What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is a phrase that has become increasingly common in the modern business world. But what exactly does it mean? Is it something that all organisations need to embrace? And what does it mean for employees?

Digital transformation will look different to each individual organisation but essentially will always involve a substantial cultural and technological shift. It will tend to focus on the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business in order to meet customer demands and deliver value.

It will routinely involve abandoning traditional and long-standing processes in favour of fairly new ones, some of which may still be being defined.

The truth is that rapid technological advances and adoption of new tech mean that all organisations will need to embrace digital transformation or they will be left behind by the competition and ultimately won’t survive. Merging technology with strategy is something that companies must do in order to succeed. Consumers now expect joined-up digital experiences and with the meteoric rise of online shopping, they have even more choice available. This means that businesses need to focus on developing a USP. And becoming experts in digital can certainly help.

It is anticipated that spending on digital transformation (DX) will reach almost $2 trillion worldwide by the end of the decade.

CIOs should focus on securing organisation-wide support to get digital transformation right first time – they may not get another shot at it.

There are many reasons why business leaders should consider digital transformation, including maintaining competitiveness, boosting profit, increasing efficiency, and meeting customer expectations.

Digital transformation framework

Although there is no one size fits all strategy, there are a number of well-known frameworks that business technology leaders should consider. The main elements usually cited are:

– Digital technology integration
– Culture and leadership
– Customer experience
– Operational agility
– Workforce enablement

CIOs should look for shared themes when looking to develop their own strategy.

Culture and digital transformation

In recent years CEOs have started asking CIOs to focus on how to generate more revenue rather than how to save money. Employees throughout the organisation now need to change how they see the role of IT and embrace the changes that digitisation brings. Implementing and adapting to the significant changes that accompany digital transformation is something with which all employees need to be involved and helping employees to deal with this change is a vital part of any digital transformation strategy.

Driving digital transformation

Technology is, of course, a major element of digital transformation but often, rather than being about adopting new technology, it is more focused on getting rid of outdated processes and legacy systems. The existence of legacy technology can actually prove a stumbling block to successful digital transformation. Improving agility and efficiency must be key objectives for CIOs.

Digital transformation is a huge undertaking, especially for larger, established organisations. But when done well, it will produce a business that is aligned with customer demands and prepared for the fast-moving digital future.

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