Digital transformation is the most important topic of conversation in virtually every company gearing up for the modern future. And if it’s not, it should be.
There are a lot of misconceptions going around about the definition of digital transformation.
So, what is the accurate definition of Digital Transformation?
Digital Transformation is the process of reimagining the idea of business and creating new or modifying existing business models, processes, and culture to meet the changing market requirements of the digital age.
It’s easy to misunderstand digital transformation as going paperless, or establishing yourself on social media, or forming Agile development teams, something to do with AI, or just buying new subscriptions of sales and customer support tools.
But, it’s not just one thing or the other. Rather, it’s all of them and so much more.
Let’s break down the concepts of digital transformation into digestible sections so that it’s not overwhelming and instead, informative.
Examples of Digital Transformation
If you’re anything like me, you don’t like to waste time reading about the things that don’t work. So, let’s start with a couple of interesting examples.
Have you heard of this little book shop called Amazon? Well, it’s not little anymore, but it used to be back in 1994. Since then, Amazon has constantly undergone a series of digital transformations keeping up with the trends of digital innovations and setting their own every step of the way. And, right now in 2020, Amazon is one of the biggest empires of the modern world, with the rumored valuation of $1 trillion, and the valuation is projected to reach $2 trillion by 2023.
The above image tells a brief story about what Amazon did over the span of 20 years or so, however, it doesn’t tell you how they did it.
Amazon is not the only company to make the most of digital transformation.
Netflix used to be a brick and mortar video rental company.
Microsoft, Apple, Target, you name it. If we were to pinpoint one thing common between the biggest companies in the world today, it’s their successful implementation of digital transformation.
It’s even more interesting that these companies successfully implemented and leveraged the power of going digital before there was even a term called “digital transformation”. Back in the day, there were no sets of rules, no defined strategies, and the radical process which orients organizations to drive maximum value towards new and existing customers through the use of digital technology was simply referred to as “Business Transformation”, which we now know as Digital Transformation.
The term Digital Transformation was invented in 2011 by a group of people at MIT and CapGemini Consulting.
Now, this might raise another question.
Is Digital Transformation Strategy Only Accessible to Huge Companies with an Endless Budget?
The short answer is No.
In fact, digital transformation has never been more easily accessible than today. Companies of all sizes, both enterprise, and small businesses have optimized their business strategy for digital transformation. Also, we are currently in the new wave of global digital transformation, which has opened doors to multiple ways of going about how to build and innovate custom digital solutions for your business.
We know this because we have helped hundreds of clients on their journey to a smooth digital transformation.
We are humbly considered thought leaders and trusted by organizations like Microsoft, Laudio, Keller, and many more.
Most recently, we worked with Seattle Visiting Nurse Association to digitally transform their organization through our Digital Transformation team at Signetic. We were able to smoothen their workflow by taking their operation digital and drive their mission of providing immunization to people. (All of which was done in the first few months of the Covid-19 outbreak.)
Read more about our work with SVNA in this article from Microsoft cloudblogs.
Framework for Digital Transformation: Strategy, Roadmap, and Implementation
A digital transformation framework can be defined as a blueprint for how an organization can navigate through making significant changes to keep up with the changing business and market landscape.
Avoid reinventing the wheel
Don’t worry, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel and create your own framework. There are a bunch of tried and tested methods. So, we want to disclose our version of the tried and tested framework here at Leapfrog Technology.
We have simplified how we do things by breaking it down into four components.
- Understanding the Customer Experience
- Digitize Products and Services
- Modernize Operations through Agile Approach
- Reimagine the Organization Digitally
We must confess, our workflow is a lot similar to the Digital Transformation Framework by Cognizant as it is also based on Agile workflow.
Here’s a white paper by Cognizant that can help you understand the Digital Transformation Framework even better.
Understanding the Customer Experience
We can use the latest tools and make the most optimized software but at the end of the day, we only have one goal: Serve Customers.
Everyone starts with the goal to enhance the customer experience and provide the maximum value. However, it’s equally easy to get lost in the process and be overwhelmed with other factors, like sorting through technological features, finding the right Solutions company, keeping the company culture intact, and so on.
