Digital transformation is a big investment, so it’s important to ensure your changes are sustainable. Facing these high stakes, you might wonder, am I making the right moves?

In our 35 years of helping organizations crush their digital transformation goals, we’ve identified the skills and assets necessary for success, and today, we’re sharing them with you.

6 “Secrets” to Sustain Your Digital Transformation

1. Effective Processes

Before making any changes, you must closely examine your existing processes and systems. Getting to the bottom of what makes your current situation inefficient will help you find better, more sustainable solutions. Gather and analyze relevant quantitative and qualitative data. This data will give you a clear picture of what’s working and what isn’t and provide a baseline to measure your transformation’s success later.

You can get quantitative data through data mining tools like ABBYY Timeline to capture real-time insights into your current processes. Data mining tools also suggest specific opportunities to improve your processes to maximize your transformation. On the qualitative side, check in with your employees who regularly interact with your solutions and processes.


  • What drains most of your time?
  • What is currently working, and what isn’t?
  • How can we improve this process?

2. Customer-Centric Design Thinking

Your services and products alone aren’t enough to wow your customers anymore. Today, customers demand the best end-to-end experience and will abandon you if it’s just a “run-of-the-mill” experience. That’s where design thinking comes in. Design thinking in digital transformation aims to enhance the customer experience by adding disruptive technology to your business practices and processes.

Key steps to boost your digital transformation using design thinking include:

  • Empathize with your customers. Assess their needs, motivations, and friction points based on how they interact with your services or products. Define the top issues to address. Remember, digital transformation isn’t just about solving your company’s problems. It’s also about solving your customers’ problems.
  • Generate solutions to your customers’ top pain points. Unite the team to develop innovative and practical ideas quickly and efficiently. You may consider opportunities to add personalization, self-service portals, 24/7 chatbots, mobile apps, and other features.
  • Prototype, test, and fine-tune your ideas. It’s time to test and validate your ideas. Many organizations also collect customer feedback and use these insights and other relevant data to see what’s working and make improvements.

3. Diverse Tech Talent

64% of managers don’t think their employees will be able to keep up with future skill needs, according to Gartner. That’s a huge problem. You need a strong team with diverse expertise and skill sets to make your digital transformation vision a reality and to sustain it long-term. If you get the people side of transformation right, you will enable a culture of innovation and cultivate the right talent and skills to maximize your technology investments.

Here are some strategies to close your skill gap:

  • Identify and Prioritize Gaps: For starters, you’ll need to prioritize and address the skill gaps within your organization.
  • Reskill, Upskill, and Hire: You can fill some gaps, like solution owners, by reskilling or upskilling current employees. Other more specialized gaps, like data scientists, may require new hires or outsourcing. Or you may pursue partnerships like managed services to help fill in (even if it’s only needed temporarily).
  • Enable Collaboration: Empower your employees to work together to tackle problems. Collaboration can increase employee satisfaction, help remote employees feel more connected, and encourage innovation. As you’re planning your digital transformation strategy, it’s wise to continually look for opportunities to support collaboration. Some examples may include:
    • Moving to the cloud to allow staff to simultaneously interact with and share data
    • Implementing a silo-busting enterprise solution
    • Automating your front and back office with RPA to enable the free flow of data across the organization
    • Adding collaboration tools that allow employees to chat, share, and co-edit spreadsheets, documents, and presentations in real-time

4. Data Literacy

Data is a gold mine that you can use to continually improve your digital transformation efforts over time. Unfortunately, its full potential is still untapped in most organizations. We have access to more data from digital interactions with customers than ever before. The ability to mine this and other data for business insights is a key competitive differentiator. But it’s hard to make the most of it when data literacy is lacking across your organization. Interestingly, research shows that:

  • 75% of C-suite executives believe that all or most of their employees can work with data proficiently.
  • Yet only 21% of employees across various roles are confident in their data literacy skills.

It’s time to close the data literacy gap.

Building a pool of data-savvy talent is key to overcoming this hurdle, as discussed in capability #3. Here are a few steps to consider as you plan your organization’s data literacy strategy:

  1. Define your data goals. What do you want your data to do? What kind of value do you want it to deliver?
  2. Build your data roadmap. Evaluate your employees’ current data literacy and skills and determine what investments you need to get them up to speed, given their roles.
  3. Put your data literacy training into action. With the proper education, your employees will gain the confidence to assess insights and ask the right questions. It’ll take time, but it’s worth it, as employees who identify as data-literate are at least 50% more likely than their data-novice peers to report feeling empowered and trusted to make better decisions.

5. Agile Mindset

Everyone wants their digital transformation to be sustainable, to future-proof their organization, and to promote innovation across their workforce.

The secret to achieving all three of these vital goals: an agile mindset.

An agile mindset enables teams to adapt quickly to unexpected circumstances and shifting goalposts. These skills will be extremely valuable as you develop and roll out your digital transformation.

Here are a few advantages that an agile mindset will bring your digital transformation:

  • Flexibility: Changes, like unexpected problems and new needs, are bound to happen. That’s why the flexibility the agile mindset brings is so valuable. The agile process not only accepts change but expects it. If employees find a new solution that better solves a problem at hand, the agile mindset encourages them to test it out and pivot.
  • Continuous improvement: The agile approach allows employees to learn, collaborate, and regularly assess what’s working and what could be better. As a result, your team constantly seeks new information and ideas and can apply them to benefit your organization.
  • Mitigate risk: Agile employees complete daily updates and regular testing along with constant communication and collaboration, all of which create a proactive approach. As a result, potential issues are identified and addressed early on, which significantly reduces risk.
  • Higher quality of work: Since the agile mindset requires testing and optimization from the start, you’ll see issues a mile away and can tackle them promptly. Plus, the agile mindset encourages teams to be innovative, which often leads to high-quality, creative solutions to problems.
  • Happier employees: A high team morale relies on encouraging self-management, creativity, collaboration, and constant learning. The agile mindset embraces all these pursuits, making it an effective way to foster an enjoyable, fulfilling work environment.

6. Choose the Right Technologies

If you choose the wrong technology, your digital transformation will not make it, much less be sustainable. While shiny new technology can’t fuel a successful transformation alone, selecting the right tools for your goals is vital. But with all the possibilities for technological solutions and features to choose from, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. There’s no “one size fits all” solution for every organization, but to get you started, here are some popular technologies that power digital transformation:

Get Equipped for Long-Term Success

There are many moving parts in digital transformation, but with the right approach, skills, and tools, you can enact sustainable change across your organization.

Digital Transformation: The Ultimate Guide
Digital Transformation: The Ultimate Guide

Get everything you need to know about digital transformation in one place, including expert tips and 5 steps you can take to start your journey now.

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About Kara

As a Naviant Content Writer since 2019, Kara is passionate about helping organizations unleash the power of technology to solve their business challenges. In her weekly articles, Kara breaks down the latest research, trends, and tips in the digital transformation world, specializing in intelligent automation, the cloud, AP & HR automation, artificial intelligence, change management, and more. She is also a Copywriter for the American Marketing Association-Madison, where she contributes bimonthly articles that interview industry experts and highlight the latest marketing trends. When she’s not writing, Kara is working on her latest art project, scoping out new music, or out for a run.