Today, embracing technology is vital to your company’s growth, but many senior professionals are apprehensive about embarking on the journey of digital transformation.
Assumptions about transformation often prevent leaders from fully adopting digital strategies, in the fear that they might negatively impact budget, deter employees and customers or because they don’t feel confident enough in understanding digital to make that leap. However, so many of these perceived obstacles are actually myths, and digital transformation can have multiple benefits for a business.
Here at Stefanini, we have debunked ten of the most pressing myths surrounding digital transformation, to help you make a more confident decision about what’s right for your business:
1. Digital transformation will drain your budget
One of the most pressing concerns for many businesses is the impact on budget. Digital transformation can be daunting and associating a big project with big spend is common. However, it’s more important to focus on how money is spent than on how much is spent.
For example, cloud-based technologies and subscription-led services are great enablers of digital transformation; they’re affordable and businesses of every size can utilise them without breaking the bank. In fact, Stefanini’s Innovation Survey found that only 10% of EMEA organisations felt budget was the biggest obstacle preventing digital transformation.
2. Digital transformation isn’t for small companies
For small businesses, the benefits of integrating digital technology are sometimes unclear. Digital transformation can help a young business to grow, working hard to make it more discoverable. 13% of organisations who took part in our Innovation Survey said that the most important benefit of digital technology was helping to grow and retain a client base.
Additionally, as flexible working becomes more popular, accommodating employees who might choose to clock in remotely or work outside of normal hours is easily done with cloud-based technologies, meaning the possibilities for smaller businesses are endless.
3. I’ll lose my employees to digital transformation
Some managers fear that digital transformation will lessen the need for experienced workers or that existing staff won’t be able to cope with the new processes that accompany new technology, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
In reality, businesses are better off when they introduce digital technology that supports and suits the existing skills of the workforce. Technology can be used to automate certain processes, freeing up more time for employees to focus time on the strategic work. Creative planning, for example, can’t be done with technology.
4. Digital transformation only matters for tech and IT companies
Many senior managers who don’t understand the capabilities of digital technology are unaware of the benefits it can have in their business – some with a view that it only applies to the technology and IT sectors – but it’s actually useful in the vast majority of industries, and in time, will come to impact them all.
Take radiofrequency identification (RFID) bands as an example. You might not readily associate this technology with an industry such as travel and tourism industry, but it can be used in hotel room keys, ride tickets or methods of payment for example.
5. Digital transformation and digitisation are the same thing
It’s easy to get muddled up when you aren’t familiar with technical jargon; for example, digital transformation and digitisation aren’t quite the same. Digitisation is taking a process and improving it – so, making it easier, faster or cheaper. Essentially, taking the same process, and doing it differently. On the other hand, digital transformation is the process of implementing new technology which can enhance existing assets to create new value for customers.
While the two aren’t wildly different, their effect is. Digitisation might make things simpler within the business, but digital transformation can enable expansion into new markets and lead to the creation of new products, appealing to new customers.
6. Digital transformation won’t take long
The reality is that, when done effectively, digital transformation is likely to take a lot of time. While many think of it as a quick, single project, digital transformation actually encompasses the whole process of enhancing business procedures.
In our Innovation Survey, only 6% reported seeing growing revenue and reduced costs as benefits of digital transformation, suggesting that profits aren’t made overnight. Don’t worry though; these results aren’t unexpected. It’s entirely normal for it to take some time to see a return, depending on the technologies implemented and the size of investment.
7. Digital transformation is all down to IT, nobody else needs to worry
This myth is an extremely common one, as digital transformation is often driven by the IT department, but they’re not wholly responsible for the entire process. It needs to be pioneered by leadership and involve all other staff, too. Our Innovation Survey revealed that the main barrier to digital transformation was a lack of support from top management, so educating senior staff is vital.
Recruiting a specific team for digital transformation is a good strategy, and having a board member on the team is a great idea, too.
8. Every company needs an extreme digital transformation
When some leaders hear the term ‘digital transformation’, it can send their brain into overload. Questioning your current processes and trying to work out how they can be upgraded digitally can be complex. But remember, if your business already has an effective model, it’s not always necessary to overhaul all operations.
There are likely to be a couple of areas, where technology can make workers’ jobs easier. The whole process is about sustainable change, not drastic changes which might be counterproductive.
9. Digital transformation means updating the website and creating an app
At the other end of the scale, it’s easy to think of ‘going digital’ as simply updating the way that you communicate with customers; perhaps with a new website or an app. Digital transformation should go much deeper than that. There are a huge number of potential approaches when it comes to digital transformation, both internally and externally. So, it’s important to work out exactly what you want to achieve before you rush in.
10. Digital transformation can wait
When myths like these are deterring you from taking digital transformation on, it’s easy to put it off. The longer you leave it though, the further behind your competitors you could potentially be.
Additionally, digital transformation can be used as a response to new market demands. Loyal customers are intangible assets, adding great value to a business, and their needs should be consistently met.
Our Innovation Survey showed that, actually, most companies have started their journey. An encouraging 70% said that their progress with digital transformation was either intermediate or advanced, showing that those companies that haven’t yet started but want to keep up with the market, need to get going.
At Stefanini, we know that there’s no exact recipe for the ever-changing digital environment that businesses must now be a part of. So, we’re happy to guide you through the process, with our Agile services and consulting.
For more information, visit our agile development page.