What is Digital Transformation? A beginner’s guide

Published: 21 September 2020

From a dreaded, overused buzzword to an all-singing, all-dancing makeover which skyrockets your business into the 2020s, digital transformation is known to all and loved by many.

So whether you’ve only heard of it briefly in passing (let’s be honest, it gets thrown around a lot to mean all sorts of updates, including the simple act of updating to the cloud), or you’ve already have some research under your belt, you’ve come to the right place if you need a crash course on digital transformation (lovingly dubbed DT).

Before we dive in, let’s put this out there – DT is not a one-size-fits all package, it’s defined by the needs of your business. So, let’s get to the good stuff:

What is Digital Transformation?

What lies beneath the all encompassing buzzword? At first glance, DT is a broad term used to describe any sort of improvement you make to your business operations, customer service and company culture using digital technology.

Stretching far beyond the confines of singular departments in our organisation, digital transformation takes the way you do business as a whole, as well as your relationships with customers, and reimagines these in the digital landscape of 2020. Think going paperless and mobile.

As we said, there’s no universal DT package that you can plug-and-play. Digital transformation is unique to every business, bending to incorporate digital technology into the way you operate and improve all areas of your company instead of simply disrupting your established processes.

More than just a one-off makeover that an organisation goes through, DT requires a sort of culture change around innovation. In order to harness the full power of digital transformation, businesses need to be open to experimenting with new solutions and the potential for some of these to be less than perfect.

Digital transformation challenges

Ultimately, the aim of DT is twofold. For one, it helps your company stay relevant and competitive in a fast-paced digital landscape where speed and agility are imperative to success. But more than that, digital transformation is also about redefining how organisations deliver value to their customers.

Beyond these two main factors, the challenges businesses face around digital transformation fall under a number of common themes, including finding ways to integrate digital technology into their operations and make them more agile, revolutionising company culture and leading by example with an ‘innovation first’ mindset, enabling teams to work in more flexible ways and creating a seamless customer experience.

These shared challenges are a great starting point, but the key to designing an effective digital transformation strategy for your business lies in understanding the specific demands your own organisation faces.

What’s next in your digital transformation journey?

All great digital transformation efforts start with the answer to one key question: how is DT going to improve your customer service? Much like Rome wasn’t built in a day, digital transformation takes time, especially in the case of larger companies, so don’t feel overwhelmed by the noise around big corporations taking the tech world by storm with their swift transformations. So long as you get it right, at the end of the DT process your business will be future-proof and better equipped to meet the ever-evolving demands of your customers.

If you’re just starting out your business, don’t worry about being behind. If anything, you’re in an even better position – you can start building digital transformation into your organisation from the ground up, planning ahead for the future and creating agile processes ready to offer outstanding customer service.

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