Enhancing Customer Experience is not a goal, it’s a process
One of the ways we have managed to keep ourselves in check here at Leapfrog is to treat the process of digitizing customer experience as a process as opposed to the end goal.
If we’re building a product, we want to make sure that the end-user is actually satisfied with the app we have built.
If we’re digitizing operations for a company, we want to make sure that we’re doing our absolute best to put the customers first.
Let’s take an example from our own experience in working with Seattle Visiting Nursing Association, we had a bunch of project goals, milestones, and all of that. All of which, let’s be honest, was designed to help make SVNA’s operation smoother, easier, and more profitable. But, making a simple mindset shift on how we viewed our main objective made a whole lot of difference.
Defining our main objective as Let’s make it as easy as possible for the customers to receive flu vaccinations during this ongoing pandemic, as opposed to maybe, let’s deliver as many flu shots as possible; we were able to come up with the best operational solutions for the organization to help them drive their mission forward.
Watch this video where Ben Walters, the Senior Product Manager at Microsoft, discusses the technical learnings of SVNA with Jake Scherf, CEO of SVNA.
Digitize Products and Services
It’s almost tiring to see the word “Digitize” 20 times in an article. But unfortunately, it can’t be helped.
The core idea of digitizing products and services during a digital transformation actually has nothing to do with technology. Remember, technology is a means to an end, the end being the experience.
Think of it this way, do you want to build an app for your service because your customers would benefit from the experience provided by an app? Or, do you want to build an app because everyone says apps are cool now?
Digitizing products and services is about the experience you can provide to your customers. You might have the best product or the most useful service in the world, but it’s only as useful as the experience you can provide. And, that’s 100% fair. Customers should get the most amazing experience for the price they’re paying.
The concept isn’t new by any means though, it’s just digital now.
Let’s take an example of shopping malls, like Walmart or Target. There is a reason their physical stores have different shelves for different products aligned a certain way, placed in a certain corner, and it’s all for one uniform goal. You guessed it, provide the best experience to the customers.
Modernizing Operations through Agile Approach
IT organizations have been working with Agile practices for a while now, and Leapfrog Technology has been able to successfully adopt Agile practices since its inception. But, let’s drop the technical jargon and focus on what digitizing operations actually mean in the Digital Transformation framework.
Operation is such a vague term as it includes everything from daily activities and team coordinations to manufacturing and logistics.
You might have heard, A large number of companies have decided to move through their digital transformation journey faster due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first step most companies took was to digitize the daily operations to achieve a smooth transition to remote work. This includes everything from Zoom calls to Google suite services.
But, not everything is as easily accessible and certain parts of your operations might need to be custom-built to go 100% digital.
For example, more and more companies are trying to figure out how to use big data analytics to improve their logistics and track product movements.
Another aspect of modernizing operations is also to figure out where change is needed. For instance, globally sourcing processes can substantially reduce your day-to-day operations cost, which will prove significant in your next quarterly revenue metrics.
Digitizing the Organization
For the longest time, digital transformation was being viewed as a cost-cutting measure, but now the organizations are beginning to see the bigger picture. By transitioning to digital platforms, the organizations are now able to easily access all the data, measure their efficiencies as well as the inadequacies, and build for the future.
Digital Transformation allows the organization to focus on what’s truly important, create added value for the customers, which might be through new products, value chains, and many more. It also allows the teams within the corporate cultures to communicate more effectively and almost break the traditional silos. One direct impact this can have is making the decision making time shorter and function nimbly like a startup.
Function like a startup has been one of the core values within Leapfrog. And, we have also managed to extend our expertise of being nimble onto our partner companies. This process directly influences product development, reacting to the customers’ suggestions and everyday operations.
How to do Digital Transformation Right in 2020?
There are always more ways to do something wrong than doing them right. Something quintessential for the current modern-day organizations is the value of resources.
To put it bluntly, you can’t do everything yourself. No matter how big you are, you are not too big to outsource and offshore some of the operations of your organization.
Trust issues might be the biggest factor preventing businesses from going into global sourcing, however, the world isn’t the same as it used to be and you will be amazed to find out how effective it can be.
