In recent years enterprise digital transformation has shifted from an innovation to a priority, a must-have solution for a modern enterprise. Many enterprises had the opportunity to test and evaluate the benefits of integrating technologies into the workflow, and transferring some systems to the online environment. Hence, now the need for digital transformation is increasing every day for businesses and enterprises of different sizes.
However, enterprise digital transformation is not only a chance to optimize the business’ work, but also a big risk. When investing in software, firstly you must make sure that you understand its specifics. It is crucial to know what your enterprise needs and how new software can increase its efficiency. In most cases, pro tip is to involve external specialists for doing it. Such approach will help to avoid mistakes and, as a result, unnecessary expenses for the project rework and completion.
To do the digital transformation of an enterprise, you first need to make a plan and figure out what mistakes to watch out if your goal is not failure.
What is an enterprise digital transformation
It is easy to misunderstand the concept of digital transformation. Around it is a huge pile of myths and misconceptions, and many entrepreneurs believe that transformational process has to be done by software alone. They think that a fairly light, small trivial project will magically solve all their problems.
Well but of course! After all, digital transformation dramatically accelerates business processes. Using software you can reduce costs and increase profits 10 times.
However, to achieve such impressive results, simply implementing software in the enterprise work process is not enough.
For some, the digital transformation process is just an automation of the accounting issues. Someone thinks transformation concept means the transition to e-commerce. Other entrepreneurs see this as implementing new technologies into everyday use, such as artificial intelligence or augmented reality. One thing is certain: enterprise digital transformation means using software products to optimize business work processes, increase profits and better enterprise performance, among its other benefits.
In 2019, BDO sponsored a survey that showed that 34% of all entrepreneurs at different levels and sizes of businesses consider digital transformation to be their first priority. For enterprises in the lower middle market, this number is even higher, and goes up to 48%.
These statistics shows that the vast majority of companies consider investments in digital transformation to be mandatory. No matter how complex the concept is, the enterprises all around the world agree that it is important. Just like they all agree that this is a difficult process.
Only for the half of entrepreneurs who’ve taken the step, enterprise digital transformation can be successful. It's tightly connected to the fact that many enterprises are short-sighted, refuse to cooperate with IT partners or make other common transformation mistakes, which we will talk about later.
Enterprise digital transformation mistakes, and how to avoid them
No one likes to make mistakes, but no one is safe from mistakes nonetheless. In the process of enterprise digital transformation, being wrong become especially dangerous since you are investing in tech project.
We have collected for you the most common transformation mistakes made by entrepreneurs, and are ready to share the tips from MassMedia Group experts on how to avoid them.
.1 The misconception business needs and the meaning of business digitalization.
It is a common occurrence when an entrepreneur thinks that for business optimization they need everything at once. However, solutions like so are rarely possible. By working with a technical partner who has an IT consulting service, you can discover the pain points in your business which you need to work with right now.
It'll help you assess your business needs and prioritize. Such approach allows you to focus on what is needed, instead of fixing what is not broken.
In addition, the lack of informing employees can also be the cause of same error. If you don't explain to those who work for you what is happening at the enterprise and what processes will be changed during transformation - you shouldn’t expect that after the technology implementation everything will work smoothly. Prepare your employees to the training and clarify for them what to expect from the changes and what processes will be affected for sure.
.2 The detailed digital transformation plan is absent, or it hasn't been worked out correctly
We have already talked about how important a high-quality and detailed digital transformation plan is. It is your roadmap to success, which can help you determine your wins and losses. Without a detailed plan for the creation and implementation of software in the enterprise’s work, qualitative process optimization is no even close to possible.
Your technical partner or business partner can help you in transformation matter. The most advantageous step in this case will be cooperation with a development company which has an IT consulting service. It will help you determine what software is needed for your business transformation, and properly plan its implementation into the workflow. The optimal plan is the one that is created on the basis of market needs preliminary analysis and the business needs of your enterprise.
.3 You are not cooperating with an IT-partner
As you can see, the digital transformation process is complex. And it's quite difficult to deal with it alone, especially if you don't yet have experience in tech matter. Here's what Oleksandr Shyrokyi, COO at MassMedia Group says about this:
It is worth contacting an IT partner, as an experienced developers already have many ready-made "well-worn" solutions. It can take an entrepreneur a lot of time to look for solutions like those, but there is no time to wait…
It's similar to self-medicating; you'll still go to the doctor after, but with worse consequences. There are many examples when an entrepreneur team, having some experience in IT and a desire to cut costs, undertakes independently for a complex IT project of their own enterprise digital transformation. However, after several months, they're bumping against one of the following milestones and can't move on:
- incorrectly thought out the requirements
- wrong architecture
- inappropriate technology choice
- too many integrations created
As a result, they are in the same place where they started. And the team still turns to the IT-contractor, but after losing time, costs, enthusiasm and energy. It’s better to work with development company FROM THE START, and save both your time and resources.
.4 You’re not thinking ahead
Entrepreneurs often think that once they implement technology into work of the enterprise, as everything will immediately change. This is a common mistake, and it is so common because technology alone will not improve workflows. Yes, the introduction of technology in the enterprise will significantly change its work. But if the only thing you're planning to change is technology, then you will not succeed.
In the basis of successful digital transformation lies not only changes in the enterprise, but also changes in your mindset. Transformational process takes time, and more often years than months. Therefore, don't count on instant results when creating strategies. Be prepared to plan ahead for a year, two or five.
