How Long Does Digital Transformation Take? And Is That The Right Question To Be Asking?
Organizations must recognize that digital transformation is an ongoing process and not a destination that can be reached and forgotten. Discover the importance of defining outcomes, taking a phased approach, and making a cultural shift for a successful digital transformation journey.
- Digital transformation requires continuous improvement and innovation with a focus on defining desired outcomes and developing a flexible roadmap.
- A phased approach with regular checkpoints is key to success.
- Digital transformation involves a cultural shift and companies must communicate proposed changes to employees, allocate time to train workers, and account for the need to enhance processes over time.
Many organizations are embarking on digital business transformation journeys, hoping to modernize their processes and systems. However, it's essential to recognize that digital transformation is not a destination that can be reached and then forgotten.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but here it goes...
Technology will continue to evolve, making it impossible to ever truly "arrive" at a final destination. According to a McKinsey report, the COVID pandemic accelerated technological advancement by several years. So, now what?
The Variable Timeline of Digital Transformation
The truth is that the timeline for digital transformation varies depending on several factors, such as the organization's size, the complexity of the existing systems, the scope of the transformation, and the available resources.
Moreover, the duration of digital transformation is not a fixed figure. It is an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement and innovation.
Some organizations expect their digital initiatives to take off in a span of a few months, which is not the right approach.
In my experience, the bigger the organization, the more time it takes for the digital transformation to take off. But once digitalization is embedded in the company culture, it’s hard to stop their growth.
What Should You Tell The Board and Stakeholders?
As a CEO, you realize that digital transformation is an ongoing process, but you have the board and stakeholders to answer to. They think it’s perfectly valid to ask about the time frame. After all, there must be an account for all the investments. Right?
If you're a Fortune 500 company embarking on a digital transformation journey, it's important to make your board and stakeholders understand that there is no "magic pill" to deliver instant results.
Taking a phased approach with regular checkpoints may seem like a drag, but Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a successful digital transformation.
Expecting rapid results is like aiming to lose 50 pounds in a week by eating only kale. Achieving meaningful and lasting results takes time, effort, and a commitment to continuous improvement.
Defining Outcomes for Digital Transformation
Instead of focusing on the duration of digital transformation, organizations should ask a different question:
"What outcomes do we want to achieve through digital transformation?"
Digital transformation should not be viewed as a one-time project but as a strategic initiative that aligns with the organization's long-term goals.
By clearly defining the desired outcomes, organizations can develop a roadmap for digital transformation, which includes identifying the necessary changes, resources, and timelines.
The roadmap should be flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances and new opportunities.
The Cultural Shift of Digital Transformation
Moreover, you must recognize that digital transformation is not just about implementing new technologies; it involves a cultural shift in the organization's mindset and practices.
Companies should allocate time to communicate proposed changes with their employees and get them on board.
It's crucial to set aside time to train employees on new tools and protocols so that they can adapt their workflows and benefit from the full range of improvements made available to them.
To fully embrace digital transformation, organizations should also account for the need to continue enhancing their processes over time, so they can keep up with the latest and most innovative technologies as they become available.
This approach allows companies to remain agile and better equipped to adapt to changing business needs.
In conclusion, the success of digital transformation is not solely dependent on the duration of the process but on setting clear goals and establishing a roadmap that aligns with long-term objectives.
We understand that digital transformation requires a cultural shift. It's not just a technical change.
Our team works collaboratively with all employees, from executives to front-line workers, to ensure a comprehensive and successful transformation.
In a rapidly evolving business landscape, a strategic approach to digital transformation is the only way to thrive and stay ahead of the competition, and that's what we deliver at UniAspect Digital. Get in touch today!