What is a Digital Transformation Strategy?
A Digital Transformation Strategy is an outline of the steps a business will take to best leverage emerging technologies. It could include changes to business models, innovations to products and services, and the development of new value chains to meet the changing needs of customers.
Every digital transformation requires a digital transformation strategy that can help the business achieve desired results. Companies across the globe are adopting digital transformation as they are challenged to improve their business processes and develop new business models and capabilities.
In an ever-transforming economic era, industries are undergoing different changes, actional intelligence and an excellent digital transformation strategy are the new currency.
Information and data have become the core sources of revenue, business assets, and critical drivers in the information age. To benefit from these new digital technologies, companies need to develop a steady digital transformation strategy related to data, processes, information, technology, human aspects, and lots more.
The 4 Waves Of Industrial Revolution offer a clear visual representation of the entire history of human civilization with an emphasis on cultural, technological, and organizational development. In combination with disruptive innovation examples, you will get a clearer picture of what creative destruction entails and how it can serve your business.
Digital Transformation Strategy Framework
A digital transformation strategy begins with answering critical business questions such as what, who, how, and why.
A digital transformation strategy is a concise plan on how your company will address critical challenges through the convergence of the human, physical and digital worlds. Digital transformation in itself is a broad business strategy.
It is all about building a roadmap for short- and long-term digital transformation, emphasizing business outcomes.
According to an online survey by Wipro Digital on the business leaders in the US, more than half of the executives state that the lack of a clear digital business transformation strategy is the major limiting factor to achieving the business’ full digital potential.
With this in mind, let’s consider the key steps to developing an outstanding Digital Transformation Strategy.
The UNITE Strategy Execution Framework: Where to innovate & Where to Cut Costs
Understand the Why of Digital Transformation
Part of the problem associated with digital transformation is that it means different things to different people across the business world and beyond. Business leaders often believe digital transformation begins with innovative technology,
and the why behind it is not fully understood. This is a backward approach and frequently leads to failure. To set an efficient business transformation strategy for success, you need to first identify your core business goals and needs, then structure your digital transformation strategy from the goals and needs.
The best place to start is with your organization’s strategic goals- let’s say a 5-to-10-year business plan. This kickstarts your digital transformation strategy plan from a much different and more effective position than starting with technology in view. To achieve this and execute digital transformation, there is a need to have a thorough understanding of what digital transformation is as it relates to your business values, goals, and objectives.
Let’s consider an example here- Velvox Engineering Limited is dedicated to producing high-quality engineering products. With this vision statement in mind, the next question is what can be done strategically, both short term and long term, to achieve this desired outcome? What are the digital transformation strategies that need to be employed to achieve this goal?
In the short term, Velvox Engineering limited established that Quality Assurance (QA) was their key focus. The quality assurance process required manual and complex procedures with well-trained experts to oversee the paperwork. By deploying the right technologies, they could transform the process, manifest measurable results, and establish a working model other construction and engineering companies can deploy.
Bottom Line: Digital transformation strategically positions your business to achieve desired outcomes, creating a foundation for your digital transformation from your goals and business priorities.
Prepare Your Company for Cultural Change
Digital transformation plays a key role in the cultural change that is bound to happen to every organization over time. The heart of every digital transformation is not just technology but human capacity. It is natural for there to be criticism and resistance to change. Therefore, you need to be prepared to address these issues when they arise.
Think beyond the status quo, and develop a team mindset with representatives across the value chain- design, marketing, sales, OT, IT, and more. These serve as strong governance to execute the strategies that will position you for success. Having an excellent team of cheerleaders that understand the mission behind an organization’s digital transformation will you to achieve more.
However, you must note that every transformation and revolution comes with challenges; business leaders need to prepare their teams for these challenges and cultural changes.
Bottom Line: as digital transformation strategies roll out, it will affect the way employees perform their daily tasks. Identifying the tasks and projects that improve the overall productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency of workers is an essential part of digital transformation.
