Introduction to digital transformation
Digital transformation is the next big step for businesses to take when it comes to improving efficiency, streamlining business strategy, reducing waste, and increasing productivity. As we move forwards into an ever more digitised world, it’s important to make sure that our business processes are keeping up to speed and not left behind.
Sometimes it’s easy to keep asking how something is done in the workplace, and not why?
By creating and utilising a digital strategy roadmap, you will begin to ask this question, and see just how you can improve the processes you may have previously glanced over, with very encouraging results. This article will help you understand just what a digital transformation roadmap is, and why it is essential for you to create one if you want to stay at the head of the pack.
What is a digital transformation roadmap?
A digital transformation roadmap is the key to outlining not only how digital transformation is going to pave the future for your business, but also outlines the key steps needed to get there. We can usually narrow this down to a few categories, that should be your primary focus in terms of identifying what tangible benefits such changes can bring to your business. These categories would typically be:
People – Internal/external stakeholders, team members, customers and clients.
Process – How are you working? Do you have Standard Operation Procedures, are you working as efficiently as you could?
Technology – What systems are in place to help you work? Are the user interfaces suitable for the task, are there processes that aren’t automated that could.
Content – What is the information you putting together for your customers and is it tailored to their needs? What could be changed? Is it engaging?
It as a plan of action to update your business practices and technology to ensure maximum operational efficiency, remove blind spots of information your business might be struggling to track, and streamline and simplify tasks that might be incredibly time consuming.
4 Steps to create a digital transformation roadmap
1. Gather and analyse your data
In building a digital transformation program, it’s important to know where you start and where you want to go. You need to know what existing processes or systems are working, where they can improve and what specific changes you expect to see from your initiative.
Before you implement a new digital product or process, it’s important to gather and analyze data so that you can measure the effectiveness of your initiative. For example, if you hope undergoing a digital transformation will increase your team’s productivity, you need to know how much time they currently spend on a particular task before implementing new tools or processes. After the transformation is complete, you can measure and compare outputs to assess if your initiative was successful.
If you’re going to embark on a digital transformation project, make sure you have the proper data and insights necessary to set a stable foundation for the rest of your transformation journey. Fill in the gaps or collect whatever is missing before you get started. This will help you tackle the digital transformation challenges that you’ll face throughout the project.
2. Set goals and objectives
If your organization is going through a transformation, it’s essential to set clear, realistic, and measurable goals for the process. Setting goals can help your organization set itself up for success so you can achieve real ROI faster.
By identifying a goal for your digital transformation project, you will be able to see if you are on the right track. While your ultimate outcome may seem far away and difficult to achieve right now, working towards the finish line will help you identify how to reach it.
You’re at a point in your life where you have a pretty good understanding of what you want and need. But how do you get there? Start by establishing what your ideal outcome is. Depending on your situation, it may be possible to jump straight to this desired outcome, or it might mean taking a phased approach by starting with one goal at a time.
Breaking your roadmap into chunks can make the transformation more manageable for your team. Such as stopping at rest stops during your road trip. Giving your team a smaller goal to tackle and provides an opportunity to regroup and reassess your plan.
Follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting structure when establishing your objectives. Goals should be:
Specific. What do you want to achieve?
Measurable. What metrics will indicate you’ve achieved it?
Achievable. Are you capable of achieving it?
Relevant. Does this goal align with your business plan?
Timely. When should the goal be achieved by?
3. Foster a culture of communication
Create change and improve efficiency by communicating the need for digital systems to your team. Help them understand how these tools can make their work easier, reduce frustration and complications, and increase productivity.
Let your team know how much you value their input by facilitating a short roundtable discussion about the product. Pair each of them with someone who has some experience with the new technology (or who has been a part of a successful implementation). Encourage them to share their ideas and concerns and ask questions, then bring the group back together to discuss these.
As you begin the transformation process, it’s important to take time to answer questions or address issues before they become unmanageable. If a team member has an issue that isn’t being addressed by their manager or HR, it’s critical to resolve them early on. When your employees feel like stakeholders in the process of change, it can help them feel less resistant to the changes ahead.
