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Your Biggest Roadblocks to Successful Digital Transformation

Jan 17, 2022 | Academic Teaching, All Content, IoT, Manufacturing, Research

By now, most businesses understand that they need to digitize their operations as much as possible. Going digital generates data that can be analyzed to refine processes and improve outcomes. It also opens the doors to automation and makes AI much more powerful. So, if the benefits are so clear, why do so many businesses still lag behind? Our experience with digital transformation consulting has revealed several obstacles that are often unaccounted for. However, we have solutions for these problems.

Successful Digital Transformation - Roadblocks

Digital Transformation Consulting Overcomes Your Biggest Roadblocks

The Tradition Trap

Even though humans are highly adaptable, we love our routine. Routines become ingrained in our work to the point where many tasks are handled almost automatically by your workers. They simply know how to get things done. When you walk in with a proposal to radically change the process, you’re bound to ruffle some feathers. Many employees will react defensively. This is the tradition trap, often expressed as “Why fix something that already works?”

Even if your traditional process is the best in your industry, it can be improved with a digital transformation. We suggest starting your transition to a fully digital process by taking small steps at first. Where can you add technology in ways that won’t interfere with how workers handle their tasks? Older machines can be retrofitted with new modules that gather data and send it off for processing without altering your workflow in the slightest.

Getting Stuck in Limbo

We often work with companies that were eager to digitize, but wound up stranded along the way. In some cases, businesses paid for digital transformation consulting but didn’t implement all of the recommendations provided. In other cases, we’ve seen companies that tried to do everything on their own, only to miss key elements of a fully digital system. Still others failed to reach the point where they could derive insights from their data, and saw little benefit to further digitalization.

This is the reality for many businesses. How can you avoid getting stuck in a partial digitalization situation? Don’t assume that digitalization will happen overnight and solve all of your problems. You need a realistic understanding of what digitalization can and cannot do. You also need to be patient, as the process takes time to develop and refine. With the right mindset, however, a successful implementation is much more likely.

Overcoming Employee Attitudes

Speaking of mindsets, your employees’ attitudes are just as important as your management’s perspective. Workers that fail to see the benefits of digitalization can actually become saboteurs. This is even more likely if they believe that increased automation and AI will render their job obsolete. These obstacles are perfectly natural and understandable, but they need to be nullified to have a successful transition.

Communication is critical. How you present your digital transformation to your team will have a major impact on how it is received. Focus on employee pain points wherever possible. How can this new technology or new workflow make their lives easier? If employees see digitalization as a positive, they’re more likely to embrace the transformation and help it along.

Turn Resistance Into Support

If someone actively resists the transition to a more digital environment, what can you do? Discipline is unlikely to work. When you have a disgruntled employee, they may be saying what others are thinking. If you lash out, it may validate that employee’s claims in others’ minds. During your transition, encourage employees to voice their concerns directly to management in a respectful manner. When workers feel heard, they’re more likely to accept your directions.

Consider using positive reinforcement wherever possible. If an employee adapts quickly to your new processes, reward them with a bonus or recognition. The more your people associate the digital transformation with positive results, the more successful your transition will be.

Digital Transformation That Benefits Everyone

In our experience, the most successful transformations are those that involve all of your stakeholders. Everyone from management to entry-level employees ought to be considered before you begin. We start by evaluating your company holistically to identify the best way to begin your transformation. We’ll help your team through the transition so they can be assets instead of roadblocks.

For more information, contact SAAB RDS to schedule a meeting. We’re experts in digital transformation consulting, and we’re ready to help your business move forward.