The human pursuit to innovate is relentless. The ability for us to continuously ask the question, “Is there to be a better way to do that?” is one of our greatest traits as a race.
In almost all situations when we ask this question today, technology is a core part of the answer. John Cryan, CEO of one of the largest banks in Germany, Deutsche Bank, answered this question by saying, “We’re too manual, which can make you error-prone and it makes you inefficient. There’s a lot of machine learning and mechanization that we can do.”
You, as you’re reading this blog, have probably heard a similar statement from your organization’s leadership.
“Let’s use technology to do things more efficiently, cheaper, faster and give our customers what they want, when they want it. Go make it happen.”
As your heart rate slows back down from that whirlwind drive-by, you stare out your window, gaze upwards toward the blue sky, squinting your eyes to see past the stars that line the Milky Way, for clearly, the answer is out there just past Alpha Centuri. Let me help you. The answer is 42.
Stargazing aside, it is an enormous ask. You’ll find yourself asking: “Where do I start? Where do I find the time when I’m busy keeping the business running as it is?”
Why is digital transformation like a new workout routine?
Let me start by saying that the process is a journey. I liken it to starting a new health and fitness routine. It involves slow and steady progress and strong support from others inside your department and your extended organization, who are interactive and invested, like you, in making a change for the better.
I recommend you approach the change to digital transformation through the following four guidelines.
- Just start
- Automate, automate, automate
- Plan to change in stages
- Change can be difficult: Brace yourself
#1 Just start
With the fast pace of today’s transformative solutions, we can often find ourselves in a state of unknown. We may need to make decisions to move forward without concrete answers to simple questions like: What to expect? How will this work? How will it affect my team?
With leaders in agile solutions flooding the market, such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, the pace of change has become continuous and quick. We’re left being asked to make decisions while there may be potential unknown outcomes. Our recommendation is to ‘just start.’ Certainly, the technology is going to continue to evolve. In order to keep up and maintain relevance in your business, use an experienced partner for your digital transformation efforts, and take advantage of the opportunity that awaits.
#2 Automate, automate, automate
Conduct a purge and eliminate the clutter. Throw out that dusty box that has been in the basement since you moved in. Take a look at your existing processes and technology. This is the foundational core that will enable your organization’s digital transformation.
- Identify and eliminate legacy software that was developed years ago and is still a vital part of your IT. Legacy software is costly to maintain, unable to interface with modern systems and will slow down the innovation process.
- Identify repetitive tasks and manual processes handled by email, countless individual spreadsheets and silos of data. Replace them with an efficient enterprise, integrated, automation and workflow platform that will increase responsiveness, accuracy and relevance.
- Identify your corporate IT applications, assets, systems and their configurations to create a business-level, contextual single source of record for your organization to use.
- Embrace new methods to deliver and automate IT services through Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and cloud technologies.
#3 Plan your change in stages
Transformational change doesn’t happen all at once. As you endeavour through this process, make it more manageable by breaking it down into stages. This will give you the opportunity to evaluate how each piece of the project contributes to the business and ensure its success. Knowing the business value of each affected area will ensure that you have organizational support throughout the digital transformation. Our six-step methodology for transformation clearly outlines what to expect throughout each stage of the transformation. This sets expectations and assists everyone involved in understanding the outcomes, and what’s to come next.
#4 Change can be difficult: Brace yourself
Humans are creatures of habit. Most of us find comfort in predictability. Change can be difficult. While undertaking a digital transformation process, it is important to understand the impact that change has on the individuals and teams affected. For this reason, part of our six-step methodology to digital transformation includes consulting with all stakeholders of your organization, assisting them in understanding the stages of change and checking in often in order to manage any internal resistance or troubles.
This is where understanding the business value of the change becomes helpful. You will require buy-in at all levels to assist with any challenges your teams are facing. After all the effort you put into preparing for the digital transformation, the last thing you want to see is the project abandoned before it comes to fruition due to perceived insurmountable challenges. Brace yourself, prepare your teams and push through it. Much like a new workout routine, trust the process, and the work will be worth it.
There are very few more satisfying feelings that compare to seeing something you’ve built up and running, experiencing the tangible evidence of innovation. It’s a great rush of adrenaline and satisfaction knowing you, indeed, made it happen. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy the outcome of your hard work.