With the ever-rising dependence of organizations on technology for performing daily tasks, primarily through the internet and cloud, digital transformation is no longer a choice but a vital need. For most organizations, the condition of the hour is “to go digital or die”.
Digital transformation is a process that necessitates investment in newer technologies, processes, people, and systems to transform how businesses function in the digital economy. It is, in fact, the transformation of the whole culture of the office where the process becomes more automated and digitalized and affects every unit of an organization.
Digital transformation, therefore, is not always an easy undertaking for organizations, irrespective of sizes – big or small. Businesses face several digital challenges as they attempt to change the way of doing business. This article identifies the top challenges faced by them, moreover the steps to resolve them.
1. Finding the Right Leadership
One of the biggest challenges that businesses are facing today revolves around finding effective leadership. Without an influential leader – whether that be a department or an individual – companies will struggle to complete even the most mundane tasks. This is especially true when considering digital transformation. Businesses attempting to embrace the new digital economy and the change that comes with it will quickly realize the importance of an experienced leader with good judgment and action-oriented values.
Above all, business leaders must be able to adopt a positive digital mindset. They must be able to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape and embrace new operating and business models. This is vital for constant engagement with investors, employees, customers, and suppliers via cross-channel connectivity. For an effective transformation process, a top executive in the organization tree needs to set the tone of what to be expected. The style employed will determine if it will go well or badly with the company’s growth.
2. Enhancing Customer Experience
Modern-day customers expect a lot from businesses. They demand responsiveness and a streamlined customer journey across touchpoints. Moreover, customers wish to receive help in real-time, i.e., exactly when they need it. If the customer can interact with a brand online and order products from home — nothing can be better. Standing in the long queues is a thing of the past as digitalization slowly and gradually takes over.
Many businesses are not well-equipped to enhance the customer experience and provide the kind of service and attention that customers expect. This is because their core values and business practices are far way back the time, and they’re finding it difficult to innovate and catch up with the trends.
If the digital transformation is not embraced – if businesses do not begin to adapt their mindset and adjust their business practices to align with the shift – the gap between what customers want and what the company has to offer will keep growing. In today’s competitive economy, this could utterly destabilize an organization.
3. Engagement of Employees
Earlier, there have been a relatively well-defined set of groups within an organization. These units tended to interact within themselves and typically didn’t go out of their way to interact with others beyond the bare minimum required for completing projects. We can say the same about power hierarchy.
A few decades ago, it was more likely for the employees to communicate with their organization’s head personally. With particular groups, inter-communication throughout the organization, particularly a large one, was not a necessity.
Today, employees have access to a whole host of different tools for contacting their employers or coworkers. While it’s certainly true that not every employee has had personal conversations with their CEO, it is equally valid that the likelihood of such a conversation has increased exponentially with the dawn of the digital transformation.
4. Dealing with Competition
It is important to note that digital transformation is not restricted to a single country, demography, or particular generation. On the contrary, globalization seems to blend quite well with the demands of digital transformation. As this trend continues and each process begins to become popular, businesses with digital innovation will soon find themselves with increased competition from all over the world.
Consumers accustomed to the digital economy and the digital transformation and globalization processes can now purchase from almost anywhere in the world. With the increasingly advanced shipping methodologies, a user in North America could make an order for an item in Africa and receive it within a few days, provided, they are willing to pay for the privilege. This means brands are becoming progressively drawn to the idea of becoming a “super brand”.
Superbrands cover a large swath of the market by offering various services and products that span from cell phones to sporting gear. As these brands gain strength and become more prevalent, “regular” businesses might find themselves at a loss when attracting and keeping their target audience’s attention.
5. Handling the Talent Confrontation
As the business landscape continues to change and shift into something new and unprecedented, individuals will develop specific skills and experience, which are very important. Likely, there won’t be enough of these individuals initially to meet demands, which means that businesses will find themselves at war with one another in the fight for talent acquisition.
Possibly, businesses will aggressively pursue the individuals they believe can help transform their company for the digital era and do so at both the talent and managerial levels. It will become quite tricky to hang on to these employees until the supply increases to meet the demand – or until the demand shifts entirely.
6. Changing the Company Culture
As has been discussed extensively throughout this paper, digital transformation will affect businesses on all levels. It includes sections like employee role and production, as well as inter-company communication and marketing strategy. Because the change must be so all-encompassing, the company culture must align with the new values dictated by the digital transformation and the digital economy.
Unfortunately, changing a company’s culture is not easy. It’s cited as one of the biggest challenges the digital transformation present-day businesses are facing.
After all, that shouldn’t be surprising; company culture is deeply ingrained into every employee and helps a company feel united. The idea of changing that culture, then, becomes a daunting task full of new rules, new mission statements, new advertising campaigns and training methods, and much more.
It’s a big undertaking. However, it’s a vital one. Companies that don’t find a way to align their company culture with digital transformation will have a more challenging time adapting to new business models and new ideas about employees’ changing roles.