Start Small, But Be Intentional and Strategic
Digital transformation is not a destination but a journey and identifying the first step is a critical process to having an outstanding digital transformation strategy. This is what will set the ball rolling for future initiatives. There is a reason why it is called transformation; everything will not change immediately; it takes time, consistency, and diligence to achieve the desired outcomes.
Do not expect to see everything change immediately, be focused and determined. Break down your overall goal into actionable steps taken daily.
Map Out Technology Implementation
At this point, you will realize that a successful digital transformation does not begin with technology; rather, it begins with having the right business strategy.
Having understood the why of business digital transformation for your organization based on your goals and vision, the next step is to map out the technology strategy you want to adopt. Technology is an essential tool in achieving your desired goals.
Here are some common technologies needed for achieving digital transformation:
- Additive Manufacturing
- Augmented Reality
- Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
- Digital Twin
One or more of these technologies will be needed to achieve your overall goals. You may be familiar with some and may have already used them in your organization, but there are still some that can skyrocket your results.
Developing a clear roadmap with technology in view is an essential building block to digital business transformation strategy success.
Seek Out Partners & Expertise
When seeking for technology partners and technology strategies to adopt, be futuristic in your approach. You need to ask yourself key questions.
- Will the technology and vendor support scaling?
- Do the partner and your organization share a similar vision for digital transformation? Will they be willing to give you the required support for your long-term strategy?
- How does the partnership integrate with your existing technology?
- Do they have the requisite expertise and technology for your specific use?
These and many more are the questions you need to truly answer to achieve your goals because if the people you’re partnering with do not have the knowledge, expertise, and background in your application, there will be challenges.
The UNITE Business Model Framework: A Framework for Successful Innovation
All of our separate model pieces fit into the comprehensive UNITE Business Model Framework. The centerpiece is the Business Model Canvas, which covers the six main areas of a Business Model Template (the Operating, Value, Service, Experience, Cost, and Revenue Models). The eXtended Business Model Canvas adds the immediate business context, including Business Drivers, customers, and the team, as well as the Unfair Advantage.
Our goal is that every model and canvas we discuss can be placed within the context of your overall business model, no matter where you are in your innovative transformation journey. While the UNITE Strategy Execution Framework is beneficial on its own, using it in conjunction with the complete UNITE Business Model Framework and working through all the canvases we provide will let you realize the maximum advantage possible.
How to Create Innovation includes helpful advice on every aspect of the UNITE Framework, including models like:
- Business Model Canvas
- Value Proposition Canvas
- Operating Model Canvas
- Organizational Culture Canvas
- Business Model Environment Canvas
- Business Model Innovation
- Jobs to Be Done
- Business Capability Mapping
You can claim your free copy of the book by visiting the book section of our website: How to Create Innovation: The Only Book on Innovation you’ll need
Steps To Developing An Efficient And Outstanding Digital Transformation Strategy
Digital transformation is not a single concept on its own. Most often, organizations are more focused on organizational transformation and forget the other aspects or types of digital transformation. Thus, limiting themselves from enjoying the full privileges and benefits digital transformation has to offer.
Digital transformation is not a single massive entity. Frequently corporations are focused entirely on organizational transformation and overlook the fact there are four types of digital transformations. As a result, they’re limiting themselves from taking full advantage of all digital transformation has to offer.
From artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics, and data to other technologies, much emphasis within the business environment has been on strategies to reinvent business processes to reduce cycle times, improve quality and lower costs.
Examples of successful business transformation strategies include companies like Domino’s pizza, which transformed to a stage where customers can order pizza online or through any device. They pioneered and reordered the food ordering process. This innovation placed them ahead of their closest competitors in the market concerning sales.
Other companies leverage robotic process automation to simplify their back-office processes, including accounting and legal processes. Process transformation is a vital aspect of every successful digital transformation strategy. It creates tremendous value in every organization.