4. Utilise agile project management tools
Agile project management is the most effective way to address changing business objectives. A set plan provides structure and safety, but it can also stifle creativity by failing to make room for change. Agile project management offers a seamless transition between planning, implementation, and responsive adjustments to changing needs. By incorporating elements of time-boxed iterations, the team is able to maintain focus while making progress on multiple fronts at once.
Why do you need a digital transformation roadmap?
A digital transformation roadmap allows you to quantify just what you need to do to achieve the benefits of digital transformation in your business. It provides you with logical milestones and targets to hit, with recognisable benefits along the way on your journey to reaching your end goal.
Let’s look at a few examples:
TMS ( Transport Management Systems)
Transportation management systems (TMS) are a vital part of a successful supply chain strategy. They enable you to plan and manage every stage of your supply chain journey, from initial order quotation and booking through transit monitoring and shipment release. Taking full advantage of the benefits of transportation management enables greater efficiency, which can lead to lower operation costs, higher customer satisfaction, higher sales and a stronger brand.
WMS (Warehouse Management Systems)
With customers and industries demanding ever shorter lead times, efficient warehouse management systems are at the forefront of managing such demand. To keep up with such a relentless pace, there must come a capable system strong enough to deal with all the tasks thrown at it on a day-to-day basis. Do you find yourself often falling short when it comes to managing your inventory?
All businesses will have the requirement to manage their employees efficiently, and that doesn’t just mean tasks on a day-to-day basis. If you’re struggling to keep up with how your team is doing, who is on annual leave, who’s in a business meeting, then it’s a sign that your systems are not as efficient as they should be.
Using modern technology, businesses can gain an understand of their consumer base like never before.
The first step of a digital transformation roadmap is to first identify the areas that you seek to improve. You might now be starting to think of the areas that you already know are weaknesses that you just deal with on a regular basis.
Creating a digital transformation roadmap allows organisations to pinpoint these weaknesses, communicate them across the business and begin to target effective solutions and improvements to better the organisation.
Fostering a culture supporting digital transformation encourages employees to constantly think of ways to improve their current processes and tasks. There are a multitude of reasons to create a digital transformation roadmap, including but not limited to:
Removing the time consuming, monotonous daily tasks and replacing them with automated, modernised and digital systems reduces the amount of time your employees spend on tasks. Significantly reducing the time spent on tasks, can allow organisations to free up resources, without the increased cost on hiring more employees.
Shorter lead times
Replacing outdated systems with modern inventory tracking solutions allows you to deal with the needs of your customers more effectively. Understanding demand and making sure you have inventory available at the right time, and ready to go to the right place, means that you can reduce the lead times for your customers and offer industry-leading service.
With the reduction of labour spent previously on the same tasks, you are effectively reducing the costs of business processes you just took for granted, increasing the amount of capital you have available to spend elsewhere within your business. With industry-leading lead times, customer satisfaction and repeat orders will ensure your revenue stream is looking stronger than ever
Does your organisation need a digital transformation roadmap?
Building a successful digital transformation roadmap seeks only to improve your business practices and make the tasks for you and your employees easier, more efficient, and more transparent. It brings a whole host of improvements to the workplace not just financially, but in terms of employee wellbeing too.
Your workforce will appreciate improved systems and procedures to carry out their tasks, saving them time and effort and freeing up their resources for you, your customers will benefit from improved levels of service and operational efficiency, and being able to meet their demand in record times and increase their satisfaction, and your internal and external stakeholders will benefit from the improved profitability and operational efficiency of your company across the board, paving the way for success and continued growth.
As the industry moves to adapt with the most modern technology and systems which are constantly being developed at blistering speeds, businesses who fail to adapt and keep up with continuous development and improvement of their systems will be left behind the competition. Make sure you have a digital transformation roadmap in place to ensure you remain at the peak of industry performance.