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How to Identify and Address the Roadblocks to Digital Transformation in Your Company

Jul 12, 2022 | All Content, Research

Every business should make it their top priority to achieve a full digital transformation. You should be able to capture data at every point in your processes, analyze that data to gain insights into your company, and automate as much as possible. Going digital makes your company more agile and able to adapt to changing circumstances. However, there are many obstacles that could stand in your way. Learn to spot and overcome them, and how digital transformation services can help.

In our experience helping companies transition to a fully digital workflow, we have identified two main categories of issues that can impede a digital transition. The first group are common problems: issues every company has to face in order to achieve a digital transformation. The second group are hidden issues: problems that may go unnoticed or are often ignored but can be deadly.

Roadblocks to Digital Transformation

How to Identify and Address the Roadblocks to Digital Transformation in Your Company

Common Obstacles Digital Transformation Services Overcome

Due to its very nature, a digital transformation presents several challenges. For businesses that haven’t yet adopted any digital processes, it could mean an entire overhaul of your workflow. Even large enterprises with plenty of resources can struggle as transitions are even more complex when a company has multiple offices or works in multiple sectors. However, with the right approach, these problems can be avoided.

Some of the common problems that companies face when attempting to go digital include financial issues, planning problems, unrealistic expectations, and a shortage of qualified personnel to lead the transformation. Digital transformation services solve almost all of these problems right away. With a hand to guide you through the process, you can avoid these roadblocks and enjoy a smooth transition.

Lack of Funding

As recently as 2018, the average budget for a digital transformation in the US was about $14 million. Costs have continued to drop thanks to the expansion of cloud computing and cloud storage, two major drivers for digital innovation. Nevertheless, it’s still important to make sure your transformation project has enough funding to see it through to the end.

If your budget doesn’t allow for a complete transformation, you should take small steps instead with the goal of going fully digital in the future. However, don’t make the mistake of biting off more than you can chew. Another survey from Couchbase found that companies spend around five and a half million on failed projects. Many of these failed because they went over budget, and companies cut their losses as the project became unviable.

Poor Planning

One of the reasons project budgets balloon is poor planning. You need to have clear objectives for your digital transformation and draft a roadmap that will help you reach those goals. If your goals are vague, your solutions will likely fail to deliver the results you hope for. Conversely, when you have clear goals, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to transition successfully.

It’s also important to make sure that all of your stakeholders have a say in planning the project. A common mistake is to leave digital transformation to a single executive or simply tell the IT department to get it done. Going digital means rewriting many processes and changing tools that affect every employee’s experience. You need to get input from everyone if you want a transition that satisfies your staff’s needs and customers’ demands.

Lack of Expertise

If there’s one problem you can quickly get rid of with the help of digital transformation services, it’s a lack of expertise. This is a very common issue, even in large enterprises. Since digital transformation is, ideally, a one-time event, companies typically don’t have experience with digital transformation. If they do, that usually means they’ve already completed their transition. However, you may have hired someone who went through a similar experience at another company. Ask around before you begin.

While you could aim to hire an expert in digital transformation and bring them on board to lead the team, will they have a useful role after you’re done? Hiring an outside consultant, like SAAB RDS, is the most logical approach. We have more experience than any new hire ever will, and we can guide you through the entire process successfully.

Time Management

Patience is essential when you want to go digital. It takes months to gather information and plan your approach. After that, you’ll need to start implementing digital solutions and revising processes. It may be several months before you start to see tangible results. However, those early steps are vital and should not be rushed. Unfortunately, many companies have unrealistic expectations and want solutions now.

While it is possible to make a complete transition in as little as a year, you still may not see an immediate return on investment on launch day. Artificial intelligence, for instance, is a major component of digital transformation. It takes time for AI to have enough data to make solid predictions and produce reliable insights. However, this means that your investment will only continue to increase its yield as time passes. Stay the course, and you’ll see real benefits.

Hidden Issues

Having covered the more common problems, what are some of the hidden issues that plague companies looking to go digital? These problems tend to get less attention because they can manifest themselves in a multitude of ways, which makes them more difficult to diagnose. Some of these issues arise later in the process, which can lead decision-makers to assume that they had nothing to do with the digital transformation process.

There is a learning curve whenever your company switches to a new way of doing business. You could think of these as “digital growing pains.” They are not insurmountable, however. Our approach to digital transformation has mitigated these problems significantly, as we know what to watch out for. Consider a few hidden roadblocks that could cause you to stumble if you’re not careful.

Confusion With New Processes

Going digital requires new processes that facilitate data capture. Depending on how your company used to operate, this could require massive changes to your processes. If you’ve been in business for a long time, your staff is probably very comfortable with the current workflow. Changes, therefore, can lead to confusion. You may not notice this at first, but it will become apparent when data is missing from your new central system. Perhaps employees are still sticking to old methods.

If you notice multiple employees in the same position performing tasks differently, that’s a sign that your new process wasn’t clear. How can you prevent this confusion from developing? First, be sure to consult your employees before you create new processes. If you actually involve them in process design, they’ll be more likely to understand. Second, train everyone. If you don’t let employees practice and get comfortable, they’ll struggle when it comes time to adopt the new workflow for real.

Employee Angst

Confusion is nothing compared to outright anger or apathy. Whereas mistakes due to confusion are accidental, employee angst can actually lead to intentional refusal to abide by new policies. In some cases, employees have even sabotaged the company by leaking valuable information or by destroying data. You may not discover these problems until the damage is already done. How can you prevent employees from developing such a negative attitude that they would be willing to harm your business?

Again, consult your staff. If they understand why you are embarking on a digital transformation, they are far more likely to lend their support. Furthermore, if automation is in your plans, make it clear that your goal isn’t to eliminate jobs, but rather make existing employees more productive. Clear, effective communication is the key to preventing negative perceptions about your transformation goals. Get your employees involved, and they’ll become assets, rather than liabilities.

Insufficient Tech Infrastructure

Even though you’ll likely rely on the cloud for your digital solutions, you will still need enough bandwidth at the office to access those cloud-based systems. With more employees logging on simultaneously from more devices, your tech infrastructure could find itself near its limit. If your digital solutions feel sluggish or unresponsive, employees are less likely to want to use them. We help you prevent this problem by assessing your systems and incorporating tech upgrades into your digital transformation plan.

Instead of attempting to navigate a digital transformation alone, bring along a guide. SAAB RDS has helped dozens of companies to achieve their digital goals, and we can help yours as well. Contact SAAB RDS to schedule an appointment to learn more about our digital transformation services.

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