Business Model Transformation
While process transformation focuses on fixed areas of the business, Business Model Transformation focuses on the foundational building blocks of how value is delivered in the industry. Companies leverage digital transformation strategies to change traditional business models.
An example of this type of digital transformation strategy is seen in the new business model adopted by Netflix for video distribution and Apple’s iTunes.
A good example of how domain transformation works is on Amazon; the online mega-retailer marched into a new market domain with the Launch of Amazon Web Services (AWS) ad currently prides itself as the largest cloud computing platform. AWS is a clear example of how organizations can redefine products and services, blurring industry boundaries and creating new sets of non-traditional competitors. Domain Transformation positions businesses for strategic growth.
A thorough redefining of an organization’s capabilities, talent, mindsets, and processes for the digital world is needed to achieve long-term digital transformation for any industry.
The most successful organizations recognize that digital transformation requires flexible workflow, a decentralized decision-making process, learning, and a greater reliance on business ecosystems.
How To Build A Reliable Digital Transformation Strategy?
A digital transformation strategy is a document that outlines your business – goals, objectives, and digital initiatives. When developing this document, a company should pay attention to the following:
A good and effective digital transformation begins with an honest and comprehensive assessment of the current state of your business. This detailed assessment should evaluate your strategic business goals, potential growth opportunities, and key performance indicators.
Understand Your Industry and Understudy Your Competitors
After thoroughly assessing the current state of your business, it is essential to understand how your industry operates and study your direct competitors. To effectively understudy your direct competitors, you need to find out the following information:
- What are their digital transformation strategies?
- What digital solutions are they considering?
- What latest technologies or tools are being employed in your industry?
Detailed competition analysis will help you better understand the market and identify opportunities to position you for business success.
Create an Execution Plan
Your delivery plan should include a clear roadmap for each business innovation, initiative, resource requirements, and criteria for accessing/measuring the results. Before embarking on the developmental stage, identify all necessary development processes to build standard routines for the progress of your business.
Create a Workable Budget Plan
One of the main reasons why most digital transformation processes fail is due to insufficient funds. When creating your budget, ensure you make provisions for unforeseen occurrences and plan for the time when new technology makes the current investment obsolete.
Create a Workable Plan
Apart from technology, you need to plan for other areas of your business. Technology is not the only area of expenditure. Gather a team of like-minded employees with the right skill set who will work with your overall goals to achieve desired results. Conduct a thorough assessment of your current workforce and the requisite skills you need to implement your digital innovations.
How To Lead Your Team Towards Digital Transformation?
A good digital transformation has resultant effects on customers, employees, and partners. The success of your digital transformation largely depends on the input and support of your workforce. Therefore, to get their full support and unwavering loyalty, you need to take note of the following:
Good Digital Leadership
You need to appoint a teachable, reliable, and loyal leader who will lead your digital transformation team. Most times, this position can be occupied by a current employee who is familiar with the company’s philosophy, goals, and Company’s Culture. Other times, you need to employ a new employee who will occupy the position of Chief Digital Officer (CDO). A CDO is saddled with the responsibility of overseeing business strategies and executing digital innovation.
Preparing Your Team
To see the impact of digital transformation in your business, you need to prepare your team for the digital transformation. They need to understand the importance and implication of digital adoption. Create a digital atmosphere within your organization, where it becomes easy for your team to adopt every upcoming digital initiative.
With the unwavering support of your team, you can collectively work on digital solutions that will benefit your clients and enhance your business’s creativity and innovation.
Cultivate a Culture of Creativity and Innovation
Companies that downplay creativity and innovation from their team are only positioning themselves for failure.
Create a system where your employees can bring up ideas on how to move the business forward. You will be shocked at the ideas and innovations you will get from your employees. Just because they are your employees does not mean you know it all. You need the input of your team to achieve your desired goals.
