlined processes and improved efficiency.
Despite the advantages of digital transformation, it is important to recognise that the process can be lengthy and difficult, with potential roadblocks along the way. To support those responsible for this transformation, I have compiled a list of the six most common issues and provided recommendations for overcoming them.
1. Insufficient buy-in from relevant parties
It is essential to have a clear understanding of the reasons behind a digital transformation in order to ensure its success. As there will often be conflicting opinions from employees, executive colleagues, customers and other stakeholders about what should be prioritized and focused on, it is likely that there will be disputes over which approaches to take.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to gain buy-in from employees in order to ensure the success of the project. It is important to communicate the importance and urgency of digital transformation from the start. Present facts to demonstrate the need for change, outlining both the issues that need to be addressed and the benefits this transformation will bring to the organization. If you are working with individuals who are not computer literate, explain the concept in simple language.
Assuring a successful digital transition requires widespread support.
2. Negative Return on Investment (ROI)
Many businesses rely on rapid growth; however, it can take longer than anticipated for a return on investment to be seen. In some cases, it may take several years before any tangible progress can be observed.
It is important to consider the various elements that are required for a successful large-scale innovation, and to bear in mind that results may not be immediate. There is no simple solution to this, and so it is essential to be realistic in setting expectations from the outset and to be open and honest with stakeholders about when tangible outcomes may be expected.
3. Disruption of Company Procedures
The shift to the digital era does not happen in isolation. Every element of the company will be affected, and not all staff will be content with the alterations that will be implemented. In order to ensure its success, it will be necessary to commit resources – this could mean reducing other ventures.
The morale of the staff and the efficiency of the business could potentially be impacted by this disruption. It is important to demonstrate to your team why these changes are necessary to ensure that the outcomes are beneficial. To achieve this, it is essential to set priorities and identify which tools and procedures should be addressed first.
In order to ensure a successful outcome, it is necessary to demonstrate thoughtfulness and consideration. Bear in mind that sudden alterations can be unsettling for individuals, so it is important to provide them with the opportunity to share their views and be heard through feedback channels.
4. Unrealistic Expectations
The digital revolution can bring significant benefits to your business. However, the issue may not yet be fully resolved. Establishing clear, achievable objectives can help to focus your efforts more effectively. Work with your IT team and other stakeholders to identify these goals and criteria, taking into account not only your requirements but also the data available and any deadlines that may apply.
It is essential to gain insights from employees too. Their practical knowledge and expertise can be invaluable in determining the most important objectives and the best way to achieve them collectively.
5. Obstacles in Expressing Oneself
Effective communication is essential to ensuring successful planning and avoiding potential issues. To ensure the best possible outcome, it is important to maintain regular contact with everyone involved in the project.
Maintaining communication is essential for successful project management, and there are a range of strategies available to ensure this. Utilising software to track progress is one option, as well as establishing protocols for when and how communication should take place (e.g. weekly or daily updates). Slack can also be used for less formal conversations. It is important to ensure that the specifics of communication are agreed upon as soon as possible.
It is widely accepted that digital transformation can be costly, and the financial implications can add up quickly. Ultimately, the investment is expected to generate a return that exceeds the original expenditure. However, it is important to note that this process can be lengthy, and it is not always possible to have the resources available to undertake a full digital overhaul.
It is important to note that money cannot be created out of nothing; therefore, it is essential to manage the costs of digital transformation in order to realise the benefits. The initial step should entail gaining a precise understanding of the requirements and associated costs. Fortunately, there is a range of software available at a low cost which can be used to calculate the total cost of the project and prioritise spending.
Outsourcing some or all of the work may be a beneficial option, as it is typically more cost effective than recruiting full-time specialists to aid with the transition. Nearshore or offshore development is often cheaper than that of onshore businesses, and the quality of the work is usually comparable or even of a higher standard. Since this is usually temporary staffing, you will only need to pay for the hours worked rather than the salary and benefits of a full-time employee.
By taking a systematic and evidence-driven approach to digital transformation, organisations can enjoy the benefits of technological change while overcoming the associated challenges. Being adequately prepared for the transition is key to successfully navigating the process.