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Top 5 Challenges on the Road to Digital Transformation and Solutions to Overcome Them

May 10, 2022

Renita Joan Anand Kannan

Blog

Top 5 Challenges on the Road to Digital Transformation and Solutions to Overcome Them

Digital transformation is no longer an option for businesses but a necessity.

A recent IDC survey shows that almost 89% of enterprises are planning to adopt or have already adopted a digital business strategy. Advanced technologies have started to impact and have transformed the way people communicate, collaborate and interact with business. For most CEOs, it is a matter of survival in the evolving business landscape.

According to a 2021 survey by Flexera Research, when it comes to tech initiatives, 54% of companies worldwide said they are prioritizing digital transformation. Also, by 2023, global spending on services and technologies that will allow digital transformation is estimated to amount to $2.3 trillion.

But any digital leader will tell you, the digital transformation road is lengthy, and planning and execution faces new hurdles each year. While we have greater technological capabilities than ever before, the road ahead isn’t always straightforward. There are numerous roadblocks that can stymie even the most ambitious endeavors, ranging from gaining funds to moving from outdated systems.

What contributes to such a low adoption rate despite the huge success by some brands?

What’s stopping C-level executives from embracing digital transformation solutions?

As a business head, if these are the questions you’re seeking answers to, this post will help!

Before making a deep-dive into the challenges, and solutions, let’s explore what digital transformation really is and why it is critical for modern-day businesses.

What is Digital Transformation

According to Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, digital transformation is a fundamental reality for businesses today.

Organizations recognize that delaying their digital transformation puts them at danger of becoming obsolete. This is particularly true during times of upheaval. According to a Twilio survey, 97% of businesses think COVID-19 has accelerated their digital transformation, with 68% saying the virus has accelerated their digital transformation “remarkably.”

As many presume, business transformation doesn’t mean shaking up just a few processes here and there or implementing one or two innovative technologies to enhance a business’ performance and efficiency. It takes more than that.

Digital transformation is all about transforming a business’ model, processes, people and operations using advanced digital technology/solutions. It’s about transforming the entire company, in not just parts, but completely.

The transformation will impact not just businesses and its employees but also the stakeholders associated with the brand. Transforming any business digitally should be executed with extreme care and diligence.

Here are some benefits of digital transformation

  1. Supercharged customer acquisition and retention
  2. Streamlined workflow and operations to boost productivity
  3. Explosive reach
  4. Accurate data-driven customer insights and foresights for better decision making
  5. Faster time to market
  6. Enhanced data collection
  7. Improved customer experience
  8. More effective resource management
  9. Encourages a digital culture

Well, now it’s time to focus on digital transformation challenges and how to overcome them.

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Top Digital Transformation Challenges for Businesses      

 
1. Lack of definition and leadership buy-in

According to a CIO Report, most digital transformation failures have happened because of poor strategy and undefined scope and implementation by CEOs. A report from the Harvard University Review reveals that many CEOs of top brands like P&G, GE, McDonalds, and Ford were asked to step down due to having challenges embarking the growing digital age and customer needs.

  • The definition of digital transformation varies amongst businesses. Sticking to a defined methodology of business and applying the same on another is highly impractical, given the ever-evolving customers’ behaviors and needs.
  • A top reason why most C-level executives give up on the digital transformation is the number of initiatives to be taken against measurable outputs.
  • Taking it to employees is a huge roadblock for many business heads. 90% of the workforce generally don’t like adapting to sudden changes in their operations. This again impacts the efficiency and performance of the business.
  • Data security is a concern for most visionaries as cybersecurity is fast and ever-changing. Even the latest reports from industry research experts like Forrester and Gartner are pointing towards the same concerns.
  • Another huge barrier that halts the digital transformation juggernaut from rolling is missing the clear picture of what this evolution actually means. Only business heads that understand the digital regime will completely say YES to the raging concept and others may just fail to get the best out of this.
Solution

CEOs should have a clear strategic plan based on digital transformation metrics. Who will be impacted and how will it influence performance and efficiency? Also, discussing with employees and briefing them about the transformation planned would help business heads understand the real-time problems and measures to fix them.

2. Lack of understanding digital culture/solutions and its significance

Many businesses fail to understand the necessity of creating a digital culture inside an organization, even before planning for a transformation.

This is extremely critical as most stakeholders in the company may not be prepared for a change. As a result, a potential drop in performance and employee efficiency can be expected during the transition phase.

