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Driving Digital Transformation in 2021

Matt Freymiller
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The coronavirus pandemic knocked many businesses off their axis. Now it’s time to get your digital transformation efforts back on track. Digital transformation is more important than ever to set yourself up for a successful post-COVID rebound.

Start by taking a step back and doing some big picture thinking. Ask yourself these key questions as a way to re-examine the core aspects of your digital transformation. You might find your answers are pointing you in a new direction.

What’s Driving You to Transform?

Why did you decide to take on digital transformation in the first place?

  • My business has a need that requires digital transformation
  • I want to develop my workforce’s talent and skills for the future
  • I need to overcome competitive pressure

As you consider the current state of your organization, it’s possible the driving force behind transforming has changed along with the changing business landscape. Or maybe your reasons remain the same.

Either way, it’s important to understand and acknowledge the “why” behind your digital transformation because it will guide you towards what technologies you need to leverage and the processes you need to change.

What Do You Want to Accomplish?

Think about the end results you want to see from your digital transformation:

  • Improved customer experience and engagement
  • Greater operational efficiency
  • Replaced or upgraded legacy IT systems
  • Faster speed-to-market for products or services
  • Increased innovation

Also, consider the digital transformation benefits you want to see:

  • Technology, systems and platforms integration
  • Anytime access to data
  • Security and data privacy
  • Edge to cloud connectivity
  • Analytics and business intelligence reporting

Pinpointing your desired outcomes gives you a target to shoot for and can help you create a roadmap to get there.

What Challenges are Holding You Back?

Are you facing the same hurdles as you were when you originally began your digital transformation? Or are there new or different challenges in the picture now?

  • My current environment is highly complex
  • There are siloed mindsets and behaviors
  • We have too many competing tech priorities
  • My organization is risk averse
  • Our current business processes are too rigid
  • We have security concerns and compliance constraints
  • We’re experiencing high or unexpected costs associated with our transformation

Pushing Ahead

Now that you’ve cleared up your digital transformation goals and barriers, here’s some advice to help you move forward more successfully.

Clarify the “Why” Behind Your Digital Transformation

The answer should be more than just potential efficiency gains or keeping up with competitors. At its core, digital transformation is about improving the customer experience and creating greater employee satisfaction.

Let me explain. The more satisfied your employee is with the work they’re doing, then the happier they’ll be and the better work they’ll do. They will have better relationships within the organization as well as with customers. And even if someone isn’t customer-facing, they’re probably working with someone who is. If those people have a good internal relationship, it’s a better experience for the customer because that customer-facing employee isn’t dreading having to go talk to Susie in accounting who’s a grouch all day.

Employees truly are the key to change in your organization. If they’re on board with the digital transformation shifts, you have a much better chance of success. So you need to clearly communicate why the organization is making various changes in how they do things.

Imagine if the manager comes in and says, “Hey, today we’re going to do things this new way.” But there’s no explanation of why this new way is better. The employees all go, “Yeah, that’s great.” And then they just keep doing things the old way. It’s because they’re not seeing the benefit of changing or why that change was made. So communicating the “why” is critical.

In fact, an analysis by McKinsey discovered that an organization can double or even triple the success rate of their digital transformation by having the management team create and share a clear story for change.

Keep Making Visible Progress

You don’t have to be making huge changes all the time. Work on gaining lots of small wins regularly. Focusing on areas where you can get quick wins keeps people engaged.

If you try to jump into too large of a change too soon, it’s going to take longer to implement. As a result, people will lose interest and it will eventually fall by the wayside. Transformation should not be a one-off event. You want your employees to see progress being made often. So keep chipping away at small wins and use metrics to show how things are moving along.

Foster a Culture that Embraces Change

Digital transformation only works if people are willing to accept changes. You need to continue encouraging a shift in mindset, culture and processes that can support more agile ways of working.

Remember when the Bobs came into the office in Office Space? No one knew what this change meant, so everyone started freaking out. That’s not what you want.

The senior leaders in your organization can lead the way by buying in to your digital transformation goals and maintaining open and honest channels of communication. Encourage employees to share their feedback and include them as much as possible in the development of the initiatives. And always ensure employees are clear on what is happening and why.


The team at Elevity is here to help you wherever you are in your digital transformation journey. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut and need a push to get your transformation moving again, contact us today.

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