Try to break the largest steps of the strategy into small ones, and so - achieve a new goal every month. Thus, you will have a chance to gradually change the transformation direction, if it's noticeable that the existing solutions bring unsatisfactory results.
.5 Unrealistic deadlines
Since digital transformation is a project, not an instant event, the deadlines for such process should be appropriate. It is not a momentary change and expecting results right after implementation will be a huge mistake. In this case, the best solution will be to break the strategy into small segments, and not to rush. It will make keeping up to deadlines possible even without knowing the end date for the entire project.
If you don’t have the slightest experience in this, putting deadlines is a shot in the dark.
It’s good when deadlines are set; they discipline, force to evaluate the available time and to not postpone things for later... BUT if you're doing something for the first time - in this case the deadline is more a psychological frontier, and far from the fact that everything what was conceived will be done within this deadline. It is better to turn to someone who has experience in this, who has gone through this and preferably more than once. You need the help from someone who knows where the “beginning” and where the “ending” are, what the intermediate stages are, and can lay down possible risks. Only then these deadlines will be more or less realistic and the rest of the plans can be adjusted to them.
— COO at MassMedia Group, Oleksandr Shyrokyi
.6 You think that enterprise digital transformation will solve ALL your problems
Digital transformation misconceptions like so led to the failure of more than one entrepreneur. We will try to destroy the myth about all work that can be done and managed by software alone.
I automate the whole business - and the system will do everything by itself” - a sweet utopia entrepreneurs have dreams about at night. In fact, digitalization cannot solve all the problems ;)
Digital transformation helps speed up the collection, exchange and processing of information, automate routine work on the enterprise. As a result, this can accelerate production, improve quality, help you make quick decisions and store important information… BUT this is not all problems which arise in business. It’s more like a pedestrian buying a car - the quality of life, the speed of movement are accelerated, the dashboard and sensors allow you to quickly make decisions about the next maneuver, navigation allows you to predict the best way to your goal... but it's silly to say that all problems are solved - they are just moved on a different level.
Another thing is that digitalization has now reached a highest level: AI, ML, AR / VR and other technologies. But this is still not a cure for all problems. Digital transformation helps simulate reality, what helps to manage its individual aspects. And this means that a lot is still missing, because the model is a simplified reflection of something real.
Therefore, we recommend you realistically evaluate the effect of digitalization, since it can give exactly what it can give, and no more. It's neat, but has its limitations. And the IT partners know more about these limitations. To put it short - contact them ;)
— COO at MassMedia Group, Oleksandr Shyrokyi
Remember: all the digital transformation mistakes, one way or another, come from an incorrectly constructed strategy. One cannot find somewhere an all-purpose guide on how to do an enterprise digital transformation right, because it is a unique process for each business. Nevertheless, we have compiled the best tips for you to create a successful strategy that can help your business succeed.
How to create a successful enterprise digital transformation strategy
.1 Focus on your business needs
It is easy to succumb to the desire of popularity. This forces you to change you work to fit in trends, without taking into account your enterprise’s real needs. Such a thing as potential profit and a chance to expand the customer base make entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that modern tech will help them make the best shot.
However, this is not always the case. Of course, implementing technologies such as, let's say, AI in enterprise software can be an effective step. But you must understand why are you taking this step. For example, you recently noticed that your business has problems with the supply chain. You will have to figure out exactly what are the faults of this business process, then consider all possible options for improving it, and only then implement the technology to optimize it.
Just using something modern and popular won’t solve all the troubles of your business. But a successful strategy and qualitative analysis will.
If you don’t know how to correctly determine what type of software your enterprise needs, we advise you to consider the option of cooperation with a software development company. Not only because custom software will meet your individual needs and this approach is a basis of successful digital transformation. It's also because a reliable IT partner will help you understand and work on optimizing your own business much better.
.2 Set priorities
Set the main goals for starting a digital transformation, after analyzing and discovering the main problems in your business. Not all enterprises in the initial stages of digitalization already have a complete action plan. But at least, you need to know what to build on if you are going to optimize your business.
Think about the desired results after the software implementation. Analyse what the most problematic areas of your business need improvement, and what should be the best indicator of their work.
In order for this large step of the digital transformation to be successful, you can break it into several small stages:
- don't work only with big goals, try to break them down into ones which are easier to achieve;
- write down each step taken and note its potential effectiveness;
- make sure everyone in the enterprise (including you) understands why are each step taken is important;
- conduct information updates as often as possible, show the enterprise’s employees the expected effect and the results you've achieved;
- set the stage for training employees to work in new conditions.
Important: to create a successful digital transformation strategy, make sure that in this strategy you have taken into account all the steps and aspects that you intend to take as part of the transformation process.
.3 Take care of financing
No matter how obvious this paragraph is, entrepreneurs often forget to conduct a full estimate of the work on digital transformation. If you don't want to get into an awkward situation, when the project is completed only half way and you are already running out of funds, conduct an approximate assessment of the digitalization.
A reliable IT partner can help you manage, or you can try to cope with this yourself. Nevertheless, we would advise you to take this step carefully, because it laid the foundation for the successful implementation of all aspects in the process of digital transformation.
Of course, a successful digital transformation strategy is not limited by this. To learn more about it, you can go to our blog and read other materials on this topic that will be useful to you. But these basic tips can help you create your own detailed plan that can change your business for the better.
To summarize everything that we have told you; we hope that there will be as few errors as possible in your digital transformation. It is clear that to get a certain level of enterprise technological security working alone is very difficult. Therefore, one ultimate advice can be called the search for a good technology partner who will be ready to help you deal with all the digital difficulties.