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Definition: Digital transformation

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is a broad term used to describe the process of positively transforming various aspects of an organization—whether that’s how you work internally, the customer experience you provide, or the company culture you promote—via digital technologies.

However, an effective digital transformation strategy isn’t just about adopting the latest and greatest digital technologies and expecting them to work miracles. It’s also about making sure you have the right working culture in place to ensure the technologies are readily adopted and embedded into a company’s values, directly supporting future growth initiatives.

The right combination of people, process and technology are foundational for an effective digital experience.

What are the benefits of an effective digital transformation strategy?

From reinventing company culture to driving higher product innovation, digital transformation enables organizations to achieve more through technology and fulfil ever-changing market requirements.

While every organization has their own unique set of issues, challenges, and goals that can be achieved via digital transformation, there are many shared benefits such as an improved customer experience, operational agility, workforce enablement, and efficient scalability, to mention only a few.

For companies embracing digital transformation, long-standing business processes that become obsolete and outdated can be reinvented and improved upon, pioneering relatively new and ever-evolving practices and digital technologies.

If you need some resources on how to drive an effective digital transformation strategy at your own organization, check out our definitive digital transformation toolkit.

How to start digitally transforming your business

Digital transformation can mean a complete overhaul of your tools, tech, systems, and processes. But it can also be scaled down to some simple, straightforward activities that ensure your company is technically future-proofed while controlling costs.

Here are some of the first steps you can take to digitally transform your business.

Conduct a digital readiness assessment

Before embarking on a digital transformation journey, it is essential to assess your business's digital readiness. This will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats and form the foundation for your digital transformation strategy. You can conduct a digital readiness assessment internally or hire a consultant to do it for you. The assessment should cover areas such as technology infrastructure, digital skills and capabilities, customer experience, and data security and management.

Develop a digital transformation strategy

Based on the findings of your digital readiness assessment, you can develop a digital transformation strategy that aligns with your business objectives and customer needs. The strategy should prioritize the areas that require immediate attention and identify the digital initiatives that will help you achieve your goals. It should also include a roadmap, timeline, and budget for implementing the initiatives.

Start small

As we mentioned at the beginning of this section, there is no need to dive in straight at the deep end and try to do everything at once. Start small, build on successes and keep monitoring your progress as you go. Identify ‘quick wins’ that address the specific needs and goals of your business and prioritize those, particularly opportunities that will offer the most benefit to your customers. Talk to your peers and get recommendations for how they have approached their own digital transformation and adapt any relevant guidance to suit your business requirements.

Optimize your website

Improving your website is one of the most cost-effective ways to digitally transform your business. You can start by optimizing your website for mobile devices, improving your website speed, and ensuring that your website is user-friendly and easy to navigate. You can also consider adding features such as live chat, chatbots, or a customer portal to enhance the customer experience.

Don’t forget to keep a close eye on your website analytics so you can get to grips with what’s working and where you can make improvements.

Work with the right partners

Whether you are making sure security protocols are up to scratch or adopting a secure system to manage your digital assets, you need to partner with businesses that can support you as your company grows and evolves. As your digital portfolio expands your integration requirements are likely to become more complex, which can be a challenge to smaller businesses. Always make sure that the tools and tech you invest in can be integrated seamlessly with your other platforms, whether that is out of the box or via an API. Find out more about our partnerships and integrations.