Digital Transformation is Skin and Bones

To successfully become a digital enterprise, you need to be people-centric and appreciate that technology is only a part of the challenge.

From industry articles to external consulting firms and internal employees, everyone is talking about how to transition to truly BEING DIGITAL to win the race for meeting ever-changing customer expectations, especially in e-commerce and content.

Brian Dearth, Director Strategy & Growth, Republix

Digitalization, digital transformation, and digital enablement have become ubiquitous terms in the business world today. But to successfully become a DIGITAL ENTERPRISE, you need to be people-centric and appreciate that technology is only a part of the challenge.

Answer these five key questions to successfully achieve digital enablement in an enterprise of any size:

1. Are you investing in brilliant new platforms and processes, but struggling to get people to use them? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. You need buy-in from across the organization.

Digital transformation is no easy feat, and it starts with understanding the need and motivation for change. To ensure the successful adoption of new technology and business practices, it’s essential to get buy-in from everyone in the enterprise. Show them how the chosen tools will support your company’s strategy and objectives, and paint a picture of the future state vision you’re heading towards. Additionally, create an efficient technology ecosystem that’s optimized for organizational and industry-specific needs. Finally, set ambitious and bold objectives and key results (OKRs) with a set time frame to keep everyone on track. With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to successful digital transformation.

2. Did you know that onboarding is essential to ensure your teams are fully equipped to make the most of the transformation journey? It is the first missed step!

It’s not just about introducing new technology, but also about restructuring the organization and introducing new ways of working. To deliver world-class digital solutions, you’ll need to recruit the right talent and build teams that can swiftly respond to changing consumer and enterprise needs.

It’s important to make sure everyone understands the value of the new ways of working, and how it will help them achieve their business objectives. However, it’s natural for some employees to feel threatened or insecure by the changes, and even resist them. It’s essential to communicate the benefits of the new processes and platforms, and how it will help them reach their goals.

3. Do you have organizational alignment around new processes and goals? You need it!

Digital transformation has the potential to revolutionize how organizations work, breaking down departmental silos and unifying everyone under shared processes and a common roadmap. To make the most of this opportunity, it’s important to get everyone on board with the new processes and define them together. To support the accelerated pace of digital, consider adopting a lean governance model, including an agile product development approach, a new funding model, and possibly spinning out high-impact projects.

Take a multi-channel marketing campaign as an example. It’s not just the marketing team that’s involved – analytics, IT, developers, and compliance may all have key roles to play. A lean governance or operating model can help clarify who’s responsible for what in each stage of the process. It’s also important to understand the different levels of processes, approvals, and involvement across the various stakeholders. This means defining the roles of each organization, how they relate to strategic objectives, and documenting their responsibilities. This “operational alignment” is a must for successful digital enablement.

4. Are you ready to take your organization’s digital enablement to the next level? Focus on training for EVERYONE involved!

A shift in mindset is key, but upskilling the different parts of the organization is the ultimate goal. From intranet to workshops, training seminars, and ad-hoc support clinics, there are various methods to provide this training.

According to Forrester Consulting on behalf of Airtable, the average [large] organization has 367 software applications with teams using an average of 45 daily and individuals using an average of 52 weekly. This is a clear indication that digital enablement isn’t working as it should. Creating training content in multiple formats will help employees adopt and use new tools and working methods.

Be a thought leader and communicate digital best practices throughout the enterprise to establish a culture of innovation. By raising awareness of the importance of digital across all levels of the organization, you can ensure no opportunities are missed.

5. Are you looking to reduce time and cost while adopting new platforms, processes, and ways of working? A Communication Plan is key!

Remember, not all information is relevant to everyone, so be sure to avoid information overload. Identify the various stakeholders and their degree of involvement in the new platforms, and the level of detail they need to be able to use the new tools.

Planning ahead is essential for a successful program. Make an inventory of the materials you need, such as weekly newsletters, dashboards, demo videos, and any other methods for keeping everything on track. The communication program should boost efficiency and productivity throughout the digital transformation.

It’s no secret that technology is usually easy to implement, but changing culture, people, and behaviors is often the most challenging part. Since the 1970s, organizational transformation projects have had a failure rate of 60-70%. To increase your chances of success, focus on people as much as on platforms. With the right communication program, you’re on the right track!

In today’s digital world, customers expect seamless digital experiences throughout their journey with you. And BEING digital can increase productivity, consolidate your back office software or even be better at cybersecurity tools. With a plan tailored to your business, we can help with your digital transformation. And delivering on that likely requires a change in technologies, operations, and culture. But while DOING DIGITAL is important in your transformation journey, BEING DIGITAL is crucial to developing your digital presence and responding to consumer needs now and in the future.

About the author:

Brian Dearth from Republix

Brian Dearth is a digital business executive with decades of experience in digital strategy, enterprise reinvention, and digital product development. He has successfully implemented numerous digital commerce platforms including the first-ever implementation for Scholastic, served as CMO/CDO for a $1b retailer in the Powersports space, and was head of strategy and growth for the largest Systems Integrator on the Adobe Commerce Platform. He was also a principal in and helped scale Manhattan’s fastest-growing digital transformation agency in 2014 / 2015 according to INC. called Centric Digital. Brian specializes in fractional CMO work focused on Digital Marketing / Strategy / Customer Experience and offers trusted Advisory Services to help enterprises interested in Reinventing themselves with digital as the engine for growth.

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