After more than a decade of talking about digital transformation, new technologies are beginning to have an impact on business. Companies are using those technologies, like AI applications, to make processes more efficient, empower employees with better tools and data, and improve customer experiences.
And yet, many companies are still struggling to deliver the full range of benefits digital transformation promises. One reason for this is that for some companies, the digital journey has lacked a clear destination, whether they use AI solutions, RPA solutions, and even build a digital transformation strategy.
Many businesses have been simply trying to digitally transform themselves without really knowing what they want to achieve as a result.
Successful digital transformations strategies start by identifying a specific set of goals and setting out to achieve them. Here are four strategies that can help you establish the right goals and objectives for your company’s journey.
1) Align your Goals with your Strategy
Every organization has its goals. But are they aligned with your strategy?
It’s not uncommon for companies to feel the pain of misalignment. In fact, according to a Harvard Business Review article, only 8 percent of executives rate their organizations as excellent at strategy execution — and that’s a number that hasn’t budged much in the past years.
The awful truth is that many executives can’t even articulate the company’s strategy, much less measure its effectiveness, even if they deploy Machine Learning solutions. They struggle to define both short-term goals and long-term outcomes. And they find it difficult to ensure everyone stays focused on achieving them.
The benefits of a well-defined digital strategy are obvious: It focuses your efforts and helps you coordinate your organization in pursuit of a single goal. What’s not so obvious is how to set the right goals for your company — or, more importantly, how to align those goals with your overall business strategy.
When organizations are forced to choose between their digital transformation projects and other initiatives that may have greater strategic impact, it’s usually the projects that feel less connected to the business as a whole get cut first.
Digital transformation offers an opportunity to align your strategy, your people and your technology — however, it’s essential you have a goal-oriented plan in place.
2) Identify the Metrics that Matter Most
The road to digital transformation is fraught with peril. From skills shortage to lack of budget, there are many things standing in the way of a successful implementation. But perhaps the biggest of all is the lack of a clear strategy and goals.
All too often, businesses fall into the trap of going through the motions without a clear target in mind. It’s not enough to simply ‘transform’. Companies need to know where they want to be, what they want to achieve, and how they will get there.
One of the most crucial steps in creating a digitally transformed organization is determining the metrics that matter most to your specific business. For example, some healthcare organizations have set a goal of reducing the number of patients who are readmitted within 30 days of being discharged from the hospital. This is supposed to ensure that those facilities provide the best possible care to their patients.
In retail, a focus could be on improving customer engagement and reducing shopping cart abandonment rates.
The key is setting goals for a digital transformation strategy framework that drive business results but also align to the customer experience. For example, if you want to increase online sales, setting a goal of increasing website traffic may not be the most effective metric because it doesn’t necessarily mean those visitors will actually purchase products.
A better approach would be to focus on driving conversions, which means tracking how many people click on ads and actually end up purchasing items from your website. By focusing on key metrics, you can more easily track progress toward your long-term goals and make adjustments along the way if something isn’t working as expected.
3) Use VPN
Digital transformation is the process of using technology to radically improve performance or reach of enterprises. The goal of digital transformation is to make technology an integral part of a company’s strategy and operations, thereby increasing employee productivity and enabling the creation of new, innovative business opportunities.
VPNs can help support digital transformation because they enable employees to be productive outside the office, by securely accessing their enterprise network remotely.
For example, a salesperson might use a VPN on his mobile device to access corporate applications while he’s on the road. This gives him access to up-to-date data that he can use to provide better service to his customers.
Open-source software is the secret sauce behind digital transformation. In fact, 97% of large enterprises are using open source to one degree or another. Now, you probably don’t know this, but WireGuard is open-source VPN protocol that you can use to ensure your business goals are met. Even if you don’t know it, your organization may be relying on open-source apps written by developers in other countries.
But why use open source? The answer is simple: Open source is faster and better than proprietary software, which is typically built for a single company’s needs. Digital transformation is about speed and agility; it requires businesses to move fast and act quickly.
4) Keep it Simple
It’s human nature to make things complicated. Maybe that’s because a simple solution sometimes feels like cheating. However, the premise of digital transformation is that the world has become more complex and is changing at an accelerating pace. If we can’t simplify, how can we possibly stay ahead?
Here are some reasons why making things simpler is essential for achieving digital transformation:
It enables more people to contribute: A lot of innovation happens at the edges where groups and individuals come up with new solutions to problems. The reality is that most people aren’t wired to think in complex ways. They’ll generate better ideas if they have a framework that makes it easier for them to contribute.
It reduces costs: Simplifying business processes and technology often means fewer people and resources are required to implement them. This doesn’t mean eliminating jobs — it just requires that they become more productive with less effort .
It reduces complexity: Complexity takes all of us out of our comfort zone, which makes us feel threatened. When you simplify, you make people feel more comfortable so they’re willing to take risks and try new ways of working together.
The digital age is upon us. In this era, technology can make or break your business. If you don’t adapt to the new way of doing things, you could lose your competitive edge, and if you don’t digitize now, you might not survive the next downturn. This is not good for any business.
But simply “going digital” is a vague goal that can be hard to achieve. A better approach is to set a specific target, such as increasing revenue by 10%. Or reduce operating costs by 10%. Or increase customer satisfaction by 20%. These goals are more concrete than just “becoming more digital” and will help guide your investments in technology to obtain the best results.
Setting a clear target also promotes a culture change. Your organization will be more willing to adopt new tools and methods if they understand why the company is investing in them and what benefits they will bring.
Digital transformation is a journey, not an event. And like any journey, it begins with a destination in mind and a road map of how you’re going to get there.
This can be difficult, especially when there are many different paths you could take. Nonetheless, it’s the only way to get started on the right foot. The aforementioned strategies can help you get on the right track.