The reason for failure is often because most companies endorse the transformation process without considering the stakeholders on the transformation path. This frequently hits hard on the efficiency of these businesses.

Solution:

Creating a digital culture across the organization. Encouraging employees and other stakeholders to grow accustom to the digital culture, tools, technology, and solutions will help businesses persuade the workforce during the transformation phase.

Starting slow is the key. Explaining the transformation process and allowing the stakeholders to settle in will ensure a successful business transformation.

3. Lack of clarity on the transformation budget/having a limited budget

Spending on digital transformation technologies and services worldwide from 2017 to 2024, likely to rise from 0.6 to 2.39 trillion U.S. dollars, according to Statista.

Zeroing in on the budget for developing digital solutions and transformation process can be bewildering for most business heads. As this is an evolving process, fixing a finite budget for the overall development and implementation of solutions can be extremely painful.

The budget involves the technology, infrastructure and resources investments to develop an intelligent digital solution like a chatbot or Virtual Assistant to beat the competition.

As customer demands constantly evolve, adjusting to the market requires more investments and may exceed the actual budget set earlier.

This lack of clarity on budget slows down decision making and forces the leaders to step back when it comes to digital transformation funding.

Solution:

Having a strategy in place for the long-term with a budget in mind is recommended to avoid potential financial risks of the company.

With meticulous planning and a thorough understanding of the digital solutions and culture setting, a budget that deviates minimally from the actual estimation is highly possible.

4. Limited digital expertise or lack of understanding of end user experience

Well, to provide fitting customer service through the latest digital technology or solution, the business must come up with a robust product/service.

Creating a winning product/solution requires a specialized approach and hands-on experience in devising a meticulous digital strategy, exposure to tools and technology, and successfully transforming a business.

COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s clients, whether you work in a B2B or B2C organization, resulting in distinct demands and opportunities. People have learned how much they can accomplish with just a laptop and a smartphone. As a result, clients are pickier and more demanding than they have ever been.

Touchless checkout alternatives, for example, are no longer a nice-to-have options but have become a necessity.

Most businesses that plan to develop an advanced solution fall short to experts/expertise in their respective domains/technologies to only develop solutions that are not attuned to customer needs.

Solution:

59% of people prefer to use their smart phones for personal and work-related purposes according to Forbes. Therefore, understanding the business and client’s end users is extremely critical during the transformation phase and achieving this without a team of experts is hard.

Market research should be conducted to obtain outside-in viewpoints on client demand and competition. Furthermore, IT must provide real-time data, aggregate analytics, dashboards, and other tools to business leaders that provide an inside perspective of revenue, product usage, sales operations, marketing initiatives, and customer service.

It takes years of experience and expertise to understand the business better and what end users want. And just seconds, if your organization is already on the road to Digital Transformation.

5. Lack of resource availability and resource management planning

A shortage of resources available and poor resource management planning can hurt businesses. So, even before developing a product roadmap, it is a must to analyze the resources available to set the project in motion seamlessly.

Poor planning with a lack of resources results in below par results and this will eventually bring down the performance of the business.

A finite strategic plan in place, even before getting started with the transformation process, is critical as this might help business heads understand how to plan resources accordingly.

Solution:

Creating a pool of talents with strong prowess on technology and solutions is a must to strategize, develop, and deliver on-time without any compromise in quality.

Digital transformation requires a careful approach and having a novice team will make the job difficult during the transition phase. Have a clear plan for the resources available and using them to take the business forward.

From all of the discussed here, it’s evident that the success of digital transformation doesn’t rely on the technology or tools, but on the people executing it. Most leaders who have already achieved digital success have had thorough planning, a long-term strategy, skillful resources, and clarity of budget.

6. Lack of Organizational Transformation Adoption Management

The effectiveness of digital transformation might be hampered by outdated organizational structures, inefficient procedures, and dogmatic leadership styles. This was never more evident than in 2020, when businesses struggled to make the transition to a remote company model rapidly.

According to a LinkedIn survey, 80% of leaders hurried up the implementation of new technologies during the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s difficult enough to learn new tools, but when you add / change a version to the mix, transformation might seem insurmountable.

Solution:

Focusing on business transformation can assist your company in preparing its people for the challenges ahead. Instead of focusing solely on the technical aspects of digital transformation, you should build a holistic change management strategy that takes into account the people who will be directly affected.

Give your business a new dimension and take it to the next level with our digital transformation experience and expertise. Don’t know how to get started? We can help!

Editors note: This post was originally published in November 13, 2018 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness

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