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3 keys to building a digital transformation strategy

by Casey Schmidt  |  October 22, 2019

3 min. read
An illustration of digital transformation.

Businesses are increasingly gravitating toward the idea that their highest chance of success involves taking an idea into the digital realm. As this concept grows, it’s important to understand how to prepare for a digital transformation. Here’s a guide to ensure your enterprise correctly builds a digital transformation strategy.

What is digital transformation strategy?

A digital transformation is a change from a physical format into a digital one. A digital transformation strategy, therefore, is a planned construction of this shift. It typically involves a company’s groundwork plans to manage the entire process from physical to digital.

A robotic hand moving blocks that spell 'change'.
A digital transformation is no easy task – ensure you have a strategy in place.

One example of a digital transformation strategy is a company that traditionally sent out physical newsletters. Over time, they phased out their print newsletters for digital ones, sent through e-mail. This is a digital transformation. A digital transformation strategy is the planning and analysis the company exercised before making the switch from print to digital.

Here are three key concepts to understand when constructing a digital transformation strategy:

1. Cater to your customers

The entirety of your digital transformation absolutely must cater to the needs of customers. Without a sincere understanding of the impact it will have on customers, it’s impossible to create a successful digital transformation strategy. Of course, the only way to shape your transformation toward customers is to connect with them.

Before putting together any plans of a digital transformations, your company should study customers and connect with them. This is typically done through research teams who can specifically target habits of certain age groups and other factors. Make sure you analyze the data in-depth to find what customers are struggling with. This will give you an idea of how to construct your transformation.

A man standing between falling digital dominoes.
Customers should be at the forefront of your focus before digital changes occur.

2. Give meaning to your digital transformation

Imagine how difficult it is for people to handle drastic changes. There is always going to be adjustment periods and potential opposition when undergoing large adjustments. Therefore, a transformation to the digital should be accompanied with a meaningful purpose for all involved. When the change is tied-in with things such as success and problem-solving, team members are more willing to accept it.

Part of giving the transformation meaning is helping all who will be affected understand each part of the digital introductions. For example, say a company is moving all their print to a digital format. Unless each member who previously worked with print familiarizes themselves with your new decision, the transformation will fall flat. If your company chooses to convert the print material into PDF files, make sure everyone is well-versed with PDF beforehand.

A digital metamorphis of a butterfly.
A digital transformation must have deep meaning attached to it.

3. Keep changes in line with company culture

Culture might be the most important part of a digital transformation. This is because company culture will carry a transformation to the finish line if done correctly. Alternatively, a digital transformation that doesn’t fit with the current company culture will fall flat on its face.

Part of this implementation often requires a change in culture as well. Switching something a company uses to digital might necessitate a drastic change in culture and attitude. Because of this, companies need to educate team members in accordance to the new changes so that the culture becomes tied to the resulting digital usage. For a business culture to thrive, everyone needs to be on board with the digital changes. Make sure this is the case.

Remember that a digital transformation strategy isn’t something crafted overnight. Instead, it’s a long process that requires careful consideration from each phase to the next. Draft your plans accordingly.