5 key steps to successfully implement digital transformation in your business

Today’s digital landscape is totally different from the simple capabilities of yesterday, and many companies are undergoing dramatic transformations to prepare for the future. Take the rapid rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and how quickly it went from a buzzword to a must-have in software products. The same is true of many other evolving technologies.

But the core components of any digital transformation go far beyond just adopting new technologies. They also include your people and your daily processes, and it’s easy for company leadership to forget these essential considerations.

When you know how to create a digital-first company, you have the power to take action. Learn the different steps your organization will take as part of your digital transformation strategy.

Do you really need to digitally transform?

Digital technology advances each year, and continued reliance on legacy tech tools can put your company at a disadvantage.

Here are some of the strongest reasons why your company should consider digital transformation if you’re not already working toward one:

  • Streamlined compliance management: The digital transformation process involves migrating your content to the cloud, which simplifies data management and makes your content more accessible for audits and inspections
  • Smarter business decisions: Digital transformation improves data collection and analysis, empowering you to make more informed decisions based on actionable insights
  • Better customer experiences: The cloud enables better personalization and speedier service, helping your company delight customers at every level of the customer journey
  • Stronger company culture: Going digital unites everyone in your organization, even if your teams are spread across different time zones
  • Increased revenue: Digitization opens up new opportunities for revenue generation that may previously have been impossible using legacy tech
  • Higher productivity: When you have the right tools for the job, your teams can get more done in significantly less time

To begin digital transformation, you need a solid plan to guide you through every step of the journey.

How to implement a lasting digital transformation: A step-by-step guide

It takes hard work and dedication to digitally transform your organization. Although many company leaders believe they’re in a good place to pursue digitization, they’re unsure where to start. Or they overestimate their organization’s readiness for such a dramatic change.

Understanding all the digital transformation steps your company needs to take improves your chances of lasting success.

Step 1: Assess your current state and define transformation goals

Outlining a digital transformation strategy can be impossible unless you have a clear vision of what you want to get out of it. Are you looking to drive revenue growth? Optimize the customer experience? Document all your business goals for future reference.

Once you’ve defined your goals, conduct a gap analysis to determine how to achieve them. This assessment involves evaluating your company’s current capabilities and comparing them to where you want to be at the end of your digital transformation. During the analysis, note any gaps — you'll address these areas during implementation.

Define your goals, then conduct a gap analysis to determine areas you need to address

For example, suppose you’re considering expanding remote work opportunities to some of your teams. Your company might lack the proper project management tools to monitor remote team members’ work. Investing in a cloud project management solution can solve this issue by enabling you to hold your people accountable even when they’re working from home.

Another excellent tool is a cloud content management (CCM) software solution that stores and manages all your organization’s content in a centralized location for easy access.

Here are some of the ways a CCM solution can help you achieve these goals:

  • Facilitating smoother collaboration: When people can access their materials from anywhere and interact in real time, they can work together just as effectively as if they were together in person
  • Increasing remote work: The cloud empowers team members to get work done from anywhere, on any internet-connected device — an essential capability for scaling a remote or hybrid workforce
  • Centralizing content storage: A cloud solution combines all your content under one roof, eliminating content silos and enabling easier access for people and integrated applications

Now that you know your intentions, it’s time to start drafting your roadmap.

Step 2: Develop a realistic digital transformation strategy

Once you have a clear vision in mind, plan how you’ll approach your digital transformation. A lucid roadmap with defined phases helps you track your progress and informs your approach to each new step.

When drafting your digital strategy, start with the problem. Consider how it impacts your people, processes, and existing technology by asking yourself questions such as:

  • Do you have a completion timeline in mind?
  • How will this initiative improve your organization?
  • How will digital transformation affect your people?
  • How will you communicate the change to your organization?
  • What metrics or benchmarks will you monitor to track your progress?
  • What are the issues you want to solve through digital transformation?
  • Which tools should you invest in, and what is your technology budget?
  • Do you want to transform your whole company or only certain aspects?
  • How will this change impact your customers and their overall experience?

Questions like these help you understand your company’s needs so you can more closely align your transformation roadmap to your business goals.

It can also be beneficial to approach the planning stage by considering how your organization will respond to different business scenarios. This technique forces your team to account for uncertainty in various situations so they’re better prepared for unexpected circumstances.

A cloud content management tool can streamline strategizing by providing a single place for documentation and communication

An integrated cloud content management tool streamlines the strategizing stage by providing a unified platform for all your project documentation and communication. Your digital transformation team can also use this opportunity to test cloud solutions before rolling them out to your entire organization, better preparing you for implementation.

Step 3: Secure executive sponsorship and foster a culture of transformation

Getting support from company leadership and other key stakeholders is one of the most critical steps in driving and supporting your digital transformation journey. Appointing a champion to lead the way can help you accomplish this goal by acting as a reliable intermediary between your team members and management personnel.

