The digital transformation jungle survival guide

The journey towards digital transformation is seeing underprepared enterprises fall victim to predatory competitors and traps caused by business complexities.

The transformation process is proving difficult for the vast majority, particularly traditional businesses that are being usurped by rivals that are better prepared to scale and deliver quickly under pressure.

Enterprises embarking upon the path to digital transformation have a simple choice: eat or be eaten. In other words, they must disrupt or be disrupted – but they also have to be careful of moving too fast.

This is exactly where the majority of enterprises are finding themselves – racing to keep up with the pace of change, yet falling into traps and tripping over significant business challenges.

>See also: The right side of disruption: why digital transformation is the new kingmaker

The agility trap

While businesses are actively prioritising digital transformation, the challenges they encounter in the process of implementing it mean that the faster they try to move the slower the process becomes.

Bizagi recently researched over 1,000 businesses worldwide and found that one third (34%) currently have a high level of active digital transformation projects, while 50% have a moderate level of activity and just under half (46%) have significant plans for future projects.

But despite their willingness, the vast majority are not ready to embrace digital transformation.

The complexity of the process is the main barrier – 70% of businesses said transformation efforts are undermined by internal complexity, and nearly two in three (63%) claimed their business systems cannot cope with the switch to digital. Furthermore, nearly nine in ten companies worldwide (87%) said they find digital transformation ‘a significant challenge’.

This clearly shows the journey through the digital transformation jungle is fraught with danger for the majority of businesses. Therefore, prior to setting off on their digital expedition, enterprises must keep three considerations in mind.

1. Keep on moving

Deciphering an organisation’s barriers to change is vital, but they can be extremely varied. Considerations include how agile and flexible the current infrastructure is, whether the business runs on legacy IT systems, and whether databases allow staff to access data on the move and make real-time decisions.

However, half of the businesses researched admitted they are either resistant to or have mixed views towards digital transformation. This is leaving businesses ensnared in traps that can only be avoided by addressing important considerations around change culture, risk factors and agility.

Many businesses are being lured into the trap of operational silos, which occur when data is not shared across the organisation and processes are not connected.

This can cause serious grief for customers, who will become disillusioned by companies that aren’t able to track their customer journey, conversations they have had with various departments within the business, and a general lack of understanding of their unique issue.

2. Don’t move too fast

Hitting the accelerator on digital transformation too quickly can be catastrophic for organisations.

For example, a well-known UK bank tried to get a head start on its competitors by delivering mobile banking apps when the smartphone craze kicked off.

Customers swiftly seized on the offering only for it to crash at the height of the Christmas period, locking users out of their accounts on all channels and incurring a public crisis as they took to social media when their calls to the bank were not answered.

To avoid similar digital journey disasters, enterprises must ensure they fully understand their transformation drivers and the associated risks.

For example, the competitive threat from rivals is often associated with a lack of budget, while the greatest risk in meeting higher levels of customer expectation is a lack of leadership knowledge.

3. Be ready for anything

Prior to embarking on the digital transformation journey it is vital to establish a clear understanding of the business and take a considered, well-planned and process-led approach.

This means clearly identifying the aims, the operational or infrastructure challenges that may lie ahead, the processes that will be required, and any potential pitfalls that may occur along the way.

>See also: The traps of digital transformation: it’s a tool, not a target

It’s also important to champion processes and technologies that encourage innovation and collaboration. To get to this point, digital innovators within the business should lead the charge by introducing new collaboration ideas and methods across silos and departments.

Underpinning all of this digital change is the importance of the customer. Four in five of the businesses surveyed said the pace of change in their industry is increasing due to customer expectations – so enterprises cannot afford to stand still and ignore it.

The smarter way to navigate the digital jungle – avoiding and escaping the traps that lie in waiting – is to utilise agile, wrap-around technologies, smart processes and a collaborative mind-set.

It’s a jungle out there with a ream of risks and potential pitfalls but, by drawing up clearly thought-out plans and mapping the required processes, businesses can successfully navigate the path to digital transformation.


Sourced from Gustavo Gomez, CEO, Bizagi

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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