The digital revolution is already beginning, and businesses that fail to adapt and transform themselves will not survive the disruption. This may seem like a potential crisis to some, but every crisis is an opportunity in disguise. The companies that plan and prepare for their digital transformation will thrive while those that fail to adapt will crumble. Here are five ways any business, regardless of its size or the sector they operate in, can prepare for a digital transformation that will help ensure its success in the digital revolution.
Redesign Your Organization For The Digital Age
The first step to preparing your business for the digital age is deciding how you will organize its structure so that it can adapt to the change. Every business, no matter how big or small or what sector it operates in, will have to go through a transformation to survive the digital revolution. Organizational design is crucial, and how you decide to arrange your internal hierarchy should be informed by the demands of your consumers and your business’s objectives.
With the MIT Sloan School of Management you can learn more about organizational design for digital transformation at your own pace and transform your company for the digital age. How you arrange your management structure and organizational design can hugely impact your business’s potential and success in the digital age. Your organizational structure will be the foundation you build your business so it can thrive in the coming digital revolution. With the right amount of planning and preparation, anything is possible. The sooner you begin, the easier the transformation will be for you and your business.
Assess Your Current Situation
With a redesigned organization you need to assess where you are now and how your organization is going to get you to where you want to go. You need to take a look at every aspect and component of your business and look for opportunities to implement digital business strategies and find efficiencies. To survive in the digital age every business needs to be able to react to change, adopt new technologies and practices, and evolve to satisfy changing consumer demands and expectations.
It can be challenging to objectively assess your company’s situation and cast a critical eye over your existing business practices and processes. This step is crucial to your business’s development, however. To succeed and even exist in the digital revolution you must be prepared to make wholesale changes to your company and how it operates. Assess every department and process individually at first and see where you need to adapt to embrace digital business strategies, and then put all the pieces together to assess the whole business.
Form A Digital Business Strategy
Once your hierarchy has been rearranged to suit the digital age, and you have assessed your business’s processes and practices to adapt to the demands of the digital revolution, you need to strategize. Plan your journey through the digital era. There is no map you can use to help you plot your path, and you cannot simply copy what another business has done. Every endeavor is unique, and the journey your business takes through the digital era will be its own. Do not be intimidated by the challenge ahead of you, however. This process can be empowering for you as an owner or manager and your employees.
The key to planning your business’ digital journey is to have a destination in mind. What are your immediate and long-term objectives? What do you need to do to get there? Answering these questions will help you decide what your first steps on the road to digital transformation should be. Knowledge and skills will be two of the most important tools for plotting your path and carving your niche in the digital space. Invest in yourself and your employees. Everyone will need to develop new skills and perspectives to prepare the business for the changes ahead of it and adapt to the digital world.
Build A Budget
Every change in a business requires investment. You will have to invest a lot of time and effort into digital transformation, but it will also require some financial investment. New technology, whether hardware or software, will cost money. Build a war chest that will help you and your business thrive in the digital era and surmount the challenges ahead of you. Depending on your business structure you may have to sell the changes to a board of directors or your team of investors to get an ‘executive buy-in’. This will be crucial to getting the financial support the company needs to make the changes.
Digital transformation requires a plan, and you should consider formulating a new business plan that outlines the changes ahead of the company to investors and owners. Demonstrate the opportunities for growth that a digital transformation presents and how it will impact profitability. With a forward-looking approach and by outlining the challenges that every industry faces in the digital revolution, you should be able to demonstrate the advantages of digital transformation easily. This is also an opportunity for you to show your value and ability and how crucial you are to the success of the business. Make sure you show your value as well as the value of a digital transformation.
Communicate The Plan And Empower Employees
The task of digital transformation is too big for one person. It will take the whole team to transform your business and its processes. A leader without a team is no leader at all. Just as you need to build your financial resources to push the business into the digital age, you need to build your human resources too. Engage with your employees and empower them with communication. Let them know their part of the process and their value to the company. Demonstrate the benefits that digital transformation will bring to them, including their development and the opportunities to learn new skills.
Technology has a huge amount to offer your business, but it can never replace the value of your employees. The people that work for you are your most valuable resource. Their input and hard work will be the difference between success and failure. If you prepare yourself and your business for digital transformation but do not prepare your workforce, it is highly unlikely the transformation will be successful. When you are communicating the plans for transformation, ensure that you engage in a dialogue and not a monologue. The conversation should go both ways. Listen to your employees as well as talk to them. They may have concerns that need to be addressed or ideas that can be incredibly useful going forward. The different perspectives your workforce has are a resource you should utilize when planning and implementing your business’s digital transformation.
Do not be intimidated by the digital revolution. There are huge opportunities for growth for the companies that face the challenge head-on and prepare themselves for the changes that are coming. Make the most of the resources you have, both human and financial. Invest in people and in the software and hardware your company needs sooner rather than later. Act now, and begin to plan your company’s digital transformation.