The Digital Transformation Journey and Why It’s Important to Your Business
Digital transformation continues to be a hot topic in organizations today but there are many definitions of what it means and why it’s important. At one end of the spectrum, “digital transformation” can be defined as simplify moving information from an analog/paper world to a digital world. Most organizations understand the benefits of doing this which include simplified information management, cost efficiencies and the ability to provide faster customer service. Digital transformation also refers to using technology to automate or update existing processes.
A dated but great example of the beginning stage of digital transformation is the evolution of directory assistance service. Centrally located directory assistance (DA) operators looked up telephone numbers in huge paper directories and provided them to callers waiting patiently on the phone. Eventually, white page and yellow page directories were delivered “free” to your home or business so you could look up the information yourself - early customer “self-service” concept.
Now DA is digitized and accessible on the Internet but there is typically a per use charge that applies. During the digital transformation journey, organizations redefined DA service, streamlined processes, changed the DA revenue model and eliminated thousands of DA operators resulting in process efficiencies, cost savings and faster customer service.
The DA example illustrates how digital transformation in its simplest form (paper to digitized information) took decades to occur and now this same transformation could literally take just a few weeks or months to complete – businesses today must be agile and react quickly to changing customer needs and competitive pressures.
Digital transformation of course goes beyond digitizing records or streamlining processes and is now more broadly defined as the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business resulting in fundamental changes to how a business thinks, operates and delivers value to customers. Successful digital transformation does not come from implementing new technologies but from transforming your organization to take advantage of the possibilities that new technologies provide. Every business has its own structure, goals, and challenges so digital transformation will look differently for each one.
Organizations in today’s fast paced environment must maintain their business agility while continuously improving business operations, focusing on customer needs and expanding market reach. Companies that successfully take on digital transformation connect their systems, processes and people together which can reinvigorate or fundamentally change an organization’s culture. This “business transformation” that results from “digital transformation” helps organizations stay competitive and relevant in the marketplace and more aware of potential disruptors.
It’s imperative that you evaluate where your business is today in its digital transformation journey. Businesses that embrace digital transformation will be rewarded with business agility, operational excellence, and customer satisfaction.
How to Manage the Digital Transformation Journey:
Digital transformation is typically an enterprise-wide effort that can span multiple departments and business units. Therefore, it’s critical to have a digital transformation plan developed and communicated from top leadership down through the organization with measurements and controls in place to monitor progress and ensure accountability. After developing a digital transformation plan, organizations must decide who will lead their digital transformation effort and how it will be managed.
IT Service Management (ITSM) is one management approach that is widely used by IT today and it’s a proven and effective method for delivering value added services to end users. ITSM helps organizations implement new services and process improvements that are based on automation, collaboration and transparency – exactly what’s involved in moving from an analog to a digital world.
Many organizations are tasking IT to lead their digital transformation efforts, and clearly ITSM is well positioned to play a central role in managing an organization’s digital transformation journey.
As part of the digital transformation journey, organizations are investigating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ways they can leverage it to accelerate their digital transformation. AI will take digital transformation to the next level by increasing business agility, providing insights into business and customer trends, speeding up decision making and implementing smart automation. AI is a “game changer” and will be discussed in future blogs.