In today’s tech-driven society, businesses need to embrace digital transformation in order to survive. CIO Review notes that digital transformation is a catalyst for innovation, which can involve adopting hi-tech infrastructure, the Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). However, there are two main obstacles to digital transformation: the human barrier and lack of expertise. Here is a closer look at both, along with ways to overcome each.
The Human Barrier
The Corporate Startup author Tendayi Viki identifies humans as the main obstacle to digital transformation. This is especially true for companies that already have a level of success, along with low employee turnover. This can lead to employees questioning the need for the company to become digital, especially if it will affect their position and how they work. As such, it can become difficult to implement any change.
In response, you and upper management will have to get everyone on board through a change management program. It is described in a Karlstad University study as being crucial for digital transformation. Its focus, first, is to transform manually-experienced knowledge into data-driven knowledge. Second, it aims to alter your employees’ mindsets so that they can learn to be more accepting of change. And this starts with implementing a new type of management.
With more companies now needing to embrace a digital transformation, this has changed the type of leaders needed. Maryville University‘s overview of how disruptive innovation is changing business details how this has led to a high demand for training specialists who can bring about organizational change. These new leaders are well-versed in change management, and have an understanding of the collaborative mindset necessary to affect behavioral changes in your staff as the company makes the switch. The change management program can be implemented either prior to or, ideally, in parallel with digital transformation initiatives.
Change management was central to Domino’s digital transformation in the mid-2010s. OMI details how Domino’s overhauled its entire ethos to focus on digital sales and advertising. Domino’s restructured, from the top-down, and focused on hiring programmers and digital marketers. As a result, it transformed from being just a pizza company to “an e-commerce company that happens to sell pizza.”
Lack of Expertise
Software consultant Joaquin Lippincott explains that lack of expertise can hold companies back from transforming digitally. That’s because staff are mostly handpicked for their expertise in whatever industry the company belongs. Even tech companies might not have the requisite expertise to adopt certain aspects of a digital transformation. IoT is a good example, given its multidisciplinary nature. A company that wants to be a leader in IoT adoption will need experts in system architecture, sensor technology, cloud management and data analytics. That is a wide range of skills that would be difficult even for a tech company to acquire, let alone one in a field far removed from the tech industry.
The solution is the strategic utilization of technology vendors. Let third-party experts handle the ideation and experimentation phases first. Ultimately, your company can then transition to the innovation phase, which will then pave the way for stability and, ultimately, complete digital transformation. Along the way, you’ll be able to come up with a full-time hiring plan to employ your own experts.
Such was the blueprint adopted by Home Depot, that earmarked some $11 billion in 2011 for digital transformation. The hardware store hired some 1,000 IT and user experience professionals, who have helped transform Home Depot from just a brick-and-mortar hardware store to one with a strong and lucrative online presence. Even if your company is not a large corporation, sticking to traditional business processes will leave you far behind the competition. You need to come up with an effective change strategy.