Are businesses ready to deal with digital change?

By Mark Barlow, September 7, 2017

Nobody wants to be left behind, but some of those rushing into the digital transformation arena will find themselves struggling to feel the benefits. Quite simply, they aren’t prepared for the journey. In this blog, we’ll look at the factors all organisations need to think about before they embark on digital change.

What is the business’s goal?

Any digital transformation should support the organisation’s goal, otherwise, there’s no point. As a crude example, if you’re an artist and your business is the production of portraits for which you may have two or three commissions a year, would digital technologies enhance your business or be an unnecessary expense and an irrelevance?

It must also be remembered that digital technology is a tool, not an outcome. Would adopting a certain technology influence the organisation’s business model and cause a change of direction? If so, is that revised business model appropriate and viable?

Is the finance available?

With digital transformation projects frequently costing more than initial estimates, it’s vital that there are sufficient funds available. A project that stalls through lack of finance, stops being a worthwhile investment in the future of a business and becomes a cost and drain on cash flow.

Will the culture support the change?

The human element of any organisation can be its biggest strength, but also a cause of friction, resistance and downright opposition. Will staff attitudes support the change? Putting in technology to support home working makes little sense if no one trusts those who choose to avoid the commute.

Is existing IT infrastructure something that can be built upon?

Adding the latest digital software platforms to an operation needs kit that is ready to handle it. Any compromises that impact upon functionality will undermine the anticipated benefits of the project and could easily build user dissatisfaction. It might be more appropriate to scale back the project to a single division and get it right, rather than choosing 50 per cent functionality across the whole enterprise.

Does the organisation have the right admin, policies and security framework in place?

A digital transformation project will push hard against boundaries. If it can’t deliver what it should or compromises security because of inappropriate policies, then something needs to change. The validity of internal rules and protocols needs to be reappraised.

Do the employees have the skills they need?

If not, can they acquire them organically or does the organisation need to recruit those with the knowledge required? Would it be better to upskill the existing workforce or bring in new staff to handle the altered workflow?

Will the change impact the organisation’s brand or reputation?

Assuming everything goes perfectly, will stakeholders outside the organisation see a difference? Will that change be positive or negative from their point of view? And, taking a pessimistic view for just a moment, what would be the wider impact on the brand of a project that caused problems for customers or impacted adversely on shareholder value?

Who will lead the transformation project?

It’s vital that the project is led by someone with passion, drive and commitment to delivering change. The leader needs to be someone who understands the business culture and must be capable of influencing others to back the project. The balance here is delicate – they should have authority, but they shouldn’t use it to steamroller ideas through. They should be prepared to listen and address concerns. Preferably, they will be independent of the sales or IT teams where conflicts of interest could be a problem.

Is the business prepared to listen?

Recognising that other organisations may have expertise and experience their business lacks is not a weakness but a strength. It allows organisations to choose partners to support the change. For example, it would be naïve to assume that all users will quickly get to grips with so-called intuitive technology. Many don’t, and the issue of low-rates of adoption compromises success in many projects. Expert solutions like ADOPT can make all the difference.

Is the business prepared for the long-haul?

Assuming that digital transformation is a process that has a defined end-point is short sighted. Technology continues to evolve; therefore, the organisation must be ready to do the same.

If you’d like to discuss your organisation’s preparedness for a digital change project speak to our sales team: https://www.applearn.com/request-a-demo/