The digitisation of businesses is a major ongoing consideration, especially in a post-covid world. Although it creates numerous benefits, it also produces enormous challenges for companies. Nowadays, businesses are under increasing pressure to provide a flawless digital experience in internal operations and for their customers. This means that companies born before the digital age must transform radically to remain relevant. Those who fail to do so either shrink or go out of business entirely.
North American firms, and other tech-leading locations, are significantly less likely to view embracing digital change as an operational challenge. This is because some firms are already incorporating strategies related to artificial intelligence and ‘transformative’ technology into their workflows and processes.
However, these digital projects can result in high expectations, not just for the speed of implementation but its overall impact.
So what are the greatest challenges within digital transformation, and importantly, how can businesses manage them?
Challenges facing businesses
1) Employee pushback.
The biggest concern for most companies considering a digital push is employee adoption and how it will impact not only the company’s culture but its organisational structure. This means that employees may feel that their job is threatened by the changes in digital transformation, which isn’t good for morale or productivity.
2) Organisational change.
Companies trying to adopt digital changes to both internal and external processes can face additional complications when it comes to organisational structure. With the increase of digital automation, employees may see role and responsibility shifts, which doesn’t always end in agreement and can sometimes impact future growth. Digital transformation, by its very nature, is a drastic change.
3) Customer experience.
Implementing digital changes can often change the lines of communication between business and customer. This can impact customer understanding of the change, service, and overall experience. When these changes aren't communicated well, customers can feel confused and inconvenienced, ultimately impacting engagement.
4) Lack of expertise leading the company.
Digital transformation comes with a number of technical challenges, and businesses need to be equipped with the right strategy and team before taking that leap. Employees who don’t have the expertise in leading the company through the transformation could jeopardise the whole transition.
5) Management of budget.
It is likely that any business going through a digital transformation will face budgetary constraints that may limit any part of the transformation journey. With this being said, many companies who aren’t prepared for these financial obstacles can undertake severe repercussions and must be financially prepared to make the transition.
How to overcome the challenges
1) Develop a company-wide digital transformation strategy.
Developing a thoughtful and detailed transformation strategy can provide clarity of vision, give your team a purpose, and help you maintain goals. Without strategy and purpose, many companies can slide into disorganisation, and this can severely impact internal and external relations.
2) Hire the experts and plug the skill gap.
Businesses are more likely to achieve a successful digital transformation by partnering with external expertise, such as a change management consultant. Consultants can advise on risk management, provide an objective view, and supplement skillsets within a team. This expertise can be invaluable and often save a company money in the long run.
3) Keep employees involved.
Keep your employees informed and involved throughout the whole process. Empower them and set them a goal in the future that they can all work towards. Helping your employees understand what’s at stake and what can be gained is a useful way to motivate and inspire them towards goal completions.
4) Manage the shifting risk landscape.
Shifting to a digital infrastructure requires a full evaluation of its impact on corporate risks. Risks can escalate with each digital improvement, and the complexity of global organisational structures can add unnecessary confusion to the risk management process. With that said, digitised security systems usually encompass the structure as a whole. This means that risks involved in managing the digital enterprise are more comfortable to both identify and handle.
5) Keep your stakeholders informed.
Consider that digitalisation can also impact your business’ key stakeholders, even when changes don’t directly involve them. Firstly identify how the transformation impacts your clients and then consider solutions to keep them within the loop. This could include more communication about overall strategies, changes within a CRM software, or simply asking their opinion on upcoming changes.
6) Be flexible.
If Covid has taught the business world anything, it’s that agile practice is the future. Business leaders need to be prepared for strategy pivots as well as prepare their team effectively for those changes. By viewing digital challenges through an agile lens, companies can take advantage of trends and shifts within their industry and monopolise on their flexibility.
Final Thoughts on Overcoming Digital Challenges
Businesses need to tap into the right resources and expertise to get the most out of a digital transformation project. By doing so, they can plug skills gaps and get valuable answers to strategic questions.
Freshminds is shaping the future of resourcing and consulting. By making the right connections, from analyst to expert, we help ambitious companies affect meaningful change and unlock growth – for a day, a month, a year or forever. We partner with businesses to help them access excellence on-demand across strategic, analytical and commercial challenges.
Reach out today to start the conversation and find out more about how we can help with your business transformation project requirements.