You are not too Big to Outsource
Even if it’s a significant component of your digital transformation process that you want to keep a close eye on, you can probably just let an IT solutions company build it. And the reality is, they will probably be faster and understand your needs better simply due to their qualified experiences.
It’s almost shocking how a lot of companies are still holding back on this key asset and treating it as a luxury.
In-house development might just turn into a thing of the past because of the resource and time it takes to figure out a new development process.
Think of it this way, you wouldn’t buy milk and cream and make your own ice cream. You could, but you wouldn’t. It’s a lot cheaper and less time consuming to just buy ice cream.
Now, we are not ice cream makers, but we have built products for hundreds of companies across the globe and built quite a reputation for ourselves. So, if you wanted to build something, or just need consultation for your digital transformation journey, we could help you. Just head on to this link.
Here are 5 more reasons why you should invest in Digital Transformation in 2020.
How can I Get Started?
You’ve read the examples, you’ve learned the framework, you know you need to start your digital transformation journey. Or, maybe you have already started and you want to speed it up. Well, let us help you further by actually breaking down the process into five bite-sized steps that you can follow.
Maintain Transparency with your Team
A Cultural shift can be tricky, especially when your employees and team members do not know they are going through one. Digital transformation changes the way an organization operates for the better and it also changes the company culture. But, it doesn’t have to be messy and haphazard and reactive. While everything probably won’t go according to plan, maintaining transparency with your team about the company’s plans can prevent unnecessary future headaches.
There might also be misconceptions within your team about how digital transformation is going to lead to cost-cutting and lay-offs. And, you can take care of these misunderstandings right from the get-go.
Figure out the Parts of your Organization that needs to be Digitized first
The thought of digital transformation can seem overwhelming and it will be if you don’t prioritize based on your particular needs. Every organization functions differently and you need to understand where to start.
Like we have talked about in the entirety of this article, it’s a step by step process. You will need to talk to your employees, analyze what’s taking the most amount of time in day-to-day operations and you might even need to re-evaluate your business model.
Here’s a brief guide on how to figure out your digital transformation journey.
Find the Right People and Tools to Digitize your Day-to-Day Operations
The one-man-army is such a cool term, but it’s incorrect, it’s a myth.
Bottom line is, you wouldn’t walk 5 miles to work instead of taking a cab. You could, but you shouldn’t. And, that’s exactly what we mean by finding the right people, or it might be a right off-shore solution. Right people can help you figure out or even build the right tools.
The final decision is always going to be yours and you get to decide which components are better sourced offshore or taken care of internally.
In our experience, organizations that work proven digital transformation solutions companies or consultants are able to make the transition faster.
According to a study on Outsourcing conducted by Deloitte in 2016, companies outsourcing the components of their business processes were able to accelerate their digital transformation 17% faster. The companies were also able to control costs by up to 59%, which is insane when you calculate the amount to your own yearly review.
Keep Data Security and Data Ethics in Mind
For example’s sake. Let’s say, you were moving all your paper records to the cloud. Yes, it would take a lot of time, resources, and all of that. However, one of the most important priorities for the organization has to be about keeping the data secure.
The how-tos are important but it’s vital to realize that data is the most important asset in the world right now and your ability to use it properly and keep it secure speaks volumes about the grit and ambitions of your organization.
Think about your Clients
After everything’s said and done, everything reverts to the clients/customers once again. It’s a continuous cycle. Whether you’re buying a new email tool or a new delivery van, everything’s for the greater good of the customers.
So, after every step, ask yourself, will this make it easier for you to serve the customers? There’s only one right answer.
Simplicity is a forgotten treasure on the Internet, and the statement also holds true when it comes to digital transformation. It’s not about the number of applications you use. It’s whether or not you get the job done, which translates to whether or not your customers are happy with you. If you can answer yes to both of those statements, you are on the right path.
The goal of this blog was to provide one comprehensive article to cover everything about Digital Transformation, at least in brief, but that wasn’t possible. We have more articles on digital transformation here, and if you want to talk to an expert from Leapfrog, please follow this link. We will take care of you.
Book a Free 30 minutes Consultation about how Leapfrog can help you bring digital transformation to your business.