December 4, 2022

The digital transformation (DX) for businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak has been a game changer as businesses have been forced to migrate to online platforms to remain viable. In the last two years, DX has increased among SMBs, but there is still a percentage of companies that are really reluctant to adopt it.

In my opinion, the main problem lies in the interpretation of digitization for first-time users of technology. Business owners used to traditional ways of working would be hit hard as they don’t know where to start, leading to a sense of hesitation even when it comes to exploring the possibility of going digital.

Therefore, we need to be able to make digitization more understandable by breaking it down into smaller, more digestible parts that will eventually help them overcome their fear of technology.

Having worked with several companies over the last 10 years, I believe that presenting an accurate picture of the benefits that the adoption of digital tools will bring is the most effective way to convince business owners who are hesitant to explore these innovative changes .

I understand that clear, realistic returns on investment (ROI) and tangible value are the priorities of business owners and I think it is crucial that technology consultants like SRKK will take the time to show them the step-by-step path to digitization develop for their individual companies.

At the same time, ensure they adhere to the prepare, plan, prioritize and execute the five key pillars of digital transformation so that their digital transformation journey aligns with their business goals.

Leadership mentality and direction

The first pillar is maintaining a leadership mindset and alignment, as a DX journey begins with a robust leadership mindset. This ecosystem of leaders must collectively agree that digital transformation is beneficial to them and feasible, while worth the time, money and effort invested.

Very often leadership teams are either aware or unaware of their internal problems. Executives who are unaware of this tend to see digital transformation as an impossible feat and tend to follow the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset.

Also read: How can design thinking boost consumer confidence in the digital world?

This can be remedied first by attending workshops, webinars, and technology vendor events to build confidence in digital transformation.

Team leaders who are aware of their organization’s problems believe in DX and take small steps to solve urgent and important problems with technology, even though they don’t yet have a clear picture and roadmap.

This can be overcome by using an impact/effort matrix to prioritize and achieve the simple wins that continue to propel the DX journey. Impact/Effort matrices help organizations quickly correct course, align team priorities, and find the best solutions to a problem while saving time and effort.

Once the organizational issues are identified, leadership teams should adopt a solution-aware mindset to create robust digital transformation roadmaps with sufficient resources to support well-designed initiatives to ensure sustainable, long-term growth.

Company-led technology roadmap

Once a company’s leadership mindset is established and it better understands the benefits of going digital, it needs to create a successful business roadmap. In creating this guide, I believe that simplicity is best for beginners and the easiest route to a robust, actionable roadmap is to break it down into two main categories:

Enterprise Value Drivers Environment, Infrastructure and Governance

These parameters ensure business leaders know what they are trying to digitize, the economic impact it will have, how to achieve their goal, and which area to prioritize.

Currently, the SRKK team has created a ready-made roadmap that is used by our consultants when speaking to different clients. It helped us better address customers’ pain points and we found that more than 70 percent of companies benefited from the well-defined SRKK DX framework and started their DX journey.

For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, a Malaysian government-related company (GLC) focused on palm oil plantations, agriculture, and ranching began its DX journey that included adopting Microsoft 365 for hybrid work.

Because we adjusted the different phases to improve the customer’s business processes including their cybersecurity, the IT team reported a significantly lower number of support calls related to malware, phishing and spam when the customer decided to remove the email Security for its 744 information staff improve e-mails.

We believe that with a curated DX methodology that fits clients, they can continue their DX journey at a fast pace and at a lower cost.

Appointing talent to drive digitization efforts

Complementing this, the right leadership mindset and a robust roadmap are strong key talents to drive this transformation process forward. First, a technology-savvy business leader with a deep understanding of the company’s overall strategy and roadmap is needed to prioritize and sponsor projects throughout the DX journey.

Also read: Why Singapore’s traditional sectors need a digital makeover

Additionally, this role must ensure that implementations are value driven. Next is a passionate change advocate who is articulate, persuasive and persistent to motivate change across departments and persuade his team members to take on new challenges.

Additionally, it goes without saying that having an excellent IT manager who coordinates and facilitates the technology selection process and assists in pilots and implementations while relating to its IT environment plays a key role. Last but not least, technical resources are required to implement digital transformation decisions, whether in-house or outsourced.

Culture

A common misconception is that DX is complete when a company updates its technology. However, digital transformation is not about software or technology; it’s about organizational agility. In an agile environment, people aren’t penalized for “failing and learning fast”, boldness is more important than caution, and there is more action and less planning.

Agility allows your organization to quickly respond to changing market conditions driven by DX while allowing executive teams to focus on strategic decision making. It is important that companies start practicing a DX friendly culture as it challenges the status quo and is not afraid of change.

This would eventually create a safe space for employees to try their strengths and discover their weaknesses, further driving innovation.

Delivery and Acceptance

Ultimately, the success of your company’s digital adoption depends on whether the implementations have improved the company’s performance.

To get a good picture of it, two-way communication between technologists and end-users is imperative so that feedback is constantly communicated, leading to better adoption rates.

A more convenient way to implement this communication method is through a Scrum and Agile framework, where “Scrum” is a framework of rules, roles or events used to efficiently implement “Agile” projects.

This framework should be considered in implementations to ensure cross-functional teams communicate regularly, align on priorities, close the feedback loop, and deliver value quickly.

So I hope that business owners have gained some ideas on how to have productive conversations and brainstorm effectively around the five pillars mentioned here and better prepare, plan, prioritize and execute their DX journey.

With borders reopening and more and more businesses recovering, I hope that more traditional companies will seize this opportunity to start digitizing their businesses using these five pillars as I am confident that it will have a major impact on the economy our country will have .

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