There comes a time when every company has to decide whether or not to make that transition towards operating on multiple digital platforms or not. Many do opt to acquire the tools and practices of the internet age and this can prove hugely beneficial for those organisations looking to increase profits and create a robust and effective business model. The digital economy will affect you whether you like it or not, it is vital that you adapt and put in place processes that will allow your business to enter the digital world and thrive in it once it’s there. So how do you embark on this journey of digital transformation? There are four obvious approaches:
A key way of shifting into the digital space is through a top-down culture change in your organisation, often achieved through a change in personnel. In order to do this however you must be prepared to invest a significant amount of time. It takes a great deal of time to break down existing bad habits and instill a new approach and attitude amongst your employees. More often than not people will have to be let go of, as you herald in a new era in your workforce. Restructuring will also more than likely take place, along with training being put in place. You want to make your organisation leaner and more digital savvy. This imposed change in culture, will not be without its difficulties and teething problems. There will be many in your organisation that don’t respect the change in face and tone, but it is vital that everyone on-board understands that the changes are for the greater good. A committed leadership, with good vision is vital to help you navigate the changes.
Another way of transitioning into a digital entity, is by taking a gradualist approach. Selecting a key project or a single part of the business and entering it into the digital arena on its own, before putting the whole company through a cycle of transition, can be a favourable move. By testing the water in this way, senior management are much more likely to come on-board and be willing to invest the time in this low risk strategy. If the area of the business that goes digital becomes a great success, it can be used as a template that allows the rest of the business to follow suit. Pick an area or a project that has little impact on the business as a whole, therefor if things fail there will be no lasting impact. Those who push the concept and make it a success are able to train and inform the rest of the company, meaning that new staff won’t have to be brought on board,they will already be in place.The project really needs to be standalone in order for it to be a success. If those who are working on it have to interact with other members of the team who are still working through the old model and old practices, there will be issues. A lot of inter-departmental coordination will get messy.
You don’t have to change the entire staff rostra, you could just change one department if it’s easier. By creating a new department dedicated to all things digital, you can cut out under-performing staff and build a team who will handle the change over from analog to digital. Product owners may be tetchy about handing over their products to digital experts, as they will have been used to setting business outcomes. They will now have to work with the digital experts in order to achieve their goals.
Finally, another effective way of changing your company for the better and shifting it towards a digital entity, is through identifying those in your organisation who are passionate about the potential change and getting them to be champions for the cause. Have them get the rest of the company on board, through their infectious and passionate support for the change in tide. Those champions of digital can hold seminars and training sessions, touting the merits of digital. Middle management is often the least effective in bringing about change, as they hold less powers of persuasion and gravitas than regular workers.
With eCommerce showing no signs of slowing down as an effective way of raising a companies revenue, and with increasing amounts of services and products being sold via online means, it is important that companies make the leap from bricks and mortar to digital players. For companies to move to a digital model, their cultures have to change. This is testing but as we have seen, there are several ways in which it can successfully occur.