Four Tips for Successful Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has troubled businesses large and small for many years. At its heart, it is the reinvention of business operations in order to draw maximum benefit from digital technology. This usually isn’t a straightforward process and no two digital transformation projects will be exactly alike. It is crucial to avoid thinking too rigidly about transformation. For example, you could argue Tesla’s decision to release its electric vehicle patents for free was a progressive example of industry-wide digital transformation. This helped the company make its technology the industry standard and to benefit from an accelerated electric vehicle industry.

Ricoh research has identified almost universal agreement on the importance of digitisation. 95% of mid-sized businesses (50-500 employees) across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain expect digitisation to provide business advantages. It is a given that all businesses will need to adapt and here’s how:

Communicate your priorities clearly

European employees are aware of the value of digitisation. We found that 61% would like their management teams to use technology to balance the impact of broader macroeconomic changes on their business. However, as with any major change or initiative, communication is one of the most important skills for leading executives to master. Your employees will feel the effects of digital transformation most keenly. It’s crucial to keep communication lines open and be honest with your staff about progress, outcomes and impacts. It’s impossible to do absolutely everything at the same time. So, when prioritising, make sure people understand what you’re doing and why.

Know your business and listen to your employees

Despite the benefits of digitisation, many businesses still struggle to effectively transform core processes. Interestingly, 91% of mid-sized business leaders expect to face a harder path to digitisation than enterprise sized and small business rivals.
Assuming we could operate just like a start-up would have been ill-advised, possibly even dangerous. There has to be a balance between the requirements of good corporate governance and the innovative blue-sky thinking that the start-up mind-set allows. That being said, it’s important that the often rigid hierarchies of large organisations do not stifle innovation. Good ideas will frequently emerge from lower down an organisation. After all, these employees are at the coal-face, working with the specific processes you’re trying to change. Make sure employees throughout your organisation are regularly given a voice throughout any transformative process.

Bring every department into the process

Digital transformation, by its nature, will be as varied and complex as the business itself. Business processes can encompass a whole range of initiatives. Successful transformation will inevitably have an impact on every element of a business. As such, each department has to be effectively engaged and included in the process. The HR function is one that is often overlooked in programmes of this kind, however, it has a crucial role to play. As mentioned, fundamental workplace changes often have the longest lasting impact on the staff who have to adapt to them. Without the support of the HR department, you risk alienating and upsetting your most valuable assets. Strong change management is one of the key ingredients to success.

Choose a senior project leader the whole business can rally behind

Perhaps most importantly of all, a high-level leader within the business should be identified to take on clear responsibility for any digital transformation project. This leader’s role must be to balance the requirements of employees, departments and shareholders. Crucially, if they are to drive through real change within the business, they must be supported by other members of the board. This is not the sort of thing you can do on your own! Don’t be afraid to acknowledge where you have a skills gap, and potentially hire to fill it. Surrounding yourself with strong, innovative people is crucial for guaranteeing the success your project.

Business and employees are agreed on the importance and benefits of digitisation. But in order for this to become a reality and drive tangible business benefits, organisations need a driven leader, capable of uniting the whole business behind them. Digital transformation is one of the most important, exciting evolutions for any business to undergo. We owe it to everyone concerned to do it right!

Bizquip helps companies to create innovative workspaces and develop new future-proof business models. Implementing cost controls and putting management tools in place around document workflows operating across businesses and adopting new ways of working to increase productivity are amongst some of the expertise that working with Bizquip can bring to your company. Recently Bizquip assisted Arthur Cox redefine and design a streamlined print management solution to drive cost and efficiency benefits, read the case study.

Arthur Cox case study.

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