There’s a lot of buzz and demand around digital transformation. It sounds like a beast of a project, yet it’s not – not if you do it right. As long as you strategize ahead of time and have a clear vision of what your environment looks like in the end, that mountain that once looked too tall to climb, now seems small. It’s not something that that will happen overnight. Like every other initiative we tackle in business, there are a series of smaller tasks that build up into amazing accomplishments.
What is intimidating is that more than 52% of the names have vanished from the Fortune 500 list since 2000. These companies have either merged, been acquired, or are gone altogether. Heard that before? Good, because we can learn from them. The lack of speed or investment in digital transformation by these top companies led to their ends, and this is something that will repeat itself down through the Inc. 1000, 5000, and beyond the list itself. So let’s dive into what it is and how to get your digital transformation initiative moving.
What is it?
Yikes! Reading the end of that definition always takes me for a turn. Does changing the world land on your business’s shoulders? No. But, you are a unique business that brings value to your clients who live within this world and the world around us is changing. It’s the responsibility of organizations like yours to keep up with the digital trend in order to keep your clients happy – hopefully with you and not an industry disrupter / competitor.
Let’s simplify. I define Digital Transformation in two ways for today’s enterprise environment.
1. Taking business from the physical & tangible to the online (in our lingo, into the cloud).
An example of this is organizations taking tasks that were once done using paper and pen and now doing those same processes online. It’s also in regards to physical servers. There’s no need for them. No need for the maintenance. Databases, websites, network resources...the list goes on...all of this is safer, more reliable, and more cost effective through trusted providers like Google and/or Microsoft.
2. Enhancing processes through integrations
Other than saving money, simply moving to the cloud isn’t going to give you the ammo to move mountains for your customers. We’re now taking actions that have may have been living in your browser all along, but incorporating the data in more efficient ways to automate activities and build one source of truth that all other internal company applications can pull from. This speeds up your work, meaning you can focus more on the client. Plus, those clients should be able to get what they want from you faster.
When all's said and done, the goal of digital transformation is minimizing manual process, spending less time on the operational stuff, and focusing on efficiency in the short term so you can focus on your client for the long term.
Who owns it?
Who at the company owns the goal of efficiency? Unless you consider your CEO as Chief Efficiency Officer, or have created another new age title to represent that role (aka Chief Digital Officer), I would assume that goal is one shared among every Manager, Director, and C-Level Executive that exists. So why are we putting digital transformation all on the shoulders of our CIO, CTO, and IT teams? Regardless of when or where the conversation begins, the tech department will be involved, but isn’t it the responsibility of every leader to find better ways for their teams to work?
Why does it matter?
The world has become a digital environment. It’s how we do business, at least on the backend. Even if your company stands on the basis of human relationships like Cloudbakers (tech experts who integrate the human element), you can’t be effective if you don’t take advantage of the operational tasks digitally. You will lose face-to-face time with the people who are important to you and fall behind competitors who don’t do exactly what you to yet – but will.
This past November, I attended HubSpot’s INBOUND conference for the fourth year in a row. And it was Cloudbakers’ first year investing as a sponsor. Why? The event was filled with marketers, not necessarily IT Directors, or CIOs, who would be their assumed main point of contact. What’s unique about the marketing department in many organizations these days is that when they need a more efficient solution, they take it upon themselves to make change happen. This might be in part to the rumor spread of CIOs battling CMOs for responsibility roles, but in many ways these two departments have worked well together to make big things happen. Once the first bridge towards complete digital transformation is crossed, other departments realize the impact and then might look into more productive solutions for their own teams.
If you’ve read this far and find yourself in that position – not sure of how to make a better process or even the value that cloud technology brings to the workplace, regardless of department, this is your chance to be the change agent within your company. You have partners, like Cloudbakers, to help you plan, implement, back you up, and guide your change management process. Digital Transformation won’t always start in IT, nor end there, but the first to initiate the conversation will be the hero.Originally published on January 30, 2017