With the business landscape becoming more and more competitive there is a large desire to increase productivity, and technology is at the helm of making this happen. That said, digital transformation has become a popular concept with companies looking to scale operations, improve day-to-day functions, and drive overall value. While the switch to digital is quickly becoming more of a necessity rather than a luxury, it’s important for leaders to be thoroughly equipped and prepared, while also understanding that digital transformations aren’t only about the tech and may alter the overall culture and experience of an organization.

Implementing DX across all facets of a company:

High-level steps to keep in mind ahead of undergoing a digital transformation

As advanced technologies continue to unlock vast opportunities for businesses to succeed and grow, many companies are looking toward the future and beginning to take on digital transformations to help revolutionize processes and keep up with the times. While it can be a massive undertaking and affect many, if not all, facets of a company, having the right systems and plans in place will help things move quickly and efficiently. 

To begin, organizations should conduct extensive research on what will best benefit the goals and values of the company, while being sure to consider all stakeholders such as employees, partners, consumers, and more. This means identifying key needs and drivers for all business units, and ensuring all teams have the proper resources to accomplish objectives. In many instances, leaders assume drivers of transformation are the same across business units within the same company; however, this likely isn’t the case, and all technologies and processes may not benefit the greater good. Digital transformation can’t be approached from a one-size-fits-all culture, and every department will have different needs. 

While true digital transformation has no end, creating an initial plan that includes budgeting and a thorough schedule across various departments will not only help to identify niche solutions to these specific challenges, but can also help ensure a smooth and well-organized transition. Taking this first step creates an environment that fuels innovation and allows organizations the opportunity to continue pushing boundaries while constantly evolving.

Leading a team to DX:

How to guide and train teams to become digital-first leaders

According to a McKinsey study, about 70% of companies that undergo a digital transformation fail. One of the main missteps companies take during this journey is relying solely on emerging tech investments, rather than empowering its people as a main goal of the process. Asserting a people-first approach that keeps customers and employees at the cornerstone of all things digital is critical while tapping into these tools to question processes and establish solutions that create ways to be a better partner, employer, industry leader, and societal contributor.

To do so successfully, companies must start by establishing positive employee experiences and digital trust amongst these parties. This can be a difficult feat for organizations that play in more traditional spaces and don’t quite target digital natives as there might be some initial resistance to change; however, having their support is a necessary component to yield great results. A quick resolution could be to create a tactical training checklist and provide reliable access to resources that support employee learning and adaptation throughout the transformation process. This provides an easy-to-follow outline that invites employees on the journey while providing additional background on what’s to come and the impact it will have on the future of their roles, as well as the success of the overall company. 

After all, new tech will come with new challenges and many employees will need refreshers and tutorials on how to navigate these upgrades. In addition to these tangible changes, leaders should also keep back-end issues such as security concerns top of mind. Creating a solid plan to educate employees about tools and methods malicious actors use, and how to navigate suspicious activity in order to help block digital attacks can prove to be beneficial. Above anything else, it’s imperative to implement a strong cybersecurity framework to help keep assets safe and prevent service disruptions. 

To build excitement and internal buy-in, leaders should reevaluate their organizational governance to ensure it aligns with changes made as a result of the transformation. This includes areas of opportunities for new leadership or the addition of new responsibilities to certain roles – both of which may help employees better understand their involvement in the process, what’s expected of them in the long term, and the support they have along the way. 

Customer service:

Leaning into digital to enhance customer experience and get closer to the consumer 

Taking a people-first approach to digital transformation is also about establishing ways to build better relationships and get closer to the consumer. When it comes to the end user — in this case, customers — there’s a growing expectation for companies to provide versatility, personalized opportunities, and exceptional service, amongst other things. Therefore, adapting new, digital methods should have a direct correlation to changing consumer needs and expectations. One of the driving factors of tapping into new digital capabilities should be to better connect with patrons, whether it be through easy-to-use systems, automated support, or even digitally exclusive products. 

Measuring success:

Using data and key learnings to update plans accordingly

When embarking on a digital transformation journey, data should play a large role in measuring success and determining next steps. It’s essential to have a solid checks and balance system in place to help evaluate performance and outline challenges as they relate to updates. Insight should be routinely checked on a frequent basis to flag issues and identify changing business needs. Not to mention, evaluating new processes with employee feedback is also a great way to get a better understanding of what’s working and what isn’t.

In addition to monitoring real-time changes in performance, maintaining system upgrades will also help ensure adaptations are supporting business goals. When creating a cadence to manage upkeep, reviewing output and the machines used to achieve these results should be main priorities.  

Katsuhiro “Jerry” Matsufuji is vice president and general manager for the Business Information Communications Group of Canon U.S.A., Inc. In his role, Matsufuji helps enterprises leverage the solutions and technology needed to thrive in today’s competitive business climate. During his 34-year career at Canon, Matsufuji has worked at offices both inside and outside of the U.S., showcasing the strength of his leadership.