7. Ensuring Availability of Resources
While briefly touched upon above, the topic of resources and availability is an important one and warrants its section. As the digital transformation continues to change the way business is done, there will emerge areas of expertise required to thrive in the new business landscape. The skills and techniques that go along will quickly come into high demand as companies strive to adjust rapidly and thoroughly to the digital transformation and digital economy.
While individuals can always learn new skills to help fill the rising demand,
this takes time and money. All businesses will most likely pursue those who already possess the knowledge. Hiring one of them shall be a difficult task.
Likewise, as technology changes and continues to innovate the business landscape, businesses are likely to find themselves vying for the “latest and greatest” bit of technology available. Those resources shall be more functional than others – and due to high demand, they might not be available at all.
8. Employee Pushback
It’s possible of employees not liking the change, and a digital transformation will be a significant change.
It is natural for employees to be wary of any substantial change. They might be concerned about potential job loss, additional work responsibilities, changes to their role, inability to keep up with the new processes etc.
While planning to move forward with a digital transformation in a company, it must have solutions ready to help employees accept and even embrace this move.
Take time to evaluate and understand the goals necessary for adapting digital shift and inform how it might impact each organization’s section. The more informed the employees are, the less likely it is for them to push back.
Keeping up with the latest technology while still understanding and adapting to the digital shift is demanding. Rapid transformations are regularly occurring internally. Technology complements human work rather than simply replacing it, therefore rather than taking it as a challenge. One should look to utilize it as a tool to engage collaboration and smooth running of projects. Instead of displacing jobs, these new tools should pioneer a way to engage individuals and push further the collaboration with the technology. Investing in a digital strategy is very crucial to staying ahead of the growth curve because the challenge to maintain the pace is genuine.
The transformation of security is important for a successful digital transformation. Some of the largest companies have fallen victim to cyber-attacks.
COVID-19 forced businesses, large and small, to finally shift all data and functioning to the cloud. Cloud migration takes application security to the next level, primarily when all of your software systems reside in a singular, unifying Digital Adoption Platform.
Sometimes companies choose to delay strengthening their security systems, which might lead-heavy exploited vulnerabilities.
Rather than seeing digital security as a challenge, one should leverage it to accelerate digital transformation initiatives.
However, there are things to stay ahead of the curve.
How Businesses Can Overcome These Challenges
Initially, this might seem like businesses face trouble with little hope of effective restructuring to meet the digital transformation’s growing needs. It is quite possible to embrace new company culture and create the kind of customer and employee experience that will serve the business well long into the future. It requires a little forethought and creative thinking, which isn’t hard to generate.
When looking at customer experience, it’s essential to keep in mind the issues of good leadership, company culture, and customer engagement. All of these issues are interrelated.
Suppose a business has a great leader who attempts to roll out innovative and practical ideas about improving customer experience but has employees who are not engaged and couldn’t care less about the company or its culture. In that case, the customer experience will likely remain subpar.
Likewise, if a company has poor leadership and culture, it doesn’t matter how skilled their employees are – their ability to ensure a great customer experience will be pretty limited.
However, Companies can fix these issues more or less at the same time. Businesses should embrace their employees’ new role and use them as brand advocates who regularly interact with customers on social media and professional channels. This shall help create engaged employees and customers who have access to the attention and service they have come to expect of today’s businesses.
A great leader can help pull all of this together – and while it might take some time to locate the perfect candidate, they do exist. Businesses can make the search easier by clearly highlighting what their leader will need to do and what skills will be most important.
This will help them narrow down the applicants and close in on a leader who will fit their needs and their company. Additionally, a business with a good leader and engaged employees is likely to embrace a changing company culture much more readily than others.
This can further be smoothed over by allowing the leader to collaborate with coworkers to design a new set of values and mission statements to be distributed among company employees. Various training sessions and seminars can help more firmly entrench the idea of unique values in everyone who works.
Effective Business Models
Throughout this paper, there have been discussions regarding the necessity for reconfiguring business methods and approaches, but not much about what kind of approach would work best to adapt to the digital transformation. The best thing that today’s businesses can do is change their business models to place a greater emphasis on digital technology trends, partner & customer collaboration and interaction.
This kind of model serves as a hybrid of sorts, branching the physical and digital to help a business provide excellent, focused service to all of its customers. It’s also one that can be further adapted in the future, making it an ideal choice for businesses that intend to ride out the digital transformation and see it through to the end.
When it comes to ensuring the availability of talent and technology, a bit of forethought is necessary. Businesses must consider where they believe the market is headed and keep an eye out for individuals who possess the required skills to succeed.
They should anticipate the need for new and evolving job positions and be selective in their hiring selection. This will help ensure they are not behind the curve when it comes to talent acquisition. The same can be said for technology. Businesses must consider what innovations are likely to change their fields and attempt to “future proof” their technology investments as much as possible.