Digital transformation - definition, opportunities and threats
Constantly evolving markets, globalization, competition growing in strength and increasing customer demands - operating in such conditions and gaining a significant position in the market requires taking the right steps. Modern companies face an important decision - they can optimize internal processes and increase their competitiveness or fall out of the game. What is the significance of digital transformation in all this?
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is nothing more than using technology to transform analog processes into digital ones. It's the way technology influences the way companies operate and function with innovative IT solutions - from systems for marketing automation to tools for better data management to machine learning algorithms. All of this, in turn, translates into more effective business decisions, more efficient advertising efforts or a better understanding of customer needs.
The internal transformation of all relevant areas of the company, however, is not just about technological changes. Digital transformation is also a necessity to change perceptions of the way the entire company, its employees, and the way it thinks about many of its daily tasks. These changes, of course, bring numerous benefits - as digital solutions make it easier to implement projects, improve communication with customers or enable easier transformation of entire processes and business models.
Why digital transformation will not pass us by.
In an era of relentless development of new technologies and a wealth of IT vendors, digital transformation is not just a tempting possibility, but has become a key component of the overall business transformation strategy. The right tools, coupled with refined processes and a team of properly trained internal or external specialists, will enable faster adaptation to market transformations and changing customer needs. A company's digital transformation is also an excellent way to prepare for later growth - which will be necessary if you want to strengthen your competitiveness - and to simplify the introduction of further innovations in the future.
We were reminded of the need to constantly digitize and modernize our company's processes in the first place by the recent pandemic. It was the need to adapt quickly to sudden and unexpected changes in the markets that made business leaders realize the importance of modern solutions and up-to-date systems. According to the results of McKinsey's 2021 survey of business leaders, since the Covid-19 pandemic, company representatives have begun to clearly recognize the urgent need for digital transformation. In many cases, company representatives realize that the systems they use need to be upgraded, while only 11% of those surveyed believed that their IT infrastructure left in its current state would be viable by 2023. At the same time, as many as 64% of those surveyed expressed the belief that only building digital businesses will allow companies to survive in the market.
Today's companies are no longer wondering whether digital transformation is one means to strengthen their position in the market. Now, the most important question companies are asking is how to quickly and effectively implement digital transformation to start reaping its benefits.
What are the challenges of digital transformation?
Many companies standing at the beginning of the digital transformation process most often ask themselves one major question - will they be up to the task? Along with it come other questions: What are the stages of the transformation and how should it proceed? Should we prepare new jobs? Will it be necessary to cooperate with an external company? How much will it cost? And what challenges will stand in our way? Before embarking on a digital transformation venture, it is important to find answers to these questions.
Digital transformation is not a process that we will be able to carry out completely seamlessly - even the largest organizations that are at an advanced stage of transformation encounter difficulties related to, among other things, budget or shortage of specific specialists in the team - the latter aspect can easily be solved by outsourcing IT specialists. However, the better we plan our activities, prepare our employees and ensure the right strategy, the better our chances of success.
According to studies conducted by the Harvard Business Review or McKinsey, among others, as many as 70% of business and digital transformation projects fail. However, among the most common reasons for failure is not at all insufficient budget or poor choice of technology. Among the main reasons for failure are lack of planning, poor communication, inadequate strategy, and failure to convince employees of the validity of the transformation being carried out. Another problematic aspect in the digital transformation process is also the lack of understanding between business and IT - the key to the success of the entire project is a mutual understanding of the business goals and the limitations of using specific technologies.
We can increase the chances of a successful digital transformation even before it begins - by carefully planning the entire process, refining the strategy and improving the company culture. At this stage, it will be crucial to have clear and readable communication between the company's departments, in which we clearly present the goals and effects of the planned transformation.
Benefits of digital transformation
Among the benefits of an effectively executed digital transformation, we can mention the aforementioned increase in our competitiveness in the market, easier future growth of the company or the ability to use innovative solutions. But what exactly does this mean for the company? What real benefits can come from digital transformation?
- Better data analysis - by integrating quality data, your company will make faster and better business decisions in real time.
- Increased efficiency and productivity - process automation tools or solutions that affect the organization of data allow us to work faster and more efficiently - time-consuming tasks are replaced by simple clicks, allowing employees to focus on the most important goals of the company.
- Better understanding of the customer's needs - quick and easy access to information about our customers and artificial intelligence algorithms predicting their behavior will allow us to better understand their expectations and thus prepare a much more attractive offer and provide more efficient service, thus increasing their loyalty
- More flexibility - The Covid-19 pandemic has shown many companies that the market situation can change drastically in just a few months or even weeks. The right processes, IT solutions and business models will allow us to adapt to situations in an instant.
These are just a few of the many real benefits of digital transformation. Modern technologies provide companies with access to tools that can guarantee their strong market position and relevance in the battle for customers.
Risks of digital transformation
Digital transformation is a process that brings many benefits to our business and, most importantly, allows us to maintain and strengthen our position in a rapidly growing market. However, it is important to remember that, as in many other cases, there can be many potential risks hiding behind digitization. The process of digitizing a company - especially if carried out in too hasty a manner - can expose our company to data protection dangers, including leaks of vital information or increased vulnerability to attacks by cybercriminals.
Wanting to avoid exposing our company to similar risks, we should carry out digitization in a data-safe manner. The best solution in this case will be to carry out the digital transformation in cooperation with an experienced and trustworthy company, which will guarantee that we implement the solutions in a completely safe way for the company.
We have already written about where and how to look for the right outsourcing partner and how to ensure the security of cooperation with an IT partner in our previous articles.