Invest in Employee Training
Most times, employees do not fully accept digital transformation because of its impact on their roles in the company. Most employees stand the chance of losing their roles after a successful digital transformation.
You can gain the loyalty and support of your employees by providing employee training opportunities that will position them to acquire twenty-first-century industry-standard skills that will position them to be relevant after digital transformation. By investing in employee training, you can expect employee satisfaction, business efficiency, and improved consistency.
Digital transformation is more about your business strategy, data, process, and people, not just technology.
Make Better Decisions with Data
Your digital transformation should begin with data. Data can help with decision-making and invalidating experiments throughout the digital transformation process. Data can also help earn the support of your peers.
Best Digital Transformation Strategies Worth Implementing
Here are some of the best digital transformation strategies recommended by business leaders who have successfully overcome the challenges of digital transformation and the limitations associated with it. It will help you come up with creative strategies to upscale your business in this digital era.
Leverage effective digital technologies that people really want
The best way to be successful in this digital era is to invest in digital technologies that have proven to be efficient and effective. It brings your brand closer to people. Finding the right digital technologies for your brand is essential as it will position you to attract the right clients and customers who are willing to pay for your products and services and use your company’s improved digital technology and platform.
Why do you need to leverage digital technologies? The best answer is to build value and improve the efficiency of the business models.
You need to streamline and prioritize strategies empowering the technologies that suit your business. You need to understand their functions, know what their uses could be, and take advantage of the data you collate. Doing this can boost your employee’s productivity and the quality of your product and services.
Digital Transformation Strategy Practical Tips
- Leverage project management tools
Invest in time management tools that will help your employees to be more productive and cooperative. Examples of time management tools are Wrike, Asana, Trello, etc. These three are the best and will position your employees to be more productive.
- Leverage time tracking tools
Invest in tools such as Toogi, Harvest, Hubstaff, TimeCamp, and Tick. They help in measuring each employee’s performance with respect to their assigned responsibilities and tasks. It gives them the opportunity to measure their performance and know how well they are doing.
- Use social media management tools
In this digital era, you can’t downplay the power of social media in helping your brand gain visibility and attract more customers. Therefore, you need to invest in automated digital tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Hubspot’s Social Tool, and Sprout Social. These tools will help you create and post content consistently. You can create your content in advance and automate their scheduled posting dates with these tools. This will help you save time, especially when you are busy and cannot keep up with social media responsibility.
- Hire tech-savvy employees that will fit 21st-century skill requirements
Don’t just hire applicants based on their educational qualifications; ensure that they are tech-savvy and have the requisite 21st-century digital skills that will help your business. You need employees who are conversant with data science, UX, machine learning, artificial intelligence, web design, graphics design, social media management, content creation, and UX. These experts should be part of your team for your business to thrive in this digital age.
The digital revolution has the promise of an enhanced digital vision, which you can put to advantageous use.
- Host a brainstorming competition or contest that will provide effective solutions
Sponsor a small contest for your IT employees or candidates to come up with digital solutions in response to anticipated problems in the organization. Challenge, inspire and motivate them to brainstorm, hack and come up with digital transformation strategies or creative ideas that will solve the anticipated problems.
This not only provides you with viable solutions but also points to the best candidate suitable for handling key positions in the organization.
- Develop user-friendly digital platforms and systems
A digital system is set in place to support and perform daily tasks and functions that machines could do to reduce human effort and interference. It also allows for more work to be done in less time. Make sure every digital system you are putting in place for your business meets industry standards that make them user-friendly, easy to use and install. In other words, ensure that the purpose for leveraging digital technology is achieved and justified.
The digital systems should be easy to navigate, efficient, easy to install, easy to operate without the need for any third-party software, should abide by set industry standards, and be effective in handling errors. Do not downplay the importance of the user-friendliness of every digital system you create for your business.