One of the most critical steps in digital transformation is getting support from leadership and stakeholders

An effective leader galvanizes your organization, inspiring your people to embrace change. An agile mindset that emphasizes the following values should be at the core of this culture of innovation:

  • Experimentation: True innovation is only possible when your people are willing to take big risks, which is why leaders should allow their teams to test out new processes and tools they think could benefit the organization
  • Open-mindedness: People need to be willing to learn from their mistakes to truly drive change, so encouraging your teams to be open to correction is vital
  • Adaptation: Finally, the ability to take action and change your approach based on the lessons you learn prepares your organization to take on any new challenge, digital or otherwise

Your leadership also sets the pace of the transformation process, which is especially essential for organizations new to digital technologies. Digitizing too quickly can negatively impact team members who struggle with learning new tools, while going too slowly can cost your company its competitive edge.

Many large companies work with consulting firms to develop a realistic digital transformation strategy. These professionals can provide valuable advice on which tools would work best for your organization, what training courses you should offer your workforce, and how to foster a culture of continuous learning and innovation.

Step 4: Implement and integrate cloud content management solutions

Data transformation is essential for becoming a data-driven organization, which is one of the goals of digital transformation for most companies. Additionally, for most organizations that lack the resources to hire analysts or data scientists, adopting cloud-based digital data management tools is the best way to enable efficient data transformation.

The cloud makes your content easier to access for more than just your people. Seamless integrations enable the other apps in your tech stack to use your data without friction, so you can generate actionable insights more quickly and with less frustration.

Plus, cloud solutions are more cost-effective than traditional on-premises systems. Because your software provider manages important tasks like updates and security, you only need to maintain physical infrastructure for your most critical data. As a result, you have to pay far less than you normally would for content storage, and you can streamline your overall tech stack.

Other features to look for include:

  • Custom configurations: When you can customize your cloud solution to meet your company’s needs, you can ensure it will scale with your organization
  • Security protocols: Robust security features like end-to-end encryption and multi-factor authentication (MFA) keep your content, your customers, and your company safe
  • Ongoing support: Your software vendor should offer technical support and training resources to ensure your people can use the tool effectively
  • Content migration: Migrating all your content to the cloud can be challenging on your own, so find a provider that offers an end-to-end migration service to streamline this step
  • Seamless integrations: Look for a solution that integrates with the other applications in your tech stack to minimize friction during implementation and maximize efficiency
  • Scalability: Most cloud providers use a tiered pricing model, so you can upgrade to spin up your available resources any time your company experiences growth

Find a provider offering end-to-end migration to streamline moving to the cloud

If you need help deciding on a cloud provider, determine which vendors serve other companies in your sector. Your competitors will likely need the same or similar features you do, so choosing a popular platform for your industry can help you ensure you get access.

You can also request consultations and demonstrations from each vendor on your shortlist to help narrow down your choices. Ideally, your provider should offer excellent customer service throughout your inquiry process. This is often a direct reflection of how they will treat you moving forward.

Step 5: Train and empower your people

While it’s natural to experience a learning curve with new technologies, limiting training programs to specific tools only prepares your people for the present. Equip your team with the skills and resources needed to work effectively in a digital environment.

Future-proof your teams with training programs for upskilling and reskilling

Upskilling and reskilling initiatives help companies future-proof their workforce to withstand today’s dizzying pace of change. While these concepts are similar, they are not the same. Here’s the main difference:

  • Reskilling: Training team members on skills they don’t already possess so they can take on new roles in your company
  • Upskilling: Expanding the skills your employees already have so they can improve performance and advance their careers

Training is an essential part of the digital transformation process, so it’s important you approach it the right way. Provide various learning options to accommodate everyone’s individual learning style, and create a database of internal resources so they can refresh their knowledge any time they need to.

Finally, you’ll want to adjust your approach to hiring — especially if you expect your company to grow over the coming years. List the technology skills your workforce currently lacks, and add them to your hiring criteria. Some of those skills might include:

  • Digital literacy: Knowing how to use the tools in your tech stack will only take you so far — your people need to be competent enough in digital technologies that they can easily adapt to new software any time you need to make a change
  • Cybersecurity: Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated each year, so having people on your team who know and understand the evolving threat landscape is vital for protecting your company
  • Digital marketing: Our society spends more time online than ever before, which is why companies that invest in digital marketing campaigns like social media advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) are more competitive than those that rely on legacy media
  • Data analytics: No matter what type of technology you implement as part of your transformation, you will collect a lot of data — people who know how to use data analytics tools can ensure you get the most out of your investments
  • Change management: Candidates with effective communication and change management skills will be assets to your organization, as they can help you overcome resistance to the project and keep morale high

It’s best to keep an open mind and look for people who are positive, teachable, and prepared for a digital future.

The bottom line: Plan for success

Although implementing new tech tools is an excellent way to level up your company and get started on your digital transformation, it’s not the end of the road. This is a transformation, after all. And to transform properly, you have to prepare your whole organization for the coming changes.

As long as you have a clear plan ahead of you and support from the right people, your company is in a good position to embark on a successful digital implementation project.

Remember that digital transformation looks different for every company. Whether you choose to modernize only a few processes or overhaul your whole business model, what makes sense for your organization might be completely different from what works for your competitors — and that’s exactly how it should be.

Whatever you choose to do, we wish you luck on your digital transformation journey!

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The Content Cloud is a game changer for the entire organization, streamlining workflows and boosting productivity across every team. Contact us today, and explore what you can do with Box.

See how the Content Cloud can streamline your digital transformation

**While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blog post is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.

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