The future might be impossible to anticipate (especially after the massive impact of the pandemic) but there’s one thing that’s certain: if your business is to thrive, you’ll need to go through a digital acceleration process. You might have already been on that journey since the pre-pandemic days or maybe the crisis has pushed you on its way, but it doesn’t really make a difference – the only way to stay relevant is walking through it.
Unfortunately, research has shown time and time again that such efforts often fail. There are several things that collude for that outcome: poor strategies, lack of clear objectives, unavailable resources, and mistaken expectations. But you can’t afford any of that happening to you – your business is on the line!
So, if you’re thinking about investing time and money in digital acceleration (and you absolutely should), then you need to keep certain things in mind to get successful results in this multi-step journey. With the idea of separating the wheat from the chaff, I’ve outlined 5 of the things we here at BairesDev believe are the must-do tasks to get to that coveted goal without failing on the way.
#1 Strategize and implement an improvement plan
A digital acceleration journey is more than just adopting new technologies and digitizing processes at random. It’s about doing so following a well-thought plan that begins with a deep understanding of the current state of your infrastructure and workflow to identify the best improvement opportunities.
From then on, you have to go through an iterative process that revamps layer after layer of your workflow. The idea is to come up with a plan that provides you with incremental gains. Thus, you can focus on quick wins (such as automating your marketing communications or implementing new communication channels) that can add up to bigger advantages (such as creating a comprehensive environment with a complete CRM solution at its core).
The goal is to create a strategy in advance, a plan that should be informed by the data you have available and the feedback from both your team and your customers. Failing to do so will inevitably lead to poor implementation and diminishing results.
#2 Consider the cultural changes as well
As you implement new technologies, your company’s daily activities will be highly modified. It’s not the same to manually do many tasks or use legacy software than relying on new automation technologies to do some of the heavy lifting. Technology inevitably brings a change to how you do business which, in turn, will bring about a cultural change that will impact everything, from workflow to customers.
That means that you have to consider the shift your company is about to take beyond the technical standpoint. While it’s nice to think of the many tasks you’ll be able to automate and the money and time you’ll save out of doing so, you also have to focus on the impact that can have on your employees and act accordingly to make everyone feel comfortable with the process.
There are several things to keep in mind when doing it, such as making your employees a part of the journey and encouraging them to share ideas and feedback on the changes. This can provide valuable information during the initial planning but can also open up your digital acceleration to new opportunities along the way.
After all, the ultimate goal of this process is to make it easier for your employees to do their tasks while multiplying the engagement instances for your customers. That will be the result of becoming a digital workplace but you’ll end up being a different business, so you have to think about how that will impact you.
#3 Invest in training and skill development
One of the biggest challenges of the new tech-driven normal that’s already here is having the right talent to deal with the tasks that come with it. That’s even more evident when you’re on a digital acceleration process that introduces new tools and processes that can overwhelm your team and hit their productivity.
To solve that, you should simultaneously institute a training and skill development program that can better prepare your employees for the transition. While you can scale up your team and add new members to fill the skill gaps that will result from new technologies, it’s better if you create an ongoing reskilling and upskilling program that boosts the talent you already have.
By doing that, you’ll be taking care of your employees (something aligned with the second point in this article) while also providing support for your operations for years to come. How so? Because upskilling and reskilling your employees on a continuous basis will provide you with the talent you need to meet your skill needs now and in the future.
Remember, a digital acceleration process is always evolving, so it’s better to have a team accustomed to skill up when you need it than having a strategy that relies solely on hiring every time you introduce changes in your workflow.
#4 Manage the know-how in your organization
When you adopt new technologies, you expect them to increase the availability of your resources, guaranteeing access to everyone in your team. But, to do that, you need to have proper management of the know-how, the processes, and the tools you have, and the ones you generate.
That’s why you need to develop a system that’s able to centralize all the resources in one place to make them available across your whole company. This means that you need to digitize your infrastructure in such a way that files, documents, processes fundamentals, and other relevant assets are all in one place, readily accessible for whoever needs them at any given moment.
Besides, having such a centralized solution will also provide you with a great system that captures all the data you collect and generate during your digital acceleration process. As information is key to a digital business, having such a system appears as a must for anyone undergoing such a transformation.
#5 Sophisticate your customer service
As I said in point #2, a digital acceleration process is more than just implementing technologies to help your employees do their jobs – it’s also about your customers and their experience with your brand. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance for you to plan improvements for your customer experience.
That can mean several things. You can open up new communication channels to make it easier for your clients to get in touch with you. It can mean developing a mobile app to better serve them. It can be about multiplying your online presence and making it cohesive, so as to guarantee a satisfactory omnichannel experience. It can even be about using AI-powered chatbots for customer service improvement.
Whatever it means for your particular means, there’s no true digital acceleration process without significant enhancements on the customer side of things. Adding that aspect to the strategy will provide you with a comprehensive focus that will fuel a transformation across your entire business that won’t just make you more efficient and productive but will also increase your chances of increasing your revenue.
Start your digital acceleration today
Maybe you haven’t noticed it, but you have taken the right step by reading an article like this. That’s because it shows that you care about your digital acceleration enough to inform yourself about how to better go about it. And the best way to do that is by being strategic about it: creating an initial plan, understanding the benefits, identifying opportunities, and laying out a well-thought schedule to take the most advantage out of it.
Following that will greatly improve your chances of success and will bring you closer to the ultimate goal of a true digital acceleration process: to be more agile and resilient, the 2 qualities your company will need to thrive in the new normal.