- Attend seminars & conferences related to digital transformation
Although they say experience is the best teacher, it must not be your own experience that you learn from. Wise people also learn from the experience of others. Attending Seminars and Conferences, both local and international helps such learning. Seminars and conferences expound and focus on 21st-century digital transformation strategies that will lead to success in business. The insights and strategies you will learn from attending these seminars and conferences are helpful in practical situations. You will learn new innovations, ideas, and concepts that you can adopt to position your business for success, productivity, and continuity.
Moreover, you get the opportunity to network and interact with other business leaders, IT personnel, and executives. The collaborations you make can help in designing your own digital transformation platforms.
Conduct thorough research online, and list out the experts on digital transformation and companies that specialize in digital transformation strategies you will like to learn from. Visit their official websites or pages on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, and reach out to them if need be for partnership and collaborations.
- Use data analytics to improve digital systems implemented by businesses
Data analytics and cloud computing can perform many tasks for the entire business. They can extract patterns and witness trends from big data inputted into the system. Stitching the database, and having them collated and analyzed by computing systems can bring your brand to a high level of success.
Data analytics and cloud computing also help you to answer everyday marketing projections such as “What are the products that customers are buying?” “What is the target audience passionate about?” “What is lacking in the computer systems?”. Data analysis means being able to answer complex questions effectively so that business can run smoothly.
- Information Gathering
Gather enough information about your target audience and customers through Facebook analytics. Facebook allows you to focus on vital metrics when you market your products on their platform. Other market information that Facebook’s analytics provide includes visitors’ location, age demographics, and gender. This information and data are useful for social media marketing, and it gives you an idea of where your general traffic is coming from.
Successful Digital Transformation Strategy Examples
Digital Transformation has helped many businesses attain enviable heights across many industries of human endeavor. It goes beyond just updating the strategies and technologies they use. Transformation and innovation in business require levels of hard work, commitment, innovations, creativity, and strategic brain work to increase sales, productivity, and revenue.
Let’s consider some digital transformation strategy examples in top companies in the world and how they used them to their advantage.
Going Digital Strategically helped BestBuy’s Performance
BestBuy’s performance in terms of sales was relatively low until its new CEO brought an innovative digital perspective that led to the transformation of the company into a digital technology giant today. It did not just happen in one day; it took over seven years for the company to break even, but going digital helped them achieve all these. They grew from a company with poor sales to a company that now sells technologies to enrich lives. BestBuy used digital technology and business transformation strategy to improve delivery times.
From Snail mail to digital marketing
BestBuy dumped snail mail and embraced digital marketing wholeheartedly. They provided customized assistance and recommendations for clients based on digitally gathered data; this improved their delivery time and overall customer satisfaction. Eventually, they introduced the Geek Squad and a price matching program that improved their services. As a result of the digital transformation strategies they adopted, their stock price skyrocketed from $23.70 in 2012 to about $74 in 2020.
Target’s Digital Transition Strategy
Target is another renowned company that leveraged digital transformation strategies to improve its digital presence, attract more customers, and increase its sales.
They introduced new digital technologies in their stores, online ordering, and increased their social media engagement, web presence, and online sales to boost their market share.
Their remodeled store design and a greater focus on direct-to-customer sales enabled customers to discover their new products when released and order for them directly through their social medial handles. They also introduced an online ordering digital strategy that was more efficient and effective because it is user-friendly with improved delivery time.
Target started its digital transformation strategy journey in 2006 and has since witnessed a significant rise in its sales, revenue, and stock price.
Home Depot’s Retail Digital Transformation
Although Home Depot happens to be one of the most successful business ventures, in 2017, the company decided to adopt a much more expensive digital transformation strategy.
Their goal was to improve the online shopping experience and provide customers with the best experience and highest quality products through a seamless ordering process across all their platforms.
Over the past five years, Home Depot has invested more than $11 billion on digital transformation strategies to improve both its online and in-store shopping experience; little wonder they are witnessing such remarkable results.
