As a result of changing customer needs and the ever-evolving technological land scape, digital transformation has become a necessity for companies looking to stay ahead in almost every industry.
In the field of machinery, for example, Caterpillar is upgrading to predictive diagnostics tools to take the data collected from bulldozers and hydraulic shovels. This data helps Caterpillar’s customers identify potential maintenance issues before breakdowns occur. In mining, Siemens installed proximity sensors, speed controllers and lane keeping assistants in their mining vehicles.
Some of the benefits Caterpillar and Siemens experienced respectively were increased customer satisfaction and an increase in security and productivity. But these are only a few of the benefits companies that embrace digital transformation stand to experience, others include: increased transparency, easier collaboration across departments, a more customer centric approach to business and increased chances to adapt and innovate.
However, the digital transformation process can be filled with pitfalls that could render your efforts ineffective. Here we discuss a few common mistakes companies make when they take on this process and how you can avoid them.
1. Relying only on your existing employees to handle the digital transformation
This mistake often starts with the assumption that digital transformation is just a technology issue. It’s not, and it goes beyond everyday tasks like installing software or building an app. By attempting to use your current team to handle the migration, you might be setting them up for a task they are not equipped for.
The Solution: If your team does not have the required skillset, the best thing to do is to outsource or hire someone who does. A qualified business analyst or cyber security specialist, even a digital transformation consultant will share insights that your in-house team may not have.
2. No buy-in from your employees
The decision to implement digital transformation is normally made by management. It isn’t surprising that this decision and the strategy can be developed without the knowledge or input from employees. This can result in team members resisting the new technology.
The solution: The solution here goes beyond training employees on how to use the new tech once it has been incorporated into the company. Treat digital transformation as an organizational issue and have team members share their input and feedback before the roll out. Ideally, you are using the digital transformation to make your company more efficient and staff can share their challenges with the current system. Remember, the digital transformation should aim to solve problems, and employees know the problems they face.
3. Setting unrealistic deadlines
Setting deadlines is important for planning and making budgets, but it’s important to not rush the digital transformation and set deadlines that are simply too tight to achieve without stretching your employees too thin. Keep in mind that your people are your best assets and no one project is worth overworking them and potentially causing unnecessary turnover.
The solution: Break the project down into smaller milestones with realistic timelines. Once each is completed successfully, you can then progress to the next. This way you keep your human capital performing optimally throughout the project without ever feeling overwhelmed.
4. Being afraid to make hard choices
Digital transformation can lead to changes that require you to make some uncomfortable choices. You might find that you need to retire some IT systems early or to let go of some of your staff. Deferring this decision can be detrimental to your digital transformation plan.
The solution: Look to the future. Forget about retaining redundant systems and machinery in a bid to recoup the investment you made on them. Leaders must be ready to adapt for the sake of the company. Sometimes letting go of staff altogether might not be feasible, instead, initiate programs to upgrade their skills or support them in learning new skills that will be relevant in the new system.
5. Fixing what isn’t broken
While digital transformation is the way forward, a blanket approach may not be necessary. Changing everything in the organization without through examination is a waste of resources and can land you in the large pool of companies who do not reach their digital transformation goals.
The solution: Identify where the need for digital transformation in your company lies. What problems do you need to solve? Does your marketing strategy need to reach a new or wider audience? Does your sales strategy need a higher conversion rate? Or perhaps you need to update certain business process in order for your employees to be more efficient in their jobs. Start by figuring out what needs remedying, and if it isn’t broken, don’t’ fix it.
Need help implementing your digital transformation plan?
Talk with the experts at ASB Resources. As a top Project Solution Company, we can provide you with the tools and resources you need to take your company to the next level. Schedule some time with a Digital Transformation expert today!