What are the signals to look for that show our company is ready for digital transformation?

There are a number of signals that let you know when it’s time for your company to consider a digital transformation process.

First, look at what your customers are experiencing. When your customers aren’t experiencing a smooth and seamless positive relationship with your company that keeps them going and growing, that’s a good barometer of what’s happening for your long-term business sustainability.

Second, similarly, when your workflows are clunky or cumbersome, if your users and employees aren’t quite connecting, if you have silos within your company, if communication is stunted or stagnant, it’s time to evaluate the investment in a digital transformation initiative.

Third, look at what’s happening in your industry. This isn’t about competition in the way you might think; you want to be aware of what’s happening in the industry because that’s what your current and future customers are seeing. They’re out there looking in the marketplace; what are they experiencing? And how does your company, your brand promise, your messaging stack up?

Here are some other signs it’s time to consider initiating a digital transformation journey:

– Is your industry or marketplace having different conversations than what you’re addressing?

– Is technology moving your industry forward and your company has not gotten there yet?

– Are your customers, users, employees, partners, and stakeholders having a smooth, seamless, tech-invisible experience with your company at all touchpoints?

– Is there anything in your social media channels or online reviews that says, “Hey, you could be doing this better,” or “we were looking for this?”

– Do you hold exit interviews with potential customers who became an “opportunity lost?” If yes, how responsive is your company with the reason they tell you why they didn’t choose to work with your company?

– Do you have exit interviews with employees who share negative feedback about their experience and then take action on their recommendations?

– Do your salespeople regularly debrief on what they’re hearing from their current and future customers?

The bottom line is so deceptively simple: just ask. Call and talk to current customers, current partners, current vendors, and just ask, “Hey, what’s your experience with us? Is there anything that you see that we could be doing better?”

There are so many different ways to trigger a digital transformation process. You can also choose to work with a vendor who is savvy in what a digital transformation process means, for example, XTIVIA. (You knew I was going to go there, right?)

XTIVIA does organizational and technical assessments, digital brand analysis, and data strategy consultation. We can help you understand what’s happening in terms of your data, your IT environment, your productivity, your customer and employee experience, and more. XTIVIA works with some of the biggest names in business in different industries and verticals, of all sizes and in different life cycles. Sometimes companies don’t know their data is choppy or don’t realize they don’t have a unified view of their customer, or maybe they’ve never really thought about having a data strategy or setting up a data governance committee, or how to handle business process management. Essentially, anything that slows or stalls the progress or viability of your company’s success — today and long-term — is a trigger to consider digital transformation.

What will the change process look like?

In the beginning, chaos. It will take a learning curve. You will encounter unexpected barriers and problems that need solving. Digital transformation implies that it’s about technology, and technology is a beautiful thing. It does amazing stuff, but the reality is that it’s powered by people. There is a very symbiotic relationship there. If people aren’t on board with the change, you’ve got to look at what’s going on — where’s the resistance? What do people need? Is it about awareness? Do they need the bigger picture or to expand their thinking or be reassured they will have job security?

Visionary leadership is also a huge factor in that leaders need to get out in the field and see what’s going on: talk to people, go to events, read magazines and articles, watch videos, or listen to podcasts. The CEO typically holds the mandate for initiating a digital transformation process, and then the CIOs or CTOs are charged with making it work operationally, and the CMOs are charged with creating the strategy that puts results in motion.

We have begun the digital transformation journey at our company. Any suggestions for helping adoption?

There are many different ways to support digital transformation throughout your company. One way that is actually overlooked surprisingly often by companies is to have a strategic action plan about it. You want to have a plan of how you’re going to approach rolling out information, who your internal champions are, what the process will be in terms of various business units or teams, what meetings will be needed, what fears or resistance will likely need to be addressed and more. So it’s a “communicate, communicate, communicate” thing. You want to communicate it in writing, through videos, in personal meetings, via your intranet. Wherever and however you can, you want to communicate what’s happening and what’s going to happen next.

Give people access to information because, in the absence of information, people will make up stories. They’re going to just make stuff up, and then pass it on, which means you’ll need to do damage control after the fact. It’s far better to be proactive with your communication. So have a kickoff, hold employee meetings, encourage an open door policy, proactively check in with people to see how things are going.

Know that, sometimes, people get so committed to doing a good job the way they’ve always done it that they are afraid to change because they don’t know what the value will be of their new role or what the next thing means for their job security. When people don’t have access to the bigger picture, they’re going to keep doing what they know works as opposed to trying something new.

To the degree there is a reaction is to the degree where a shift is occurring and where information needs to be shared. Continuously and proactively communicating and listening are the two best ways to facilitate digital transformation.

Does it matter if my company is B2B or B2C to start a digital transformation?

Such a good question. Actually it does not because any business exists to serve customers, and the way that customers are served is through employees and partners. Whichever type of business structure or business model you have, it is, ultimately, about serving and delivering value. A digital transformation process is really about how to deliver greater value to your customers and maybe their customers too.

So, whatever you offer, whatever you’re selling, whatever industry, however old your company is, wherever your company is in its lifecycle, it doesn’t matter if the company has been in business for a couple of years or 50 years. If you commit to up-leveling through a digital transformation process, it’s the best way to create new opportunities and reinforce existing relationships. It’s not always just about attracting new relationships. It is, but it really is about initiating a process that makes it even easier for you to deliver greater value.

Want to talk about the potential for digital transformation in your company? I’d love to! It’s no-obligation – just an honest conversation about what you might be considering and where you can get started. Please connect with me and we’ll get some time together scheduled.

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