Shifting your business to a more flexible, technology-based model can be a challenge. Nevertheless, business moves faster than ever these days. If you’re not moving forward, you’re being left behind by a business that can transform and adapt more quickly than yours. Stay ahead of the competition by putting together a digital transformation road map. Here are seven keys to keep in mind when planning your digital future.
7 Keys to Creating a Digital Transformation Road Map
1. Define Your Goals
It’s called a road map because of the similarities it has with an actual road map for a real-life road trip. You need to have a clear destination in mind for your map to be of any practical use. The same is true of your digital transformation. You need to have a clear vision. What are your goals? What do you want your company to be able to do in the future?
These goals need to be measureable, as we’ll see later on in the process. Think about specific processes or departments that you want to reform. Look at existing data and procedures to identify possible areas for improvement.
2. Communicate to Customers
Your customers are your lifeblood. You should reach out to them to let them know how your transformation will affect them. Highlight the positives: Better customer service, faster problem resolution, improved user experience. These are all common benefits when companies go digital.
At the same time, be honest about potential bumps in the road. If you’re going to stop operations for a period of time while you switch systems, or will require customers to reach out to your company in different ways, let them know. Transparency makes for understanding.
3. Listen to Employees
Who makes your customers happy? Your employees are the engine that powers your machine. They need to be aware of the changes being made, and how those changes will affect them. Instead of just telling them, however, consider involving them in the transformation process.
Encourage your employees to list features or functions that they would like to see after your company’s digital evolution. What problems do they have in their day-to-day work that could be solved with technology? When you make employees a part of your transformation, they’re more likely to cooperate with changes and help them succeed.
4. Evaluate Technological Deficiencies
The fun part of creating your road map is shopping for new tech. Your accountants will even thank you once they see the long-term savings you can derive from upgrades. If you’re an industrial business, look for ways to gather data from your machines to improve uptime and productivity. For service providers, seek out “Software as a Service” solutions that allow your business to scale up swiftly.
If you have multiple offices, but struggle to keep everyone on the same page, look for unified communications tools and project management suites that can facilitate teamwork no matter how far apart your people are. Once you’ve settled on a list of upgrades, it’s time to put them to use.
5. Implement New Tools and Processes
Technology road maps can encompass several years of work. Not everything has to be implemented at once. Prioritize tools and technology that you can implement quickly. If a service or device depends on other tools to function well, then those need to go first. Allow for some “breathing time” between implementations. Your employees need time to adapt and your managers should see how well things are working before adding more complexity.
Patience is especially important as there may be problems along the way. You may find, for instance, that a program isn’t compatible with some of your older hardware, forcing you to adjust the road map. Your road map is a living document, not a strict arbiter of what you can and cannot do. Adjust it as needed.
6. Measure and Analyze
Once you can confidently say your new processes and tools have been adopted and are being fully utilized, you can start collecting data. Analyze that data over the next several months to see if your transformation is having the impact you hoped for. This brings us back to the goals we set at the beginning.
Evaluate the results and you’re ready for the last step.
7. Review and Refresh
When one road map ends, another begins. Never stop moving forward, because there is always room for improvement. If you need help building your roadmap, or have one that you’re having trouble executing, contact SAAB RDS. Our team can review your business, identify opportunities for improvement, and help you transform your company.