Digitalization is a radical change that affects an organization from A to Z. So, not surprisingly, it has changed the game’s rules culturally, organizationally, and operationally. Therefore, more companies have started considering digitalizing to increase their productivity and effectiveness. According to a previous survey1, 70% of participants claimed that their businesses either have a digitalization strategy or are developing one. So far, so good, but an attempt for digital transformation without strong muscles would only be hit-and-miss. That is why we want to share the 4 essential muscles your company must strengthen before your digitalization journey.
1. Security first
Here is a sensitive topic: data is everything. Although beneficial, moving to a digital world might pose some risks to companies. After transferring the company’s information repository -initially marketing strategies, customer and employee information, and financial data- online attacks might lurk around. Having concerns about privacy and cybersecurity is totally comprehensible but also preventable. Therefore, at the beginning of their digitalization journey, organizations must have a robust cybersecurity plan created by a cybersecurity expert who identifies and minimizes their online vulnerabilities.
2. A change management strategy
Imagine you are driving down a dark road. As you drive, the car’s headlights illuminate the road, and you slowly begin to predict your next move. Well, this is not the case for digitalization: you must foresee the big picture from the very beginning and know what exactly you want to transform. This can only be accomplished with a detailed change management strategy. As mentioned before2, organizations with a thorough change management strategy are 6x more likely to meet or exceed digital transformation objectives.
As you can probably imagine, this topic deserves a separate article. Still, we can summarize an effective change management strategy as an extensive plan that includes the cultural adaptation of employees and stakeholders to physical improvement of IT-related needs, crafting a transformation vision to reviewing and analyzing the results later. Of course, it is not possible to predict everything that might potentially go wrong in a process. But, if your all-in change management strategy is ready, you will plow on stronger.
3. An effective communication plan
Before leaving any comfort zone, resistance might be shown up. And it is fair: digitalization is more than just implementing new technologies to your business; instead, a completely innovative and reshaping process. Companies must understand that this is a long journey, and people’s daily lives, struggles, and working habits will sharply change. According to Gartner, 73% of change-affected employees report experiencing moderate to high-stress levels, and those suffering from change-related stress perform 5% worse than the average employee.
Employees who feel like their voices are heard will be more motivated to contribute their best work toward achieving company goals. When leaders, employees, customers and stakeholders are harmonious about changing in a specific direction, the process progresses much faster and easier. Therefore, organizations must create an effective, empathy-centered communication plan months before they start digitalizing.
4. A high-performing IT team
A previous study3 mentioned that, 54% of businesses claim that a shortage of technically trained workers is why they cannot achieve their digital transformation goals. A talented, in-house IT team is indeed vital for a digitalization process that flows appropriately. When a new technology emerges during the process, it is also possible to hire a dedicated specialist, especially in cybersecurity and technical architectures. But companies that want to hit two birds with one stone can also educate their current employees, which will positively affect employee loyalty.
Digital transformation is a long, active process
Companies must know that digitalization will not be completed overnight after improving these 4 skills and finally starting. It is a long journey full of ups and downs. So, throughout this process, companies must be agile, keep a close eye on the technology world and actively update their plans. Once they recognize that this is a living process, everything will progress more naturally and robustly: so, they will inevitably start to see the fruits of their labor.