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Digital transformation challenges: how to face them and come out on top?

Be prepared for change by taking things one step at a time, planning ahead, and outsourcing tasks where necessary.

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Digital transformation has created a huge opportunity for businesses to rethink their business models and strategies. The change is happening so quickly that some of the world’s most famous brands are still struggling with the transition.

With these challenges come new opportunities to innovate and improve your bottom line, but you need to know how to identify them in order to take advantage of them.

In this article, we’ll discuss the digital transformation challenges that businesses face and how they can overcome them.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is the most significant business change you will experience in your lifetime. It’s no longer an option or a goal; it’s where we are heading as a society, and most businesses need to adapt to meet this trend with innovation.

Digital transformation means that technology has become so embedded into our daily lives that there isn’t much left outside of it. What used to be accomplished with libraries and libraries of books is now easily found on Google, but only if you know what you’re looking for.

The pace at which digital is transforming every industry, including healthcare, is mind-blowing because people today want info now, not later—so companies must provide it immediately or lose their customers. They don’t just want information about their product of choice, but also about the products of their competitors.

Digital transformation is affecting every part of your company—from customer service to hiring new employees. In fact, it even has an impact on how you get paid for your products and services. You might be more familiar with some types of these payment options than others:

  • Mobile wallets where money can be moved from person to person without a bank account or a credit card,
  • Cryptocurrencies that allow transactions across borders in seconds without fees,
  • Automated, algorithmic trading platforms that may have caused the 2010 ‘flash crash’ when they all sold stock simultaneously due to a bug in computer code.

The digital transformation has opened up endless possibilities for small businesses as well as large ones.

Digital transformation via social media:

With users flocking to the internet and their mobile devices for information, they also use social media instead of building personal relationships with companies in real life.

When we were younger we would visit a business directly to get our needs satisfied; now we tell them what we want through Facebook and Twitter and assume that they’ll respond quickly because it’s an emergency – not because it’s always an emergency (even when you don’t think it is).

While the digital transformation has made connecting easier than ever before, it can put pressure on marketers to keep up with trends and remain relevant enough that customers will continue to buy from them.

In order to do this, businesses need employees who are willing to learn new technology in order to keep the business running smoothly.

What digital transformation means for employees:

The digital transformation affects more than just your daily life; it also impacts your job, especially if you’re working in customer service or another industry that’s considered “high touch.”

The more high-touch an industry is, the more likely they are to experience a decrease in revenue because of online competition.

These companies need workers who are skilled at using all kinds of devices and programming languages, able to speak familiarly with customers who demand instant gratification (or at least immediate answers), and capable of working across multiple time zones around the world.

It’s also important to learn how to work securely in a remote environment and protect your identity online to avoid data breaches.

If you want to survive this shift of society toward an increasingly digital world, you must be willing to update your skills and even acquire new ones. Luckily, there has never been a better time to do so than right now.

The digital transformation is affecting every job:

Businesses need employees who can communicate effectively both verbally and in writing, including using technology to research topics quickly, find the best sources available, create reports for management to read through at their convenience, and leverage social media tools for marketing purposes.

The company’s online reputation means everything in this hyper-connected world – if somebody posts something negative about you or your business online it could have huge consequences for your bottom line.

What this means for businesses:

The success of your business depends on how well you can adapt to the changes that come with the digital age. This means that new opportunities will arise, but it’s also possible that your business model won’t adapt quickly enough, and you’ll find yourself struggling to keep up with the competition.

To stay on top of this ever-changing industry, business leaders need to gain new ways of thinking, an understanding of the complexities of transformation and business change. That’s where the role of business analysis comes in.

“It’s easy to have a great idea, but then all the hard work starts. As an executive who do you turn to? How do you transform? Who helps you with that? That’s really the business analysis team that does that.” – Keith Ellis, Chief Engagement and Growth Officer, IIBA.

Business analysis increases project success rates by 63% by improving a team’s efficiency in projects, clarifying scope with, and advocating for business stakeholders and the customer.

By defining scope, ensuring confidence in the totality of the elicited requirements the projects stay on schedule and within budget. Ultimately, the work that is being done is the work that will satisfy the needs of the customer and the business.

