What is digital transformation in practical terms and why should I worry about it?

5 tips to implement it in your company

Digital transformation is the process of incorporating digital technology into all areas of the company to reshape your business and meet the needs of the current market. This change affects the company as a whole and will require a change in the organizational culture in order to be successful. 

To say that the world has gone digital, at this point, might be one of the biggest understatements of these times. In the third decade of the 21st century, digital actually seems to be the only possible way, and with the new Coronavirus pandemics, it became clearer than ever. But what is digital transformation?  

If you can't think of a precise answer for the question in the title of this article, don't worry. Many leaders and professionals in decision making positions still have a hard time defining digital transformation in practical terms and figuring out how to drive their company into the digital path. 

Unfortunately, it is not rare to find places that make a big investment in softwares and tech solutions and they don't pay out. This is why we decided to help you lead your company's digital transformation process, beginning today if you feel like.    

What is digital transformation? 

It is not uncommon to find leaders and managers who think that digital transformation is about using softwares in their company. Although this is not exactly incorrect, it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the matter. 

The hint is in the very concept: "transformation" is the keyword. We can describe digital transformation as a deep process to incorporate digital technology and digital solutions to the core of your business. It will cut across all areas of the company. Once your digital transformation is complete, every department will be doing things differently - in a more effective, productive and innovative way. 

As you may imagine all these changes won't just alter the way things are done at the operational level. Once you really understand "what is digital transformation", you will soon realise that the process will require a deep makeover in the organizational culture as well. People will not only do things differently, but they will also think things differently and see things differently. 

Although it may sound scary (and, to tell you the truth, it actually can be), it should also be exciting. The reason why we say that is because digital transformation can be the vector of a number of opportunities for your business.  

With a new way of doing things and totally new tools, you will be able to think of different ways to deliver value to your customer. And this, ultimately, can mean new deals, new sources of revenue and new possibilities.

Why should you act now to your digital transformation? 

If you've been on the market for some time now you will have realised it has changed. Dramatically. Consumers are more demanding and they have ever higher expectations. Disruptive solutions like Zoom, Netflix and digital banks changed not only their specific markets, but the way people navigate the world. 

Nowadays, people expect everything to be quick, cheap, efficient and to be a few clicks away. Can you imagine an alternative way to provide this rather than going digital? The change in consumer's mentality in recent years is a one-way path, and companies that don't adapt to it unfortunately will soon disappear.  

Moreover, the new Coronavirus pandemics catalysed a change that was already in motion. So, those who were planning on implementing their digital transformation in a couple of years should seriously consider anticipating the move, under the risk of not being able to answer to consumers' needs.

Although vaccination programs are running all over the world, we are still not off the hook of having new lockdown (total or partial) periods until everyone is immunised against the virus. So, you should be prepared to operate in this highly unstable environment which is the current decade.   

How can you start your company's digital transformation? 

The first thing we need to address is the belief that digital transformation is about buying software. Of course you will need digital solutions, and we will get to that, but this is definitely not the first step towards a successful DT. 

In fact, according to a recent report, astonishing 70% of digital transformation initiatives don't reach their goals, and the reason for that is not in the technology itself, but rather in the process. To put your company on the digital path, you will need a solid strategy, and here are a few steps that you can follow to achieve your goal. 

1. Assess the company's current situation

There is hardly any way you are going to get somewhere not knowing where you are right now. This is why your first action should be running a diagnosis of your company. Dig deep and try and understand where you stand in terms of culture and values; how your operational structure is; how are the processes; what are the skills of your workforce and what is lacking; your business' weaknesses and threats.

And, of course, don't forget about the processes. Which are the most important ones? Are they easy to understand and follow? Does everyone know them? Are they measurable? All these questions will help you decide the starting point on your digital transformation. 

2. Define your goals

After getting to know where you stand, it's time to establish where you want to get. As Alice's Cheshire Cat would say, if you don't know where you want to go, any road will do. In this case, remember to set specific digital transformation goals. Start with one project in the company, then you can increase your transformation range progressively. 

However, instead of seeing your goals as a definition written in stone, look at them as a direction. Since we are living in a VUCA world (marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), you should have the flexibility to adjust and adapt, should the circumstances demand it. 

3. Always make tests

Before launching a project, don't be afraid to run some pilot tests. Hardly ever a digital transformation process will be a straight line, so you will need opportunities to monitor and adjust. 

4. Design a roadmap for your journey

At this stage, you should have two points: where you are and where you want to get. But what is the path that leads you from A to B? This is what you are going to design in your roadmap. Remember to include things such as skills your team lacks and that will need to be developed; milestones and priorities for your goals; key roles and players within the strategy, among other important aspects.

Once again, don't forget to include your processes. Which ones are vital for your business, which ones should be digitized first, are you going to need new processes to bring in the digital mindset and operations?  

5. Choose the right tools

Now that we have everything planned out, here is the moment we have all been waiting for: choosing the tech solution that will help you accomplish your journey. "What is digital transformation" is a question whose answer looks different for each company, and you may find unforeseen needs along the way. 

This is why you need solutions that can easily adjust to your needs, even if they change a little - or a lot - during the process. ScriptorServer by Viatecla is a highly customizable tool that will help you in every step of your digital transformation process. 

Our software will allow you to structure and build your company's processes, check KPIs, monitor your results and easily adjust your route to any scenario you may have to face. Also, our team is prepared to assist you not only technically, but also helping you find your way in the digital world. 

Now that you know the answer to the question "what is digital transformation", how about stepping into it right away? Tell us your needs, and we will be happy to co-create with you the right solution!

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Pedro Seabra
CEO, Partner and Co-founder
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