Viewing digital transformation as an evolving effort
Digital transformation is an organisational change that is pushed forward by technology. However, it is not just a technical change, it is a change in approach. Digital transformation is an approach that focuses on a comprehensive, continuous delivery of results and not on piecemeal changes. It is an evolving effort and, in fact, many experts and critics agree that digital evolution is the appropriate approach for incorporating technological advances.
Digital transformation is sometimes considered to be rather unspecific. It is almost impossible to plan every step of a digital transformation effort. Although the final goals must be outlined at the beginning, the steps needed to achieve the goals may need to be modified at various stages. Customers, vendors, and business landscape may all change over time and an organisation’s digital transformation plan must be flexible enough to accommodate all such changes. Building a strong strategy and putting in the effort to develop a plan that has long-term value has a higher chance of success. Technology is constantly changing but a sound strategy endures and lasts.
Here is a look at a few scenarios that may crop up along the way
- An organisation on the path of digital transformation must have room to change plans. In the tech world, it is quite common for technologies to become obsolete over time and in such cases, an organisation must be ready to make incremental changes while staying sincere to the final goal. In fact, technology is expected to change even faster. Assumptions and paths that looked perfect at the beginning of a transformation drive may not hold water along the way.
- Digital transformation can happen only when the employees involved in various processes are actively involved in the digital transformation drive. Management must understand that employees are usually more aware of challenges and ground realities while working with various applications and resources and their opinions must be valued for success. Ignoring their first-hand knowledge would be unwise. These bits of knowledge may turn up only after the transformation drive begins and might require the planners to make changes when necessary.
- On the other hand, not every tool or platform can accommodate continuous modifications. In such cases, an organisation may need to look for platforms that are more change-friendly.
- Budgets must be open to some adjustment as well. At the end of the day, almost everything boils down to cost. A digital transformation drive naturally disrupts a normal budget and every project is tagged with a certain cost. However, for an evolving effort, there must be some leeway for fluctuating costs. One way to manage this is to make ‘improvement costs’ a recurring item in every budget.
- Digital technology makes it possible to edit content until the last minute. Similarly, business applications should be planned and built in such a way that changes are possible at various stages of development. It is far more prudent to incorporate changes along the path of development instead of having to start at the beginning once again.
Benefits of deploying digital transformation as an evolutionary effort
- An evolving effort involves making changes gradually and that reduces the risk for the functioning of the organisation.
- Focusing on developments and current problems reduces costs. Organisations can avoid making large investments upfront when the transformation is an evolving effort. Resources can be better managed.
- Making small transformational changes is more effective since it does not require time and effort to develop and implement a whole new idea.
- Short-term and smaller-scale goals are easier to achieve and changes are easier to implement.
- Gradual changes allow the organisation to better understand the impact of technology on performance and results. An effort to transform the organisation fast and on a large scale can have negative results that are difficult to undo.
Considering all the factors, it appears that viewing digital transformation as an evolving effort helps an organisation make meaningful changes while taking into account all the existing systems and processes. The scale of digital transformation is likely to only grow with time. Capabilities of technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and intelligent automation (IA) will continue to increase and that means possibilities and challenges for organisations are going to increase too.
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