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4 Steps for Starting Digital Transformation

Matt Freymiller
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At its core, digital transformation combines people, process and technology. When done correctly, it can result in more efficiency, greater employee satisfaction and more success for your business. But how do you start your transformation? Where should you begin?

Step 1: Look at Your Business Goals

Ask yourself what your goals are as an organization. What do you want to accomplish? This is a good time to evaluate your goals and ensure they’re clearly defined.

From there, identify what processes are standing in the way of you reaching those goals. Maybe what’s stopping you is the need for another employee, but hiring one isn’t possible because of financial constraints or the current job market.

Through digital transformation, you can convert a set of processes into something that can be automated or performed more efficiently. This will free up time in your organization that can be allocated to tasks that will help you achieve your goals.

Step 2: Identify Low-hanging Fruit

Look for small, simple things you can improve that will give you some quick wins in your digital transformation journey. How do you find that low-hanging fruit? Follow the paper.

Look for the piles of paper or paper trails in your office. Paper is extremely inefficient. If you can find ways to automate and digitize paper processes, that’s a great place to start. One good example is mileage tracking. Transforming mileage tracking into a quick, inexpensive process can provide a lot of benefit to any organization.

When you start digital transformation, some employees may get nervous about it. They’re afraid that either you’re looking to replace them or you’re making changes that are going to make their jobs more difficult.

At first, they might not see that digital transformation will be beneficial for them by making their work more efficient and more rewarding. Transforming a relatively simple or small process first can show your employees the advantages of digitization and get them excited for more changes.

Step 3: Include the Right People

Make sure you’re including your employees in your digital transformation – especially the people who will be most impacted by the changes. Allow them to have input and be part of every step in the process as it makes sense to do so.

Employee involvement and buy-in gives you two big benefits. First, you’ll receive valuable input. As an owner or manager, you’re probably familiar with the process you want to improve, but you’re not doing it day-to-day. You might not know the areas where the process is really inefficient or just plain broken.

Second, your employees can help define what that new process will look like. If they’re involved in improving it, they’re much more likely to adopt it.

Not giving your employees a seat at the table can cause challenges. Say you tell people, “Hey, we’re going to do that process this way now.” Well, they’ll do it for a week but then quit doing it because they don’t like it and they don’t understand why they have to do it that way. Maybe the steps in the new process were put in place with good intentions, but in the real world it’s just not working out.

Your employees can help you identify pitfalls and create a more efficient process. When you finally implement that transformed process, there’s a much stronger chance that it’s going to be successful.

Step 4: Bring in an Expert

When you begin doing digital transformation, be careful you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Oftentimes when you get a bunch of people in the room, you’ll start talking about one process you want to improve. But that process touches something else that involves another department. Before you know it, you’re trying to transform 16 different parts of your business.

A third-party expert can help you keep focused and stay on track. In addition, they can serve as a mediator. They can ask the questions that your staff may be afraid to ask or would feel intimidated asking.

At Elevity, we assist all types of organizations with digital transformation, helping them clarify their business goals, get the right people involved, asking the questions that need to be asked, and offering guidance at every step of the way.

If you’re interested in learning more about digital transformation and how to bring it to your business, let’s talk. Contact us today.

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