Business leaders should consider developing business analysis capability, attracting top talent, retaining, and upskilling current ones with the right skills to meet tomorrow’s business needs.

Did you know that business analysis ranked number 6 on the top 10 most in-demand hard skills according to LinkedIn Learning? One of the few hard skills every professional should have is business analysis skills, as most roles require some level of business analysis to make decisions.

What this means for entrepreneurs:

Entrepreneurs are actually becoming some of the most sought-after individuals in today’s economy because of how well they’ve learned to ride the wave of change rather than drowning under its weight.

If you want to become an entrepreneur one day, you’ll need to learn how to spot business trends as they’re happening so that you can adapt your business model and reduce technical debt before the competition does.

Most importantly, though, you will need to be willing to make sacrifices and put in extra hours at work because it seems like success never comes easy – especially in today’s day and age.

You may even find yourself working for free or becoming an intern until somebody decides to take a chance on you (and even then, the road ahead is bound to be difficult). This might not sound like much fun now, but it could lead to great things later on if you’re willing to put in the work now.

The digital transformation initiatives create new opportunities:

While businesses aren’t able to keep up with the rapidly changing technology, new opportunities are being created every day.

So, how do you spot them?

First, assess your skillset to determine where your strengths lie and what areas need improvement. Then start thinking outside the box by considering different ways that your skills could be applied within other industries – perhaps even ones you haven’t worked in before.

For example, if marketing is one of your specialties, you might find a job at a startup or another company whose industry doesn’t necessarily require previous marketing knowledge but will certainly benefit from it. Being adaptable means being able to take on tasks that may not be part of your current position description but can help move the business forward.

Now that you know what digital transformation is all about, let’s dive into the biggest challenges!

1. Understanding the customer’s needs and wants in a digital world

Understanding the customer’s needs and wants in a digital world can be one of the biggest challenges for businesses during their digital transformation.

In a digital world, customers are no longer bound by geographical boundaries and can access products and services from anywhere in the world. This means that businesses need to be able to not only understand what their customers want but also anticipate their needs before they even know what they are.

Another challenge for businesses is that in a digital world, customers are more likely to shop around for the best deal. This means that businesses need to be able to offer not only a great product or service but also a great customer experience.

Customers today expect businesses to offer a personalized experience that is tailored to their individual needs, which can be hard for large businesses with many customers to keep track of.

How to solve this?

Solving the challenge of understanding the customer’s needs and wants in a digital world can be difficult for businesses, but there are a few things that they can do to make it easier.

  • First, businesses should take the time to understand their customers and what they want. This can be done by conducting market research or by using customer feedback to improve their products and services.
  • Second, businesses should anticipate their customers’ needs before they even know what they are. This can be done by using data analytics to track customers’ behaviour and trends.
  • Third, businesses should offer a personalized experience that is tailored to their individual needs. This can be done by using customer data to create profiles of each customer and then using those profiles to offer them the best possible experience.

2. The need for speed – keeping up with the competition

In the digital world, businesses are constantly competing with each other to be the first to release new products and services. This means that businesses need to be able to not only keep up with the rapidly changing technology but also with the competition.

How to solve this?

  • One way to keep up with the competition is to continuously innovate and come up with new ideas. This can be done by setting up a process where new ideas are constantly being generated and evaluated. You can also look to your competition for inspiration and see what products or services they are releasing that you may not have thought of.
  • Another way to stay ahead of the competition is to make sure your business is agile and can adapt quickly to changes. This means having the ability to change processes, structures, and strategies as needed in order to meet the demands of the digital world.
  • Finally, it’s important to always be learning and keep up with the latest trends in technology and digital marketing. This can be done by attending seminars, reading blogs, joining social media groups, etc.

3. Security and data privacy concerns

One of the biggest challenges that businesses face during their digital transformation process is security and data privacy concerns.

In a digital world, businesses are constantly collecting and storing data about their customers. This data can be accessed and used by hackers to steal information or to gain an advantage over the competition.

Another concern for businesses is that in a digital world, data is often shared openly and without restriction. This means that businesses can no longer keep their data private and confidential. This can be a problem if the business is using the data to competitively edge out other businesses.

How to solve this?

