A recent study by Accenture shows that 42% of businesses consider digitally enabled new market entrants as their main competitive threats. And, they’re right.  According to Michael Porter from the Harvard Business Review, new technologies change the nature of competition by changing industry structure. In other words, new tech changes the rules of the competition. If you can’t adapt to new rules, you’re no longer in the competition. Adaption, therefore, is the keyword. You must be able to adapt to change. When tech changes, so must you. In this article, we discuss how to create a digital transformation strategy as you seek to future-proof your business. 

The Key Elements of a Future-Ready Business

Before we begin building a digital transformation strategy, it’s important that you understand what constitutes a future-ready business. Five things characterize a successful, digital-first business;

  • Service availability: Ask yourself what is the place where you contact your clients. How accessible is it? How user-friendly and comprehensive? In the conditions of growing mobility and competition within the industry, all your interfaces should be up-to-date, intuitively clear and accessible from any device and at any time. This is perhaps the most critical element of any successful business. Every step of your self-presentation should be built with customers in mind. 
  • Mobile optimization: The world has gone mobile. Although laptops and PCs are still used for certain activities, both workers and consumers now spend most of their time on mobile devices.
  • Cloud computing: If you’re serious about building a future-ready business, cloud computing should be at the heart of your transformation.
  • Digital marketing: Up to 70% of marketing now happens online. To this end, your digital transformation strategy should be built with digital marketing in mind.   
  • Data analytics: Finally, your digital marketing strategy must also be built with big data in mind. We’re entering an era of connected devices, also known as the internet of things (IoT). Your strategy must allow you to collect data and analyze it to improve your business continually.

Building a Digital Transformation Strategy, Step-By-Step

 Now that we understand what a digital-first business looks like, it’s time to build a strategy to guide us there. Here’s how to proceed;

  • Create a vision 

The very first step is to visualize your end goal. What do you want to achieve with the transformation? We already mentioned some of the top features of a digital-first business. However, here, you need to get into the details. 

You’ll likely come across experts with a different view, especially those that believe you should start by assessing your problems. Although it has value, this approach is flawed because it’s only likely to address the challenges you’re facing rather than set you on the path to a successful future. So, first, think about what you want to accomplish. 

The vision must be realistic. Don’t go for fantasies. Instead, build your vision based on short-term objectives and resources available to your business right now. The best visions are discussed and agreed upon by all stakeholders. 

  • Design the transformation 

Now that you understand where you want to go, it’s time to map out the pathway to that destination. What are the steps you’ll take to reach your goals?

User experience is a key part of this step. In any case, the goal of any business is to meet customer needs. Therefore, take some time to think about how to make the consumer happy and satisfied throughout. 

Additionally, assess the market and think about what you can do differently. This, essentially, means analyzing your competition to understand what you’re up against. Not long ago, the largest yellow cab company in NY went bankrupt because of competition from Uber. You don’t want to go that route. Performing a deep market analysis will help you discover future trends in your market so that you don’t invest in technologies that will quickly be overtaken by newer technologies. 

  • Assess your current standing

So, now you know where you want to go and how to get there, the next step is to find out what you already have and what you’re missing.

The reason this step is crucial is that you don’t want to purchase items that you already have. For example, if you have apps that work well, then there is no need to develop a new set of apps. All you have to do is properly maintain the apps you have. The same applies to software and hardware. Those that are in great condition should, by all means, form part of your new-look business.

At the same time, the evaluation will help you identify areas where improvement is necessary. You’ll also identify gaps to be filled. This way, you can prioritize your efforts and investments in the best possible way.  

  • Assemble the requirements

Requirements here don’t just mean technology. It covers every resource identified as necessary to the successful implementation of your digital transformation, including human resources and the budget. 

For tools and technologies, a very important factor is finding the right vendor. Many vendors offering similar technologies out there. Pick a company that not only provides the right technology but also avails itself for after-sale support. If you run into problems during set-up or even after, you should be able to get assistance from the vendor. Thankfully, some vendors are even open to sending technicians to clients’ premises to offer in-person assistance.

When it comes to human resources, the most important thing is to assemble a motivated digital transformation team to spearhead the change process. If you can’t find the right talent for this job within the organization, don’t hesitate to find an external transformation partner that understands your objectives and can deliver your expectations. 

  • Implement the transformation 

The final piece of the puzzle is the actual implementation. As mentioned in the last step, motivation and expertise are vital here. You want the transformation run by change-resistant individuals or the team headed by persons who’ve never overseen a transformation before. 

More importantly, you’ll need an implementation timeline that clearly defines deliverables. To prevent loss of morale, especially at the early stages, add quick wins throughout the implementation period to boost everyone involved. 

Now, Your Turn!

If you can follow all the five steps in this guide as provided, rest assured of a smooth, enjoyable digital transformation. Based on our experience, we have to stress that to achieve a flawless result, you have to combine a clever strategy with a mature development process. Competent technical team is an essential part of the digital transformation process. In case you still don’t have one, we are happy to assist. Contact us, and we can bring you one step ahead of the rest of your industry.