Home Depot hired over one thousand professionals across the various field who specialize in IT and improving customer experience. They have built their distribution channels and created a robust Information Technology department that analyzes customer data to come up with the best solutions to increase productivity, sales, and revenue. The company now saves more money and cut down costs by tracking local trends and maintaining proper inventory. Their stock value has skyrocketed from $135 to $215 over the past two years.
Microsoft And Its Digital Transformation Strategy
Long known for its innovative windows package Office Suite, Microsoft suffered from its top competitors like Amazon and Apple, causing its stock price to drop drastically. The company, however, decided to strategize.
Its breakthrough came when it adopted a cloud computing and networking digital transformation strategy. It shifted its focus from its traditional software to a cloud computing system that is more suitable for both personal and commercial use.
Microsoft also partnered, collaborated, and worked closely with other software and technology companies to create a reliable system and user experience.
Microsoft’s digital transformation increased its stock prices from $38 in 2014 to over $136 in 2020. Without these digital transformation strategies, these achievements would never have materialized.
Nike’s Digital Transformation Strategy
Nike (Just Do It), one of the world’s best athletic clothing and shoe companies felt they were becoming outdated and not attracting more customers. In a bid to restructure, Nike’s leadership embarked on a digital transformation journey. They realigned the company’s mindset, and restructured the supply chain, and were able to reconnect with their customer base. The company focused on a more powerful data analytics and cloud computing strategy, updated its eCommerce strategy, created more efficient digital marketing campaigns, and improve its direct-to-customer sales funnel.
More effective and efficient use of digital customer data led the company to open concept stores, improve the customer experience both online and in-store and create more membership opportunities.
For every business or organization to thrive in this digital age, it must be leverage one or two digital transformation strategies. In this post, we have talked about Digital Transformation Strategy, types of digital transformation, how to build a reliable digital transformation strategy, examples of the digital transformation strategy, and lots more. These are just a few digital transformation examples and how businesses have leveraged these strategies to improve their customer experience to increase sales and revenue.
In all the examples, we have seen how companies leverage the power of digital transformation by simply updating their innovation process, strategies, and technologies. By strategically and intentionally investing in a practical digital transformation strategy, these brands and business leaders have seen their stock prices rise. We believe that the information we have shared in this post will give you a better understanding of the whole concept of digital transformation and how to leverage it for maximum business growth and productivity.
The UNITE Business Model Framework: A Framework for Innovation Success
How to Create Innovation includes a number of canvases that focus on value creation and finding the right business model to meet your customer segment and customer needs. The framework is built to inspire drastic changes that help you find a competitive advantage. Our hope is that your company grows through business model innovation, and so we again encourage you to look deeper into our website and the book.
Here is a summary of the key ingredients of the Business Model Framework:
The centerpiece is the Business Model Canvas, which covers the six main areas of a Business Model (the Operating, Value, Service, Experience, Cost, and Revenue Models).
A Business Model can be broken out into its numerous aspects. Depending on what challenges you face, you can zoom in on your area of interest using an appropriate tool or canvas:
- Your Business Intention and objectives as well as your Massive Transformative Purpose summarize your drivers and give direction to what you do.
- The Value Proposition Canvas details the central components of your offering (the product or service).
- To dig into your Customer Segments, work with data-driven Personas.
- The JTBD Customer Job Statement and Job Map frame the JTBD of your customers.
- The Business Model Environment puts your Business Model in a market context composed of emerging trends and disruptive forces.
- The Innovation Culture Canvas helps you understand and consciously shape a culture that supports innovation.
- The Innovation team structure enables you to draft a team structure for your innovation initiative.
- Using learning and growth metrics, you can measure progress at the initial stages of development. These metrics help you focus on what really matters instead of creating a detailed business plan that will not really help you. Later on, you can expand the financial aspect of the Revenue and Cost Models with a full business case.
- The Operating Model Canvas helps you think through the Operating Model.
- Business Capability Map: A Practical Business Approach