A well-executed digital transformation offers highly impactful benefits that extend across your organization. It can boost efficiency, increase profitability, streamline operations, enhance the customer experience, and more. Yet, despite all these gains, many organizations still hesitate. If you’re in this boat, you may be familiar with rationales like:

  • “We’ll start next year.”
  • “Wait until this project wraps.”
  • “We need more staff first.”
  • “When the budget renews, we’ll look into it.”

But here’s the catch: There will never be a convenient time to start your digital transformation.

Life’s too short to wait – start now.

It may sound a little rash and oversimplified, and maybe it is. But think about it.

Without digital transformation, your organization is probably already hurting more than necessary. And, delaying the inevitable is also a surefire way to fall even further behind, which may have catastrophic consequences to your business.

You’ve waited long enough. You’ve spent enough time carefully considering your options, what your competitors are doing, and the potential consequences of starting or delaying.

Ready or not, it’s time to go.

The good news: You don’t have to go from 0 to 100 overnight. Actually, we recommend taking it one step at a time because rushing your digital transformation is the easiest way to fail. So, depending on your available resources, you may only be able to start small. And that’s okay.

Effective, sustainable change takes careful planning, time, and investment. That’s why starting now will look different for everyone. For many, starting right now will mean taking baby steps into digital transformation. But it doesn’t matter how small your first step is as long as you’re beginning and forming plans to keep the engine moving forward.

Let’s get to work.

Here are five tips to get you from 0 to 1 on your digital transformation journey:

5 Tips for Starting Digital Transformation

1. Agree on a Vision

Digital transformation is a broad concept with many definitions and potential objectives. That’s why everyone must be on the same page. Analyze your organization’s current operations in-depth to decide what you want to achieve and define your expectations. It’s easy to go too far or not far enough if you lack a clear view of your organization’s current state. Be on the lookout for:

  • The biggest pain points and inefficiencies
  • Existing digital tools that aren’t working effectively (or tools that are working well)
  • Convoluted, manual processes
  • Areas where you may be losing out to competition
  • Threats to a smooth, enjoyable customer experience

As you examine these realities, get to the bottom of their cause and other details. Then, with your organization’s current state in mind, you can formulate your goals for digital transformation and your overall vision for how it will unfold.

2. Set Specific Goals, Small and Large

Breaking your transformation into phases makes your plan more achievable and allows you to celebrate successes and learn from failures. And being as specific as possible will make it easier to measure just how close or far away you landed from your goal. You’ll want to consider:

  • What do you want to achieve, and when?
  • How can you align your goals with your organization’s business plan, culture, and values?
  • What metrics and KPIs will you use to measure your transformation’s success?
  • Is this plan realistic, given your resources?
  • Which employees are best fit to lead each phase?

3. Lay the Groundwork for Change Management

Digital transformation isn’t just about solving your problems with technology. It’s also a people change initiative. A successful, sustainable digital transformation depends on the input and support of happy, engaged employees. The Great Resignation has shown that today’s employees have new expectations for their employers, and in many cases, thoughtfully implemented technology can help. But since humans are naturally averse to change, you must first prioritize fostering a change-positive culture. Here’s how:

  • Communicate your plan with transparency and exhaustive detail. Help staff understand why you’re pursuing digital transformation and its urgency. Lay out the losses that postponing this change is causing and give them an overview of your plan and timeline.
  • Explain how the change will affect individuals. Explain how the upcoming changes will affect each employee’s daily life. If transformation will solve a bottleneck that’s making an employee’s job harder, make that clear. Let them know that training and upskilling are in the cards and emphasize how this will positively impact them professionally.
  • Involve employees directly with a center of excellence (CoE). Assemble a team of employees from various departments that can contribute their perspectives and skills to the initiative. Your transformation will benefit from their input and ideas, and they’ll feel valued and heard.
  • Continue to communicate throughout the effort. Keep your employees updated with project updates, including your victories and failures. Encourage them to give feedback throughout the process.

4. Center Your Focus on the Customer

Improving efficiency through process optimization and saving money are common goals in digital transformation. And they’re stellar focuses to have. However, be careful. It’s easy to go too far and risk compromising the customer experience, which can be costly. But if you play your cards right, you can use digital transformation to improve the customer experience. To capture this outcome, consider implementing the following digital transformation focuses that positively impact the customer experience:

  • Add self-service tools like 24/7 chatbots, mobile apps, and portals. These options will win over the 81% of customers who prefer to seek information themselves.
  • Offer personalization opportunities using user metrics, AI, customer segmentation, and controlled APIs. Today’s customer is used to highly personalized experiences that tech giants like Amazon deliver, so any personal touches you can add will be appreciated.
  • Innovate to set yourself apart from the competition. Long-term customer satisfaction depends on you constantly upping your game.

5. Find the Right Partner for You

Digital transformation is a huge lift for any organization. That’s why 88% of businesses use third-party partners to help with at least one digital transformation component. Every digital transformation is unique from one company to the next. The right digital transformation partner will recognize this nuance and take a personalized approach. They will also invest in your organization’s success, using their experience and knowledge to help you make the right choices for you every step of the way. Here’s a checklist to help you determine if a partner is right for you:

Digital Transformation Partner Checklist: (get the full checklist here!)

☑ Has experience in defining company objectives and innovating

☑ Asks about your internal resources and can provide additional resources as needed

☑ Has experience working with multiple technology solutions

☑ Has achieved success with organizations like your own (ask for case studies)

☑ Has experience turning a vision into a strategic digital transformation roadmap

☑ Has a track record of supporting thorough change management programs

Put These Tips Into Action

Ready to put these tips into action? Learn how to launch your digital transformation journey in 7 steps.

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Here’s to New Beginnings

Remember, digital transformation is more than a one-time project. It’s a long-term commitment to streamlining your processes, eliminating manual work, and creating a better customer and employee experience. And the journey must begin today.

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.