Digital transformation is more than a trend. According to Forrester, executives predict 47% of their revenue will be influenced by digital by 2020.

By Chris Volschenk, CEO of Nexio

“Digital is approaching a tipping point. Over the next five years, companies will begin to see digital affect the majority of their revenues. Most of today’s companies are unprepared for this change,” the analysts say.

Business success has always been about innovation with many tools that can assist in enabling innovation. For many companies, it’s difficult to know where to start to implement a digital strategy. The key to digital transformation is to ensure that companies gain a competitive advantage by enhancing the current products and services they provide, reducing costs, and improving productivity – regardless of what tools they are using.

Here are some factors to keep in mind to ensure long term digital transformation success:


Prepare your enterprise for the digital age

Digital transformation is about how a company can become more efficient, effective, and innovative.

It’s not just about changing an existing service into a digital version, but about improving it. It’s also not just about technology, but about how people, process, technology, information, and security come together to deliver new ways of thinking and innovation.

Whether a business has started on its digital transformation journey, is just thinking about it, or is further down the road, being prepared is key. Companies must know what they want to get out of digital transformation, what technologies are available to help them get there, and what that means in the day-to-day running of the business. In practice, this means integrating, driving and managing all of the different elements across the entire company.


Forget best practices and work towards next practices

Next practices are “innovative processes that enable businesses to remain successful in the evolving industry landscape and at the same time prepares them for future challenges and disruptions as the scale of innovation speeds up,” according to IDC. A business can’t stay relevant by copying what everyone else in the industry is doing but should rather focus on ways to create value by doing something different from the rest. Successful digital transformation need to make working easier and better. Next practices help in the adoption and management of the innovations that enable organisations to fuel business growth and stay competitive.


Invest in a culture of change

To be successful digital companies, organisations must focus on more than deploying solutions. Digital transformation is about more than just adding technology. Part of the transformation includes changing how employees think. If the company’s culture doesn’t support change, then it will be difficult to implement new business processes. Technology provides the tools, but people are responsible for the success of digital projects.

This is a process that must have the right leadership. The difference between good leaders and great leaders is their persistence to achieve their vision, and decision-making in picking the right ventures. Digital transformation is challenging, and requires leaders that can remain confident in their decisions, and who can drive a culture of change from the top down.


Don’t let challenges slow you down

The expression “fail fast, succeed faster” has become synonymous with the agile approach. It might be an oxymoron, but failing fast is essential to the success of digital transformation.

In today’s complex and fast-moving environment, trying to predict and control change could be losing the battle. We don’t know what to measure in an environment that changes so rapidly, and we can’t control what we can’t measure. Too often, by the time a business thinks it has a handle on it, what it needs, what it wants, and its measurements have changed. For all these reasons, failing fast will lead to long-term success by allowing companies to learn at every step and providing opportunities to fine-tune things that are working.


Have a game plan

Develop a clear company strategy that includes how digital transformation aligns with the company’s corporate, competitive, and product strategies. Map out and spot the opportunities to improve the processes that underpin the business, and then create a roadmap to develop the digital tools that will help the company to reach its goals.

Digital transformation is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have. It allows companies to get closer to customers, see how their business is really performing, and where there is room for improvement. If you’re not on a digital transformation journey, your competitors are, and you will be left behind.