5 Tips to Keep Your Digital Transformation from Derailing


A digital transformation should enable and accelerate your business growth. Yet without the right approach, many technology upgrades fall short of expectations.

After all, the role of technology is to empower your people. That's why a successful digital transformation is not only about choosing technologies that employees will actually use, but also enabling users to adopt new tools or systems that will drive lasting efficiencies for the business itself.

No doubt, bringing new technologies into the fold is key to meeting modern demands. Unlocking their full potential, however, can be a challenge. Here's where understanding how to choose and implement new tools can help make digital transformations stick.

The platform ecosystem

More often than not, technology initiatives fail because they are too cumbersome or inflexible to implement. New tools or systems may come with the promise of greater collaboration and efficiency, but if they aren't easy to use and maintain, they will likely be abandoned over time.

User-friendliness should be a major factor in choosing new tech. If an app or software isn’t enabling your team to do their job, and it's not improving how they do that job, then employees will revert to the old ways.

This is where selecting technology with an "open garden" platform has its advantages. The term applies to technology platforms that are "open" to incorporating improvements, new capabilities, and innovations as they arrive. They’re also platforms that enable data to be shared and managed by a wide range of sources, leading to stronger collaboration and data-driven insights.

By comparison, "walled' or "closed garden" platforms limit users' access to pre-determined applications, functions, and data sources. These may appear easier to maintain and secure since they are protected from external influences, but are less flexible to changes and improvements over time. 

Maintaining the transformation

Since digital transformation is an ongoing process, it’s important to choose technologies that evolve with the needs and demands of your business. However, that’s only one factor of a successful digital transformation. Here are some other tips to keep in mind when introducing technologies to drive business outcomes.

1. Set the vision: Digital transformation depends on buy-in from all levels of an organization. That is doable when leaders communicate their digital transformation goals, define their metrics for success, and clarify their expectations for staff. As with any change, having a well-articulated vision goes a long way towards getting your team invested and engaged from the get-go.

2. Show the way: Having a “roadmap” for implementing your new technology is crucial to keeping the transformation on track. A roadmap should include milestones such as staff training, pilot programs, the official roll-out, and ongoing check-ins.

3. Test the waters: You can't expect your team to go digital overnight. As such, it pays to conduct pilot programs that enable your employees to “test drive” new tools in the field and provide feedback for improvement.

4. Document your journey: By defining and documenting your business processes, you’ll be better equipped to onboard employees onto a new tool or system. Moreover, you will be prepared to do the same for new talent. You may also find it helpful to create and maintain a "change backlog" that highlights the steps you've taken to introduce new technologies to your operation and the risks or stumbling blocks along the way.

5. Review your tech: Much like you conduct employee reviews to ensure expectations are being met, it's important to check in on the status of your technology to verify it is still bringing value to your operations. This is where having close communications with your technology providers can ensure you're using the latest and most efficient version of your software features, system, or piece of equipment.

Digital transformation is a journey. And like every worthwhile venture, it takes upfront planning, a solid vision, and a united approach to go the distance.

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