July 2, 2020

Digital Transformation: The Expectations Versus the Reality

Organizations understand that digital transformation plays a fundamental role in staying competitive in an evolving business landscape. As a result, the potential benefits of such a monumental overhaul are hard to ignore. Most companies were either planning or in the midst of implementing some digital initiatives across their organizations. Then suddenly, the COVID-19 pandemic plunged the business world into the largest digital transformation project — whether or not companies were ready with a strategy, a process, or even an inkling of where to start.

When thinking of digital transformation, organizations generally envisioned a complete metamorphosis through technology — bringing reliability and efficiency to the business. But months into the crisis, they realized their expectations of a digital transformation were starkly different from its reality.

As restrictions ease and companies emerge from the pandemic to restart projects, many realize the need for a well-managed digital transformation—not one borne from necessity. But before they do, they must learn to effectively manage expectations and discover the most practical applications of digital transformation to suit their business.

Expectation: Digital transformation is a one-time project
Reality: It is a continual journey 

Adopting new digital solutions is a complex process that requires buy-in from all levels in an organization. It takes months, even years, of planning, strategizing, preparing, training, and implementing. However, it doesn’t end there. Critical to the success of any digital transformation is constant evaluation and optimization of the technologies used, to ensure they continue to deliver value to the business. Technology regularly evolves, and so do businesses. Creating a culture of innovation and making digital thinking central to the business will future-proof an organization’s digitization, even in the face of a global health crisis.

Expectation: Digital transformation will be welcomed with open arms
Reality: Not everyone will be on board

While those in the driver’s seat of a digital transformation initiative can see the value in the changes being made, not every person in the organization will share their vision. There is an inherent fear of change. The introduction of new technology into an organization is often met with some level of skepticism, anxiety, and indifference. Obtaining buy-in at the planning stage is critical, not only from the top but across departments and through all levels. To decrease the resistance to change, put management and users at the center of the endeavor and engage them in the process. When everyone has a say in how the digital transformation is adopted and directly benefits from using the tools, they are more likely to readily adopt them. An organization that is supportive and entirely onboard with the transformation efforts will almost guarantee its success and continued evolution.

Expectation: Digital transformation is a business solution
Reality: It is a tool for business transformation

Businesses may place their focus on the word “digital”, but it’s “transformation” that is key. While implementing new technologies is an exciting aspect of such a project, the main goal should be to transform the organization. A well-defined business transformation strategy informs the digital transformation. This way, any technology investment is always aligned with strategic business objectives. It helps to stay focused on goals, revisit them often, and keep the roadmap in view. Ultimately, technology supports the rethinking of business models and processes and enables the inception of something new.

Expectation: Digital transformation is technology-driven
Reality: It is people-driven

Technology plays an important role, but technology alone cannot ensure a successful digital transformation. It’s not about the strategic selection and configuration of new technologies or purchasing cutting-edge software. Great technology needs the people, the talent, and the leadership to adapt and creatively use it. When companies consider investing in technology, they first need to think about investing in the people who can make that technology useful for the business. Professionals with strategic and technical expertise in digital project management, organizational change management, software development, and digital enterprise solutions, for example, will ensure that success.

A successful digital transformation requires strategic planning and ongoing management — even more so coming out of this global crisis. Oxford Global Resources professionals can help you ramp up your business while driving your digital initiatives forward.

If you would like to know more about our talent and technology solutions to advance your business, connect with a member of our team today.

Quality. Commitment.

Whether you want to advance your business or your career, Oxford is here to help. With nearly 40 years’ experience, we know that a great partnership is key to success. Start a conversation today.