There are a few things that businesses can do to help address these security and data privacy concerns.

  • First, businesses should make sure that they have the right security software and systems to protect their data. This will help them to prevent having their data compromised by hackers or stolen by competitors.
  • Second, businesses should be transparent about the amount of data they are collecting and how it is being used. This can be done by using privacy policies that spell out any personal information that is being collected and how it is being used.
  • Lastly, transparency will not only build trust with customers but also help to keep your business safe from cybersecurity threats because you will have less sensitive data that needs to be protected.

4. Dealing with constant change and fast-paced innovation

Businesses are constantly bombarded with new technologies, new trends, and new ways of doing things. This can be a challenge for businesses that are trying to undergo a successful digital transformation because it can be difficult to keep up with the pace of change.

Switching up from legacy systems, implementing new digital technologies, and training employees to use new processes can be difficult when things are constantly changing.

How to solve this?

  • One way to deal with the constant change and fast-paced innovation is to set some priorities. Figure out what is most important for your business and focus on those areas first. You can then gradually move on to the other areas.
  • Another way to deal with the constant change is to have a process in place for evaluating and implementing new technologies. This means that you will not be overwhelmed by all the new changes and you can take advantage of the ones that are actually worth it.
  • Don’t be afraid to change your business model if you need to in order to stay relevant. For example, newspapers are having trouble staying afloat because people are getting their news online. So what did they do? They started charging for access to websites or started offering paid subscriptions with additional benefits. It’s important to remember that not all changes will work out but you should always be ready for change and willing to take risks, especially if it can make a big difference in your bottom line.

5. The need for cross-functional collaboration

Many businesses struggle with the need for cross-functional collaboration when it comes to their digital transformations. This is because different departments within the company often have different goals and objectives, which can lead to conflict.

How to solve this?

There are a few things that businesses can do in order to overcome the need for cross-functional collaboration:

  • First, businesses should make sure that they have clearly defined goals and objectives for each department. This will help to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal and there is less chance for conflict.
  • Second, businesses should create cross-departmental teams to work on specific projects. This will help to build relationships between different departments and will allow for better communication.
  • Third, businesses should have a process in place for making any cross-departmental changes. Having a dedicated team will help to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks and all departments are kept up to date.
  • Finally, businesses should empower employees across the organization with their own responsibilities and job descriptions. This helps to give everyone a sense of ownership and accountability and it can improve overall productivity and collaboration.

It is also important for businesses to remember that success is not just measured by profits or revenue growth – there’s more than one way to measure success when it comes to the digital transformation journey.

These might include things like enhanced customer experience, increased brand awareness, greater employee satisfaction, etc. So don’t be afraid to set your own goals instead of following someone else’s definition of success.

6. Revamp of the organizational structure

When a business undergoes a digital transformation, it often means that they need to revamp their organizational structure. This can be a challenge because it can be difficult to make changes to something that is already working.

Adapting to new digital tools, as well as the digital transformation strategy itself can be time-consuming and difficult for some businesses. Everybody needs to be on the same page.

How to solve this?

  • One way is to take it step by step, plan ahead and go to the right place. As long as you are taking your time and transitioning properly, then you shouldn’t need to worry about making any hasty changes that could be regretted later.
  • Another way is to outsource some of the more tedious tasks so that they don’t take up too much time or resources within your own company. This allows you to focus on your core competencies while still achieving success in the digital strategy.
  • Finally, make sure that everyone in your organization knows what they can expect from each other when it comes to implementing a new digital transformation initiative – with better communication, less room for confusion.

Conclusion

The challenges of digital transformation are tough but it’s important to take advantage of the new opportunities that this change in technology has created. If you are willing to make changes and do what it takes, then there will be many rewards for your company. 

We’ve outlined some key steps above that can help you overcome any challenges when undergoing a digital transformation – from understanding how customer behavior differs across various stages in their purchase process or lead funnel all the way through implementing cross-departmental teams with clearly defined goals and objectives. 

The bottom line is: don’t let fear hold you back! Be prepared for change by taking things one step at a time, planning ahead, outsourcing tasks where necessary, and empowering employees within your organization so they feel like they have ownership over these decisions as well.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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